22 After Effects Plugins to Use in 2022
Updated: Jan 6, 2022
Plugin creators from around the world are consistently putting out new tools to make both your life and your After Effects workflow easier. Let’s take a look at what the current marketplace has to offer. FYI many of the tools on this list are brand new, while others have received recent updates. The rest are just some of my personal favorites.
How do you install an After Effects plugin?
The term plugin is used broadly here, and can include both extensions and scripts. The key takeaway is that not all of these tools are installed via the same method. Be sure to follow each tool’s corresponding instructions.
The aescripts and aeplugins website allows you to download trial versions of all plugins, and they even have an installer to help get you up and running. Now onto the list.
*Affiliate links below. Thanks for the support! It really does help me out.
Aep to Mogrt
by Motion Land
If you’re a Mogrt-maker, this will definitely speed up your job. With Aep to Mogrt you can easily convert After Effects compositions to Motion Graphics Template (.mogrt) files. Use the sleek interface to quickly add properties to active or selected compositions, add media replacement with one click, and even image/video previews. This tool has a slimmed down free version as well, so be sure to follow the link and check it out.
by Battle Axe
Isn’t it annoying how you can’t directly export H.264 from Adobe After Effects? And don’t even get me started with that pesky Adobe Media Encoder. Ain’t nobody got time for that. With Anubis you can sidestep all of these headaches and export MP4s directly from AE. Bitrate smit-rate.
Coco Color Coworker
Adobe After Effects has always been lacking the tools for a proper color workflow. With Coco Color Coworker you get access to thousands of ready to use color palettes. Explore the latest palette trends, or create a new palette from an image. Search any color and quickly get work-ready results. There’s a contrast check feature, as well as a library of gradients, and other handy features.
by Plugin Play
The latest and greatest of the glitch art tools received a big update in late 2021. It was essentially rebuilt from the ground up for the specific purpose of an enhanced moshing experience. Datamosh 2 brings 60+ moshing algorithms, 16x more precision, 6 new parameters and a new marker workflow. Remove frames, hijack motion and swap motion from other clips.
by Motion Design School
Deekay Tool is an all-new game-changing extension for character animators in After Effects. It allows you to create and save characters with a simple click. The new Animate feature gives you the possibility to create and customize your animations with intuitive controls. If you want some positive vibes, be sure to follow DeeKay.
The Trim Paths animator is one of my favorite tools inside of Adobe After Effects. foxReveal takes trimming paths to the next level. It allows users to create complex path reveals without adding and moving hundreds of keyframes. With foxReveal you can reveal complex path structures from any point with one click. And you can control the reveal with two simple keyframes and it's curve. Not too shabby.
from Davey Studio
It’s time to get your Freq on. With FreqReact, you can drive animations via specific audio frequencies. Use the integrated FreqView to switch between frequency presets and heights to find the range you’re looking for. Create new ideas by slapping a controller on any property that can be animated. Turn on the Additive Mod to make your reacting effects increase over time. Create infinite rotations, shapes growing beyond the bounds of the screen, or starships flying through space. With a clean and intuitive interface, FreqReact plays well with other plugins.
from Markus Bergelt
One of my personal favorites, GEOlayers gives users the power to design and animate maps directly inside of After Effects. It renders custom maps from different online sources, providing direct access to extensive databases of geospatial features of the world. You can easily highlight country borders, streets, lakes, rivers, places, regions, animate driving routes, and even extruding buildings.
If you have Trapcode Mir 3, Mettle FreeFormPro, or Rowbyte Plexus 3 installed you can create gorgeous 3D landscapes setups in one click based on real elevation data.
by Plugin Everything
HandyCam simplifies every aspect of animated cameras in AE. Taking inspiration from 3D apps like Maya, it was crafted to make animating AE cameras as painless as possible. With HandyCam, users can target layers whilst moving in world-space, create a dolly zoom with one click, and easily emulate handheld movement with DoF wiggles. Use the bake feature to send your project to another animator and open it on a computer that doesn’t have HandyCam.
Helium is a new 3D toolset for Adobe After Effects. From adding a single 3D model to your scene to creating beautiful complex animation, Helium is a simple yet sophisticated way to add depth to your work inside After Effects. Operating entirely within After Effects, it has many advanced features and tools such as 3D Models, 3D Animated Text, Splines, Terrain, Mirror, Primitives, Scroll, Cloners, Light Effects, and much more.
by Romain Cousin
Working with keyframes can be quite tedious, so why not check out Keystone, the essential keyframe toolbox. With an icon-based interface, essential tasks are now just a click away. Flip, align, stagger, duplicate, stretch, group, copy/paste, shift and smooth animation curves with simple clicks. It has all of the keyframe essentials for After Effects that you’ll ever need.
by BGRA Entertainment
LongShadow 2 is a fully featured shadow plugin for Adobe After Effects that allows you to control every aspect of your shadow. With this GPU-accelerated tool you can create directional, radial, inverse radial, and soft shadows. Control your colors and transparency precisely with an external layer in 1D or 2D texture modes. There’s a dedicated SoftShadow plugin built for those who just want a simple solid color shadow with simplified controls.
by Chris Vranos
Lockdown is a revolutionary plug-in that allows users to track warping surfaces inside After Effects. It’s especially useful for beauty retouching and other previously difficult cleanup jobs. The new and improved version 2 was released in 2021, which added a lightning fast popout window.
by Mt. Mograph
Yes, I know, Motion isn’t a new plugin, and it hasn’t been updated since 2019. BUT, this is on the list because Motion 4 is coming this year! Mark my words folks. If you work with motion graphics on a daily basis, you'll definitely want to get Motion. This powerhouse of a plugin has 45+ tools and hundreds of controls. These include tools for controlling anchor points, comps, color, curves for easing animations, and a load of other features. With all of these properties packed together in one compact and customizable UI, you'll be saving time in no time.
Matte Tool 2
by Motion Codes
Working with mattes can be pretty confusing and frustrating. Matte Tool 2 is a group of 20 very useful and practical tools that make it easier to work with layers in After Effects. Matte Tool takes the confusion out of creating and combining mattes between layers, and makes for an easier workflow. Merge, Subtract, Intersect and Exclude mattes in an easy to use interface. Precompose, decompose, split by mask, merge layers as an image, and fade transparency all via a simple click.
by Battle Axe
If you’ve ever worked with vector files between Adobe Illustrator and After Effects, you know that it’s not entirely straight forward. That’s why Adam from Battle Axe created Overlord, a set of two panels that, when both open, create a portal between Illustrator and After Effects. Adam describes this as a “mystical Stargate that allows the transfer of shapes as you need them, while animating, without the need for file organization, importing, converting to shape layers or redrawing.”
AE shape layers can also be sent back to Illustrator via this “mystical Stargate” for further editing. It’s essentially like using Illustrator as a plugin for After Effects. It allows you to work with shapes, not files. If you work with these programs together and you don’t get this, you’re a dumble-doofus.
Signal emulates a real analog television transmission. Video information is encoded using a modulated analog video signal and then decoded into a color image for a truly authentic effect. This video signal is a linear combination of luminance and chrominance. Signal does not fake an analog signal, it recreates analog technology in a digital environment. Seems like a good tool for all of you NFTers out there.
by Breton Brander
With Social Beam you can take your animation from After Effects to Instagram in just three clicks. Enough of this export to local drive, transfer to Google Drive, upload from Google Drive mobile app nonsense. This tool will allow you to keep your portfolio updated and make posting fun, which is what it should be. Use that extra time to say hi to your significant other, play with your kids, or have a coffee.
by Motion Methods
Time Marker is a smarter way to add custom markers to comps and layers in After Effects. Quickly adjust the color, add a comment, set a duration, and protect a range of keyframes from being time-stretched. Use the Timestamp feature to help measure areas of the timeline in millisconds, seconds, or frames.
Volna is an advanced stroke plugin for After Effects. With built-in arrows, noise distortion, gradients and blend tool, it uses masks to draw strokes. Use two masks and blend them into a new shape with multiple strokes. Each stroke can be filled with a gradient, distorted with perlin noise or a sine function. Adjust stroke thickness with a ramp control. Strokes can be lines or points, and strokes ends can have parametric arrows.
from Mt. Mograph
Mt. Mograph is known for their extremely popular Motion plugin, which you can read further up on this page. Wander works in both Adobe AE and Premiere Pro, and allows users to surf endless libraries of Gifs, Emojis, SVGs and icon packs with a sleek and simple UI. With 62+ million media files, use Wander to instantly download, sort and add media to your project.
by Constantin Maier
If you’re sick of messy After Effects comps, then you’ll want to check out Workflower. Use it to create layer groups and subgroups within your comp, assign adjustment layers to selected layers, clone and precomp layers, and even create and merge mattes. As the promo video states, you can even group mattes, or group mattes within group mattes, or group mattes within group mattes within group mattes…
What are some of your favorite After Effects plugins and extensions? Let me know in the comment section.