14 FREE After Effects PLUGINS to Use in 2021

If you're looking to beef up your Adobe After Effects experience this year, check out my list of free scripts, plugins and extensions from some of the coolest creators in the galaxy, yo. Take a look at the premium plugins here.



Hologram

from Production Crate

I haven’t played around with this script just yet, but I imagine it will be very cool when used with maps. The Hologram effect was apparently one of the most requested looks for the folks at ProductionCrate, so they decided to create this lovely After Effects script. Use this in conjunction with the library of thousands of digital assets to help build some cool and creative looks.


Crate’s Glow

from Production Crate

Another awesome freebie from Production crate, you really can’t go wrong with a good glow.


Light Sampler

from Production Crate

This tool will help match up your visual fx to your practical lighting, giving you a more professional look. The fellas at Production Crate put together a great tutorial with multiple examples showing how you can use this cool script. And if you’re looking for more great freebies, go sign up for a Production Crate account and just search by keyword FREE.


Animation Composer 3

from Mister Horse

Animation Composer received a big update in 2021. This powerful plugin allows users to test out different animations in seconds via presets. Quickly add SFX, create animations, transitions, titles, elements, animated illustrations, and much, much more. And they’ve probably got the most entertaining promo video out there. The upgrade is ready. Are you?


Displacer Pro

from Plugin Everything

Displacer Pro is the humble AE displacement map with more features + juiced up on the GPU. Features include various displacement methods and modes, powerful map adjustments, chromatic aberration, inbuilt anti-aliasing, GPU accelerated, and compatible all the way back to AE CS6.


GifExporter

from AE Juice

AE Juice has a ton of amazing free plugins, and GifExporter is one of my favorites. This tool is both a batch GIF renderer as well as a preview generator. Perfect for you folks selling animation presets and motion graphics elements. AEJuice GIF was only recently made available as a free download, and it’s not clear how long this will last. So get it while you can!


Easy Bounce

from MamoWorld

Easy Bounce makes key-framing bouncing animations incredibly easy. It’s a simple two-step process of roughly keyframing the motion path and then clicking on the Easy Bounce button. This will both fine-tune the motion path and adjust the timing (easing) of the path to be physically correct. There is both a FREE and premium version available.


Delayer

from Tim Thiessen + UkraMedia

This script moves the in points of the selected layers (up to a user input maximum number of frames) based on either their distance from one of 10 preset points or a delay that is randomly generated. It works with any size comp and any framerate. Follow the link to watch Sergei from UkraMedia explain how it works.


AE Benchmark

from Plugin Everything

Benchmark your After Effects machine performance and compare your score with the world. AE Benchmark uses 3 different tests to calculate your score, including singlethreading, multithreading and GPU. The website gives you tips on how to improve your render time via adapting your workflow, changing your settings and updating your hardware.


Hylian

from Battle Axe

If you don’t know about Battle Axe and all of their cool tools, go take a look. With Hylian, selected layers are duplicated and all keyframed properties are property linked back to the original layer. Pretty great for mattes and other troublesome layers. Yes, it is that simple. Need I say more? (Pronounced: High-Lee-In)


Thicc Stroke

from Plugin Everything

Thicc Stroke is a fully-featured, free, variable-width stroke plugin. Just prior to its release, however, Adobe introduced their own tapered stroke. The boys at Plugin Everything could’ve given up then, but they didn’t. Unlike Adobe’s stroke, Thicc Stroke allows you to apply a gradient along your path. BOOM.


Atom X

from Aniom

Use Aniom's Atom X panel to easily preview, apply, and customize high-end motion graphics templates in both Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro. You can access both FREE and premium elements from within the panel. I created a stand alone tutorial on this tool, so be sure to follow the link and check out its true power. This is one tool on this list that I use on a daily basis.


Pan and Zoom

from FX Factory

Pan and Zoom your images like renowned documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. If you don’t know who this guy is, go Google him and let me know how you feel about that haircut. Supports all popular image files (JPEG, PNG, PSD, RAW, etc.) as well as project media, including video clips. This tool works with Adobe After Effects on Intel CPUs only.


Manifesto

from FX Factory

Manifesto allows users to easily create title rolls and crawls. Create, edit and adjust titles within the program. A separate text editing window allows you to import, modify and apply styles to your text. Keyframing is optional, masking is easy, and it has built-in motion blurring and de-flickering. As with other AE plugins from FX Factory, it only works with Intel CPUs.


What do you think of my list? And what are some of your favorite free tools for Adobe After Effects?


If you like this roundup, be sure to check out some of my lists from previous years -

2021 PREMIUM plugins -

https://youtu.be/FU9PklxZXLc

2020 FREE plugins -

https://youtu.be/H-8erNhKz2Q

2020 PREMIUM plugins -

https://youtu.be/YtBg0BOifZY

2019 PREMIUM plugins -

https://youtu.be/TXSSO9W8_34