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10 Best Adobe After Effects Alternatives in 2022 [Free & Paid]

Last Updated on Apr. 15, 2022 – by David Morgan
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10 Best Adobe After Effects Alternatives in 2022

Adobe After Effects has been the industry standard in visual effects, motion graphics, and compositing for 30 years. Professional VFX artists and editors have used After Effects in countless Hollywood films, video games, and television shows. 

As a video editing and special effects platform, After Effects is an uncontested favorite amongst seasoned editors. But it comes with a sharp learning curve and a significant price tag that leaves many searching for an Adobe After Effects alternative.

There are several great Adobe After Effects alternatives that deliver similar results and make high-quality video enhancement easier and faster than their much-pricier Adobe counterpart.

We’ve made a list of the best paid and free After Effects alternatives in 2022. There is something on our list for every skill level, from beginner to advanced, and every kind of editor - Hollywood professional, influencer, hobbyist, business owner, and more. So let’s dive in!

Top 3 Adobe After Effects Alternatives Snapshot

PowerDirector Logo

1. PowerDirector - Best Overall

PowerDirector is the best Adobe After Effects alternative because it offers quality motion graphics and animation effects that professionals will appreciate and beginners will find easy to use. It is the complete editing package with all the tools you need to start and finish a VFX-heavy video. There is a version of PowerDirector for everyone, with free and paid versions available. More Info >

Blender Logo

2. Blender - Best for Intermediate Editors

Blender is an open-source, free After Effects alternative with advanced motion graphics and essential editing tools. It's an all-in-one package for intermediate to advanced users. More Info >

Blackmagic Fusion Logo

3. Blackmagic Fusion - Best for Broadcast Graphics

Blackmagic Fusion is a free After Effects alternative with advanced compositing software for visual effects artists, broadcast and motion graphic designers, and 3D animators. It has been used to create visual effects and digital compositing in professional-level commercials, TV shows, and feature films. More Info >

What is Adobe After Effects?

Adobe After Effects is a digital visual effects, motion graphics, and compositing software. It was initially released by Adobe in 1993 and is the industry standard in VFX and motion graphics software. As part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, After Effects works seamlessly with other Adobe software like Premiere Pro and Photoshop. 

With After Effects, you can animate anything from logos to characters and even design in 3D space. You can create cinematic movie titles, intros, and transitions, remove objects or add fire and rain to a scene. 

It can be used as an elementary video editor but is mainly used for post-production effects in conjunction with other software. 

5 Best Free Adobe After Effects Alternatives in 2022

1. PowerDirector - Best Overall

PowerDirector Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Overall Rating: 10/10

Motion Graphics: 10/10

Key Features

  1. Slow and fast motion effects
  2. Split-screen animations
  3. Footage stabilization
  4. Blending effects

PowerDirector offers a variety of top-rated video editing and special effects tools for Windows and Mac, making it easy to edit videos and create polished, professional-grade visual effects from one convenient location. PowerDirector comes as both a free and paid version. 

PowerDirector Essentials (free version) comes not only with an easy-to-use video editing interface but also with a host of premium features, cutting-edge mask tools, motion controls, compositing effects, and more. In addition, the Essentials version is an excellent free After Effects alternative because it's a great starting point if you're a beginner at video editing since you can use all the tools from the paid software in it.

PowerDirector has unique, AI-powered tools like sky replacement, object detection, speech enhancement, and wind removal. With Smart Background Music, you can automatically fit music to the length of your video. 

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

Whether it's a product tutorial, lengthy brand film, event promotion, or an exciting YouTube video, this free video editor with effects capability can help you tackle your project and deliver polished video content you can be proud of.

If you opt for the reasonably priced PowerDirector 365 (subscription), you will get access to an 8,000,000+ photo, video, and music stock library. This royalty-free content provided by Shutterstock and iStock by Getty Images is beneficial when creating effects as you can pull assets whenever inspiration hits. You'll also have access to thousands of unique design packs of premade effects and templates. 

Resources like the extensive stock library can also provide crucial support for brainstorming ideas, supplementing content, and developing videos that will elevate brand engagement and visibility.

In all, PowerDirector is easy to learn and master due to an intuitive product interface and tools that continually simplify the editing process. 

PowerDirector isn't the only free editing tool in the PowerDirector family. There are ColorDirector (video color editing), AudioDirector (audio editing), PhotoDirector (photo editing), and Director Suite (complete audio, video, and photo editing suite) 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 scenes
  • Manual color-adjustment tools for managing brightness, hue, and continuity
  • Motion-effects capability to correct and improve clips fast

You can download PowerDirector Essential or Director Suite for free.

2. Blender - Best for Intermediate Editors

Blender Interface

Image from Blender Artists.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

Overall Rating: 9/10

Motion Graphics: 10/10

Key Features

  1. 3D painting with textured brushes and masking
  2. CPU, GPU, and VR rendering
  3. Animation support with Onion Skinning
  4. Audio adjustment tools

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. It includes numerous filters, speed control functionality, keyframes, and transitions for performing complex video editing tasks. With wide-ranging capabilities that include motion tracking, 2D and 3D animation, and even particle simulation, Blender is a more-than-worthy free After Effects alternative – especially for those who enjoy broad customizability. 

Users can 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.

Blender is a great free After Effects alternative because it has all the advanced motion graphics tools you’d find in the expensive Adobe software, plus basic editing tools, making Blender an all-in-one package. However, Blender has an extremely high learning curve, making this Adobe After Effects alternative the wrong choice for beginners.

Pros
  • Customizable interface
  • Supports all types of VFX
Cons
  • Steep learning curve
  • Slow rendering

3. Blackmagic Fusion - Best for Broadcast Graphics

Blackmagic Fusion Interface

Image from Blackmagic Fusion.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

Overall Rating: 9/10

Motion Graphics: 9/10

Key Features

  1. Integrated 2D and 3D compositing in an animation environment
  2. Two-level proxy system for fast interactive response
  3. Custom vector shapes
  4. Import 3D models from Maya, 3ds Max, Cinema 4D and more

Blackmagic Fusion is an advanced compositing software for visual effects artists, broadcast and motion graphic designers, and 3D animators. Blackmagic Fusion is typically used for creating visual effects and digital compositing in professional-level commercials, TV shows, and feature films. Fusion is available as a free After Effects alternative in a limited form in DaVinci Resolve or a full-paid version in Fusion Studio. 

Fusion is a node-based system allowing for a large amount of flexibility. Mix and match footage of different resolutions, aspect ratios, and formats within a single project. Animation curve modifiers will automatically change animations when the duration of the composition changes. There are traditional text formatting controls, plus 3D extrusion, reflections, bump maps, shadows, and more. Fusion uses GPU acceleration, which means you can instantly see how atmospheric effects like fog or mist will interact within a scene, without waiting for rendering. 

If you have never worked in a node-based editor, it will require some patience and time to learn but the results will be worth it if you are willing to be disciplined. Fusion is not an Adobe After Effects alternative for beginners or those looking for fast results.

Pros
  • Render to multiple formats and resolutions in a single pass
  • Customizable toolbars
Cons
  • Not ideal for beginners
  • Professionals used to other software will also have a learning curve

4. Natron - Best for Flexibility

Natron Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

Overall Rating: 8/10

Motion Graphics: 9/10

Key Features

  1. Powerful curve and dope-sheet editor
  2. GPU and Network rendering
  3. Enables 2D/2.5D special effects
  4. Multi-layered rotoscoping with stroke capability

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, making it a fantastic free After Effects alternative. 

Effects creators and editors typically use Natron for its flexibility, especially its flexible Roto and Rotopaint tools for unlimited layers of masks, shapes, and mattes. Like Fusion, Natron is node-based and employs many node organizational tools.

This visual effects software is a cross-platform, free After Effects alternative for anyone preferring more control over After Effects-related functions – and who enjoys a higher level of interface customization. However, like most visual effects heavy editors, Natron is not beginner-friendly. Also, if 3D effects creation is your specialty, Natron is not the free After Effects alternative for you. 

Pros
  • Updated regularly
  • Includes 250+ plugins to create visual effects for people across the globe
Cons
  • Doesn’t support 3D effects creation
  • Not user-friendly for beginners

5. Wax - Best for Beginners

Wax Interface

Compatibility: Windows

Overall Rating: 8/10

Motion Graphics: 7/10

Key Features

  1. Offers hundreds of presets
  2. Offers real-time effects for most graphic cards
  3. Unlimited video and audio tracks
  4. Top-down compositing and many compositing modes

Wax serves as an efficient video editing and special effects Adobe After Effects alternative, 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 makeup 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. 

Used for both commercial and personal use, this free After Effects alternative provides graphics acceleration for creating mind-boggling effects in real-time. Wax has full featured 3D compositing with objects, lighting, shadows, texture, and more. It also offers project management with media bins and folders for ease of use. Wax is great for compositing and works both as a standalone tool and software plugin.

Wax’s user interface and website look like they haven’t been updated since the 90s, but as it is a free After Effects alternative, it’s hard to complain. The software is easy to learn and won’t take up room on your computer. However, it lacks some tools that more advanced VFX editors have. 

Pros
  • Wax is easy to learn/use
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Wax supports limited formats for importing files
  • Audio tools are limited
  • Outdated interface

5 Best Paid Adobe After Effects Alternatives in 2022

1. HitFilm Pro - Best for VFX

HitFilm Pro Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Overall Rating: 7/10

Motion Graphics: 8/10

Key Features

  1. Particle simulator
  2. 3D geometry effects
  3. 360-degree video support
  4. Distortion effects

HitFilm is another solid Adobe After Effects alternative, providing professional-quality video editing software without the need for a pricey Adobe subscription. A 3D compositor, visual effects tool, and comprehensive video editor all rolled into one. HitFilm Pro 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. With HitFilm you can animate images and characters, use waveforms for audio element visualization, import 3D models, and apply behavioral effects to your videos. HitFilm Pro has 3D muzzle flashes for any kind of weapon, and a library of sci-fi effects like lasers and star fields. There is also a puppet tool that adds natural motion to graphics, shapes, and text. And it offers unlimited audio and video tracks for unlimited creativity.

In general, HitFilm’s unique mix of VFX and video editing makes it easier than After Effects. Anyone with editing experience will have no trouble navigating HitFilm, but beginners will struggle.  It comes packed with professional VFX tools but takes up a ton of computer space. 

Pros
  • Easy cross-over from After Effects
  • Various plug-ins available to enhance your projects
Cons
  • Outdated interface
  • Not designed for beginners
  • Requires a lot of room on your hard drive

2. Apple Motion - Best for Final Cut Pro Users

Apple Motion Interface

Image from Apple Support.

Compatibility: Mac

Overall Rating: 7/10

Motion Graphics: 7/10

Key Features

  1. Accurate, one-step chroma key
  2. Over 200 pre-set particle emitters
  3. Automatically detect and track object movement
  4. Neon filter

Apple Motion is the perfect Adobe After Effects alternative for Final Cut Pro users because of how closely intertwined they are. Plus, they have very similar interfaces and you can use Apple Motion to create templates and themes for Final Cut. As usual, Apple has made a tool optimized to run seamlessly in their ecosystem. This helps decrease the need for rendering time. 

Apple Motion is a powerful motion graphics tool used to create realistic effects in real-time. Create cinematic 2D and 3D titles from scratch, or with a pre-made template. Then animate your titles with one of over 100 drag-and-drop behaviors, and customize them with more than 90 3D materials like metal, wood, and stone. Transition any space from 2D to 3D, then set up shadows or reflective surfaces that move with the camera and lighting. 

Though not as feature-heavy, Apple Motion is a great Adobe After Effects alternative for those interested in motion graphics, 2D and 3D compositing, and visual effects. Although it can be used as a stand-alone editor, the software really works best when paired with Final Cut Pro.

Pros
  • Excellent performance
  • Relatively quick and easy to use compared with other motion graphics editors
Cons
  • Light on features
  • Only for Mac and Final Cut Pro users

3. Nuke - Best for Professionals

Nuke Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Overall Rating: 6/10

Motion Graphics: 10/10

Key Features

  1. Vector paint tools
  2. Lens distortion handling
  3. Advanced 3D feature preview
  4. Stereoscopic workflow

Nuke is a cutting-edge toolkit for node-based compositing, 3D tracking, and model building. Nuke is typically seen as a family of programs consisting of Nuke, NukeX, and Nuke Studio. Together they provide flexibility and collaborative workflows for the highest quality results possible. 

Nuke has Deep Image compositing tools for images that contain multiple opacity and color. With Nuke, there’s no need to re-render elements when content changes. Nuke has a suite of machine learning tools that automatically complete tasks with the CopyCat node, such as matte generation, removing motion blur, and more. Finally, Nuke offers a limitless 3D environment where users can create scenes composed of 3D models, 2D footage, models, cameras, lights, and so on. 

If you are looking for the industry standard for compositing, Nuke is it. It is more expensive than After Effects but for good reason. Nuke is an Adobe After effects alternative specifically for professionals, and not for home use. Nuke is mainly on our list for those who want to be professional VFX artists.

Pros
  • Easy collaboration with others, whether sitting side by side or across the globe
  • Best professional toolset on our list
Cons
  • Only for professionals
  • Very expensive

4. Corel MotionStudio 3D - Best for 3D Effects

Corel MotionStudio 3D Interface

Image from Softpedia.

Compatibility: Windows

Overall Rating: 6/10

Motion Graphics: 7/10

Key Features

  1. Professional quality 3D output
  2. View effects in real-time with Preview Panel
  3. Capability to import 3D models and vector graphics
  4. Broad format support

Corel Motion Studio 3D, has 3D visual effects, 3D graphics, and compositing perfect for animation professionals or anyone interested in 3D animation. Motion Studio 3D is packed with easy-to-use tools with a streamlined interface, making it a great Adobe After Effects alternative. 

Create big-budget titles and text with preset behaviors and animations. Type your text, make it 3D, and animate it in just a few simple steps. Add bevels or textures, then make your words bounce, stretch, disintegrate, and much more. With MotionStudio 3D, you can add realistic motion blur to scenes and customize the density, path, and length. Take flat footage and adjust the depth of field, then animate the blur to look like the camera switched focus. MotionStudio 3D also has powerful particle effects like smoke, fire, snow, bubbles, and explosions - all fully customizable, with the ability to control size, source, density, and behavior.

MotionStudio 3D is not a stand-alone video editor, but you can export your graphics into a variety of formats accepted by all popular editing software. Corel created this Adobe After Effects alternative for beginners and hobbyists, but professionals can use MotionStudio to import their graphics in vector and raster formats. 

Pros
  • Streamlined, intuitive interface
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • No basic editing tools
  • Light on features for advanced users

5. Moovly - Best for Marketing

Moovly Interface

Compatibility: Online

Overall Rating: 6/10

Motion Graphics: 6/10

Key Features

  1. Transition and overlay effects
  2. Chroma key
  3. Slow-mo and speed-up tools
  4. Voiceover with 100s of artificial voices

Moovly is an easy-to-use online animation tool for business owners and content creators. 

It is cloud-based and accessible on a web browser from any computer, with no downloading of software needed. 

This online tool has stunning animations and effects but also tools a video editor needs to make a project from start to finish - making this a great Adobe After Effects alternative. Moovly has 1.3 million royalty-free images, sounds, music, and videos in its free stock library. Automatically add subtitles and translate them into any language to make your content accessible worldwide. Moovly has screen record and webcam record capabilities, social-media friendly aspect ratios, and direct uploads to Facebook, Vimeo, and YouTube.    

There are also motion graphics and animation tools that are more beginner-friendly than After Effects. Any visual object - image, text, or video - can be animated independently. There are also 1,000s of pre-animated graphics and titles that are fully customizable, so you can add cool motion graphics to your projects at any skill level. Create videos in an array of different styles, like cartoon, animated illustration, or handwriting on a whiteboard (with different hand animations and types available). Moovly has tons of cool drag-and-drop templates, or you can upload and manipulate your own branding materials like colors, fonts, and logos. 

Moovly is the perfect Adobe After Effects alternative for business owners and influencers who want to add cool motion graphics and animations to their marketing and YouTube videos, but lack the skill-set necessary. Professionals will be unimpressed and want more control over effects, but beginners will find Moovly the perfect online tool to get their feet wet. 

Pros
  • Beginner-friendly with a simple interface
  • Doesn’t take up room on your computer
Cons
  • Quite limiting for professional animators

Best Adobe After Effects Alternatives Comparison Chart

Features PowerDirector vs

OS

Windows, Mac

-

Beginner-Friendly

Yes

-

Comparison to After Effects

Many of the same motion graphics and animation tools as, but cheaper and more beginner-friendly

-

Basic Editing Tools

Yes

-

Advanced Editing Tools

Yes

-

Free

Yes

-

How to Edit Videos Using an Adobe After Effects Alternative

Here is a step-by-step guide for using PowerDirector - the #1 Adobe After Effects alternative - to add motion graphics to a scene.

Download PowerDirector for free below and follow along: 


  1. Click on the clip you want to use and drag it to the Editing Timeline
  2. Click and hold on the Tools Menu, just above the timeline. Then select Motion Tracker from the dropdown menu.
  3. PowerDirector - Tools, Motion Tracker

    The motion tracker panel will pop up. It contains controls for the motion tracker and a viewer for the video clip you selected.

  4. Click Add a Tracker found underneath the viewer.
  5. PowerDirector - Add Motion Tracker to Object

    The tracker, a rectangular box with handles, will appear on your video. Use the handles to resize the tracker box to fit the object you want to track fairly tightly. 

  6. Now push the Track Button to the left of the timeline in the Motion Tracker Viewer Panel
  7. Your clip will play and your box will now follow the object you selected. If the box is not following the object closely, try making the box smaller, cropping in on a small area of the subject or a splash of a bright color.

  8. When you are happy with your tracker, click OK
  9. Now you can add a title, video clip, image or effect to the tracker box. 

Check out this video tutorial for adding motion tracking to your videos

Download the Best Free Adobe After Effects Alternative

We’ve given you a long list of great Adobe After Effects alternatives. Since VFX and motion graphics are complicated features, many of the software on the list were good options for professionals, but not beginners or amateurs. Others were good for beginners but lacked some more advanced tools needed to make a high-quality video. 

We chose PowerDirector as the number one Adobe After Effects alternative because it successfully bridges the gap between amateur and professional, with a user-friendly interface and After Effects-like features such as cutting-edge mask tools, motion controls, compositing effects, frame-by-frame motion tracking, chroma key, and more. In fact, PowerDirector won PC Mag’s Best Editing Software of 2022 Editor’s Choice award.

And unlike many others on our list, PowerDirector is a superb stand-alone video editor, so you won’t have to download several different applications to finish a project. PowerDirector is offered in both a free version and a reasonably-priced paid version, so you can find the right set of tools for your skill-set and budget. 

Download PowerDirector today to start adding amazing, cinematic effects to your projects - quickly and easily. 

Adobe After Effects Alternatives FAQ

1. What is the best Adobe After Effects alternative for a beginner?

PowerDirector is the best Adobe After Effects alternative for beginners. It was designed to allow anyone to jump in and start creating with very little experience. The free version also gives users a chance to test it out before having to make any real commitment in either time or money.

2. Can Blender Replace After Effects?

Blender is a good free After Effects alternative, though its numerous features and extensive functionality can often overwhelm inexperienced video and effects editors. After Effects provides tutorials and informational resources not available with the Blender.

3. 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.

4. What is the Best Adobe After Effects Alternative on Android and iOS? 

Mobile phones simply aren’t powerful enough to handle the complicated effects found in After Effects and the other editing software on our list. 

Here are the mobile apps that come close: 

  1. PowerDirector App
  2. Adobe Premiere Rush
  3. VideoShow
  4. Autodesk Sketchbook
  5. KineMaster

If you are interested in video editing on your phone, check out our article on The 7 Best Free Video Editing Apps in 2022.

5. What Features Should I Look For in an Adobe After Effects Alternative? 

The top ten features you should look for are:

  1. Chroma key
  2. Motion tracking
  3. Visual Effects
  4. Customizable effects/titles
  5. Animated titles
  6. PiP overlay
  7. Mask-design tools
  8. Compositing tools
  9. Motion blur effects
  10. 3D effects
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