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8.4 Mind-Blowing Third-Party Effects

If you thought the built-in effects in After Effects were cool, you had better sit down. This will blow your mind. In this lesson, you will learn about some of the absolutely staggering third-party Adobe After Effects effects. Spoiler alert, some of them are FREE!

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1 lesson, 00:49


2.Getting Started
5 lessons, 42:55

What Is After Effects?

Main Panels


After Effects Tools

More AE Tools

3.Compositions and Layers
3 lessons, 26:35

After Effects Composition


After Effects Layer Properties

3 lessons, 25:21

After Effects Keyframe Basics

After Effects Keyframe Easing

Spatial Interpolation

5.Masks, Shape Layers, and Text
5 lessons, 45:36

Learn How to Mask in After Effects

After Effects Shape Layers: Part 1

After Effects Shape Layers: Part 2

Text in After Effects

Text Animation and More

2 lessons, 13:42

What Is 2.5D?

More 2.5D

7.Motion Tracking
4 lessons, 34:04

Motion Tracking, Camera Tracking, and 3D Text

More Motion Tracking

Camera Tracking in After Effects

3D Text in After Effects

8.Mattes and Cool Effects
4 lessons, 43:43




Mind-Blowing Third-Party Effects

9.Build a Lower Third
2 lessons, 21:35

How to Make a Lower Third in After Effects

Final Touches on the Lower Third

1 lesson, 09:11

Exporting From After Effects

1 lesson, 01:16


12.Bonus Lessons
4 lessons, 2:14:00

How to Make an After Effects Text Animation

How to Use After Effects Intro Templates

How to Create Handwriting Animation in After Effects

How to Create Brush Effects in After Effects

13.Frequently Asked Questions
8 lessons, 1:34:42

FAQ Introduction

How to Export Video From After Effects

How to Export Video From After Effects Using PreRendering

How to Mask in After Effects

How to Animate Text in After Effects

How to Make a GIF in After Effects

How to Duplicate Layer in After Effects

FAQ Conclusion

8.4 Mind-Blowing Third-Party Effects

In this lesson you're gonna learn about the mind blowing third party effects in After Effects. All right, I have a little project here and I wanted to play it for you. This is a transitional element that I built for the Chicago Auto Show a couple years ago for a major United States car manufacturer. And I did a couple of videos for them, they ended up going with a slightly more subdued version of this transition. But I really liked it and I wanted to share it with you because it uses a couple of my favorite third party plugins. And let me walk you through what I'm using here. To start, let's take a look at the lens flares. I don't know about you but I really love lens flares. And when it comes to lens flares, one of the best plugins out there is Video Copilot's optical flares. This is an absolutely fantastic looking lens flare plugin. This is not a free effect, it costs $125 USD for the base effect. But if you wanna get the bundle, and that comes with the pro-presets and the pro-presets two, that's a $165 USD. Then I think it's really worth going for the bundle in this particular case. I don't usually opt for those things on all products, but the time it would take you to create these incredible looking lens flare presets here is way more than the $40 extra between what it would cost for the base plugin and the version with all of the presets. So it's definitely worth checking out. And if you're not someone who likes using presets, I know there's lots of folks out there who are like, presets are gross, that's totally fine. Presets to me are just a starting point. It's a way to save me time. I like most of this, I wanna change a couple of things, that's what I use presets for. But you can build lens flares from scratch. Right down here, you will see a list of layers in this stack here. Everything you're seeing up here in this lens flare, all the elements, are contained down here. You can re-order them in the stack, you can modify their brightness, their color, their opacity, their shape, their texture, their animation. Yes, some of these actually have some animation built into them, the little sparkles will do a little animation. It's really incredible. This is an effect that is definitely worth going to, watching the demo for, especially if you like lens flares. The next layer here also contains a Video Copilot plugin, this one is called Element 3D. Element 3D came out a couple of years ago and it is a fantastic way to get 3D objects and 3D assets integrated into your After Effects project. It does it in a very fast way, it looks really great, there are a ton of options for shading, and ambient inclusion, and reflections, it's really great. What you're seeing in this example is actually very, very simple. This is like one of the most simplistic things you can do in a plugin like this, but you don't have to use every complicated plugin or effect in a complicated way. This is something that was really simple to put together. This shape here is coming from a solid with a few masks on it. And then element 3D is doing all the geometry and the bevels. It's doing the material generation, the reflection, and a lot of the lighting. This also works with After Effects lighting. It works with masks, it works with text that comes right from After Effects. It also works with OBJs and .c4d files which are Cinema 4D files. So you have some options getting 3D models inside of Element 3D. Video Copilot also has a bunch of packs with super detailed models. It's definitely worth checking out. All right, the next layer is actually another Video Copilot effect, but this one is free. This one is called Saber, and Saber is an awesome plugin for fire looks, for portal energy effects, neon signs, it's really, really cool and definitely worth checking out. So this is built on a solid, and I have some masks on here which are turned off right now because it can look a little bit confusing when I change these presets. And I just have some real basic things turned on here. I picked a preset that I thought looked like a good starting point, and then I made some tweaks here and there to adjust the look to get it exactly right. It really did not take very long at all and then I'm animating just a few things in a very simple way. But I'll just click and grab a few of these different presets so that you can see. It's got a lot of really great looks here. In fact, they go right off my screen. It's definitely worth checking out. It's free, so download it, play with it, have fun with it. Make some sabers, make some fire, make some energy elements to use in your projects. It's really, really cool. Now before we move on from Video Copilot, I just wanna make a note that there are few more Video Copilot effects in plug-ins that you might wanna check out. Some of these are free, things like VC Reflect, VC Color Vibrance, Sure Target, they have a new one which I didn't have installed yet called Orb which is incredible. All of those are free, so you should download them, install them, play with them, have a ton of fun with it. All right, let's look at something that's not from Video Copilot, and that is what's making up the bulk of this fire, and sparks, and smoke effect, and that is Trapcode Particular by Red Giant. This is another major effect in the After Effects world, it is a particle system, it is incredibly complex, and they can do absolutely amazing looking things. You have definitely seen this before in big shows that you have seen on TV, for things like rain, things like smoke, snow, dust, you can do all kinds of different things like this from real kind of naturally occurring particles, fire, smoke, dust, and all that jazz. To motion graphics things, it's got a physics engine with wind, and turbulence, and gravity. And I'll show you just a few of the layers here that I have stacked and composited together. So, this is the layer that I have, it's a smoke layer here. All of these smoke particles are actually a video loop. So, they have a lot of motion and a lot of organic complexity to them. A fire layer which is directly underneath there. This is another particle system. This is also using a sprite which is a video loop that always faces the camera. And that looks really, really cool as well. Man that looks really, really nice for a really quick fire element. And there are several other ways to create fire and smoke. This is just one way that I came up with that looked pretty good, I mean you can tweak this forever and come up with all kinds of different options. I'm also using particular, and I'll just click on the other layer so you can see, to generate lots and lots and lots of sparks. As really good for that, I mean it almost looks like that could be too many sparks, I don't know, I really like sparks. I'm also using it for a smoke layer down here which looks a little bit funny until you see everything kind of composited together and then you go, actually that looks right. The reason why this smoke doesn't look like smoke that you maybe familiar with is because this smoke is being lit by an After Effects light. Particular can respond to After Effects lights, it does shading and little shadow lits. When fire sort of transitions from what you think is flame to smoke, it still kind of glows a little bit. And the fire will illuminate the smoke, and so that what's being replicated here. And you maybe thinking that looks like a video layer, and you would be right. This is the actual effect layer down here. It's built on a black solid, but for this one in order to get it to playback smoothly here for this demonstration, I pre-rendered this one element here because this one uses a lot of smoke particles. It's using, I think the most around 3,000 smoke particles and each one of those is a video loop. And so that can get a little bit crazy when you're also dealing with motion blur, and the shading that's being done from After Effects lights. So again, this is Trapcode Particular by Red Giant, definitely worth checking out if you need a particle system. After Effect does actually come with some particle systems. CC Particle Systems, CC Particle World, and Particle Playground. However, when you wanna create really cool looking composites and effects like this, you're gonna need something with a little bit more, well, fire power. If I didn't mention it before Trapcode Particular costs $400 USD. However, if you don't need it right away and you still want it, once you hear Red Giant usually runs a 50% off sale for day or two or three, so you can snag it for as little as $200. That's what I did, and at that price it's a no brainer. I used it for tons of stuff and comes in very, very handy. So that's just a quick look at a couple of my favorite third party effects. There are certainly more than we could talk about, Plexus, Red Giant Universe, Newton, and many more. But hopefully that gives you an idea of the fire power that you can bring to the party with some third party effects. Coming up in the next lesson, it's time to put your skills to work and create a lower third from scratch.

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