Creating motion graphics can be a time consuming and painstaking process at the best of times. Even the most experienced professionals may face hours upon hours of hard work for only a few seconds of sweet visual nectar.
Luckily, there are some truly awesome plugins and scripts for After Effects that will help to streamline your work process and make your animations look like they’re fresh from a Hollywood blockbuster.
Here are 5 After Effects plugins and scripts that I absolutely love and won’t leave you counting the pennies:
Ease & Wizz
Ease & Wizz is one of my favourite AE tools purely for its easy-to-use user interface and for the incredibly slick looking expressions you can apply to your motions in seconds. Expressions are applied from a user-friendly palette allowing you to create fascinating interpolations between values in a matter of clicks. Ease & Wizz has a guide price of around £17.50 (which is completely worth it) however you can choose to name your own price and get it for free if you really want to.
Squash & Stretch
Squash & Stretch is a fun tool that comes loaded with some tasty behavioural animations. It’s really easy to tweak and edit the animations, reducing hours of work to a matter of clicks, resulting in some fun and engaging looking animations. There is also a handy sound library to accompany your animations. You can pick up Squash & Stretch for free, alternatively, there’s a Pro version which offers loads more animations and sounds, you can pick it up for £70.
Motion v2 – “Your animation wingman”. It’s an incredibly helpful and diverse all-round tool to help streamline your motion animation process. It comes with over 20 tools (most of which I’ve found highly useful) – I won’t go into each one, however, a stand-out feature for me is the ability to group actions across keyframes. No need to edit every single damn keyframe, yay! You can get Motion v2 for around £28.
Character animation is really fun and a particularly rewarding practice. There are plenty of rigging tools out there however one that I find particularly useful is PuppetTools 3. You could argue that PuppetTools 3 isn’t the most comprehensive character rigging tool, however, in terms of usability there isn’t any better for me. Whether you’re a beginner or someone more experienced, PuppetTools 3 allows you to quickly and easily create character animations that look great without the need for hours of practice that other tools may require. Grab PuppetTools 3 for £28.
PQ FUI Toys 2
The inclusion of PQ FUI Toys 2 in my list may be a bit controversial. PQ FUI Toys 2 is an impressive library of pre-animated user interface assets that come as editable AE compositions. To some, the idea of using pre-animated compositions is cheating and doesn’t develop your skills at all, however, bare with me… Sometimes client demands mean we have to create animations quickly and there are times when we simply can’t afford the time to worry about everything. PQ FUI Toys 2 library of animations is really awesome and is a life saver for those occasions where time is of the essence. Each animation is fully customisable allowing you to deliver bespoke looking animations when the going gets tough and at £34.50, you can’t go wrong.