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Best Free After Effects Alternative for Video Editors

Last Updated on Feb. 28, 2021 – by David Morgan
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Best Free After Effects Alternative for Video Editors

Seeking an alternative to Adobe After Effects?

As a video editing and special effects platform, After Effects provides a great opportunity to jazz up videos and unleash your creativity. But it can also come with a pretty sharp learning curve – as well as a significant price tag that leaves many searching for an After Effects alternative.

Is There a Free Alternative to After Effects?

Yes. In fact, there are several free alternatives to Adobe After Effects that not only deliver similar results, but also make high-quality video enhancement easier and faster than their much-pricier Adobe counterpart.

Here are the best free After Effects alternatives for Windows, Mac, and Linux now on the market.

  1. Free After Effects Alternatives for Windows, Mac, and Linux
  2. After Effects Alternatives FAQ

1. Free After Effects Alternatives for Windows, Mac, and Linux

1. CyberLink PowerDirector

CyberLink’s PowerDirector program offers a variety of top-rated video-editing and special-effects tools for Windows, making it easy to edit videos and create polished, professional-grade marketing content from one convenient location.

PowerDirector’s free software comes not only with an easy-to-use video-editing interface, but also with a host of premium features, including 30 days of free access to cutting-edge mask tools, motion controls, customizable motion titles, and more.

As a high-quality After Effects alternative, PowerDirector allows you to perform all the following functions without breaking your budget:

  • Adjust colors
  • Add sketched animation overlays
  • Conduct frame-by-frame motion tracking
  • Perform green screen editing tasks quickly and easily

Other PowerDirector capabilities to achieve a professional-quality product include:

  • Footage stabilization
  • Fish-eye distortion correction
  • Slow and fast motion effects
  • Repeat, replay, and reverse options

Whether it’s a product tutorial, lengthy brand film, event promotion, or a behind-the-scenes look at company culture, this free video editor with effects capability can help you tackle your project and deliver polished video content you can be proud of.

In all, PowerDirector is easy to learn and easy to master—not only due to an intuitive product interface, but also to tools that continually simplify the editing process. Resources like CyberLink’s extensive stock library can also provide crucial support for brainstorming ideas, supplementing content, and developing videos that will elevate brand engagement and visibility.

What’s more: PowerDirector isn’t the only free After Effects alternative in the CyberLink suite. It also has free versions of ColorDirector (color editing), AudioDirector (audio editing), ActionDirector (raw footage editing), and Director Suite (complete audio, video, and photo editing) available to save you time and money.

Key PowerDirector Features
  • Mask-design tools for cutting and combining different video clips
  • Motion controls that enable dynamic special effects wherever you need them
  • Customizable titles for introducing and enhancing important scenes
  • Manual color-adjustment tools for managing brightness, hue, and continuity
  • Motion-effects capability to correct and improve clips fast

2. HitFilm


HitFilm is another solid Adobe After Effects alternative, providing free, professional-quality video editing software for Mac and Windows without the need for a pricy Adobe subscription.

A 3D compositor, visual effects tool (VFX), and comprehensive video editor all rolled into one, the free HitFilm download provides reliable high-speed effects and video-editing to users around the world.

Currently, HitFilm maintains a catalog of more than 820 visual effects and presets, allowing filmmakers of all skill levels to create Hollywood-style clips quickly and easily.

In general, HitFilm’s free access and unique mix of VFX and video editing make it much easier to use than After Effects, with effects that are both simple and easy to incorporate.

Notable product features:
  • Supports nearly all types of formats
  • Includes over 820+ visual effects and presets
  • Possesses audio-visualization capability
  • HitFilm offers access to hundreds of high-quality motion effects at no cost
  • It comes with a user forum to brainstorm ideas and help with problems
  • HitFilm is not really designed for beginners. Novice editors will need time to learn the program.

3. Natron


Natron is a visual-effects platform specializing in open-sourced digital compositing, rotopaint, and 2D tracking solutions for VFX professionals. In short, Natron makes special effects and video editing solutions easier to find, access, and use than do other video-effects programs, including Adobe After Effects.

Available on Windows, Mac, and Linux, this free visual-effects software is a cross-platform, cost-effective After Effects alternative for anyone preferring more control over After Effects-related functions – and who enjoy a higher level of interface customization.

Effects creators and editors typically use Natron for its flexibility and the many different shapes and masks it offers for generating VFX.

Notable product features:
  • Supports many open-source visual-effects plugins
  • Has rendering and GPU capability
  • Enables 2D/2.5D special effects
  • Saves images in JPG, PSD, PNG, and various other formats
  • Provides a high level of 2D effects customizability
  • Works across multiple platforms (Mac, Windows, Linux)
  • Includes 250+ plugins to create visual effects for people across the globe
  • Natron’s functionality doesn’t support 3D effects creation
  • This tool is not user-friendly for beginners

4. Wax


Wax serves as an efficient video-editing and special-effects alternative to After Effects, providing a simple, easy-to-use editing platform without the complexities or cost of Adobe software.

As a video editing resource, Wax’s simple user interface design may initially throw a few people off, though the tool’s multitude of effects and useful features more than make up for it. Wax is high performance, easy to grasp, and offers a special effects capability that keeps it on par with others in the VFX market.

Wax is great for compositing and works both as a standalone tool and software plugin.

Notable product features:
  • Provides special effects and video editing
  • Offers hundreds of presets
  • Works for creating 2D and 3D visual effects
  • Works with more plugins
  • Offers real-time effects for most graphic cards
  • Wax is easy to learn/use
  • It is great for beginners
  • Wax supports many different formats, including BMP, PNG, JPG, WAV, RGB, and TIF
  • Wax supports limited formats for importing files
  • This tool only works in Windows

5. Blender


Blender is a versatile open-source tool perfect for anything from video editing and compositing to creating special effects, 3D applications, different types of animation, and more.

With wide-ranging capabilities that include motion tracking, 2D and 3D animation, and even particle simulation, Blender is a more-than-worthy After Effects alternative – especially for those who enjoy broad customizability.

Blender allows users to complete anything from basic video editing actions (cutting, splicing) to more challenging editing tasks (grading, masking). This broad capability makes Blender a popular tool for intermediate and advanced video editors alike, a level of accessibility that has earned Blender rave reviews from across the VFX community.

Notable product features:
  • Audio adjustment and editing tools for mixing, scrubbing, and visualization
  • Broad versatility for adding visual effects, audio, images, masks, and video
  • Numerous filters, speed control functionality, keyframes, and transitions for performing complex video editing tasks
  • 3D animation capability
  • Accessible for nearly all video editing tasks
  • Supports all types of VFX
  • Great for 3D animating, modeling, and simulation
  • Has many features that may be overwhelming for beginners

2. After Effects Alternatives FAQ

Can Blender Replace After Effects?

Blender is a good After Effects alternative, though its numerous features and extensive functionality can often overwhelm inexperienced video and effects editors, leaving little-to-no chance it will completely overtake the Adobe program. After Effects provides tutorials and informational resources not available with the Blender tool.

Is Fusion as Good as After Effects?

Fusion and Adobe After Effects are similar in terms of visual effects and video editing performance, though Fusion may indeed be a better option for tasks like compositing.

Need a Great Alternative to After Effects? Try PowerDirector Today

CyberLink offers a range of comprehensive, free video-editing and effects tools as a powerful After Effects alternative, providing the intuitive, professional-grade software you need to take on your next project with confidence.

From PowerDirector and ColorDirector to AudioDirector, Director Suite, and more, our video editing with effects programs will put you in the driver’s seat, making it easy to create compelling video content and to connect with your audience faster than ever.

Visit Cyberlink today to download the free video-editing options that work best for you.

If you're an aspiring editor looking to create cool videos, head on over to our complete guide on video editing effects. We've also got other great articles in our blog that'll introduce you to all the tools you need to enhance your portfolio.

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