Adobe After Effects is a phenomenally powerful piece of animation software that has eased the workload of animators from a wide variety of disciplines. That said, there are limitations to every piece of software, and few films go through the entire production process using only the tools that come in the box – that’s where third party plugins come in.
Over the past few weeks we have written a series of articles that went through some of the plugins we use regularly; each one focusing on a particular project that would have been considerably harder without them.
So far we have covered:
Element 3D allows you to bring 3D objects in to After Effects, where they are capable of casting shadows, and reacting to AE’s light and cameras just as they would in a 3D piece of software. Find out more about Element 3D
Newton converts After Effects layers in to rigid bodies, and then allows users to add gravity, magnetism and joints to simulate gravity (or the lack thereof). It gives the user control over the density, type, friction, bounciness, velocity etc of the body, as well as global control over the amount – and direction – of gravity. Once simulated, Newton converts the animation in to standard After Effects keyframes. Find out more about Newton.
Particular is a highly customisable particle generator, that can be used to create explosions, fireworks, far off galaxies, trails of sparkles, fog, water, snow, fire – just about anything to be honest! Find out more about Trapcode.
Duik is a comprehensive rigging system that uses After Effects’ existing puppet tools to rig joints with inverse kinematics (which controls how joints behave by bending when the ends are brought together). This allows users to move limbs simply, realistically (if that’s the look you’re going for), and with a huge amount of control. Find out more about Duik.
We will be back later in the year with some additions to this list. If there is a particular plugin you would think we should check out – let us know in the comments section below!