As much as I really want my hands on it I can't because I'm a student :(
So are there any real alternative to any of the trapcode effects.
I'm not expert (at all) but it seems that the price tag is off the roof just for some plug-ins. Granted they're pretty good but for a few plug-ins the price tag that is on them is just NOT worth it, $899 for the suite, that's only $100 less than after Effects its self! Ok I'm only a student and its at business prices (and i know there are educational versions) but IMO that's extortionate!
So does anyone know of any cheaper/ free(would be better) alternatives Expressions maybe? i don't know...
The prices for these plugins are not extortionate by any means. The ability to do with ease what used to take weeks of work is well worth the price they're charging. And if you add up all the plugins out there in the world, of course they'll cost more than AE. But one lens for my DSLR camera costs more than my camera too. You're adding functionality, you will pay for it. Prices used to be much worse on things back in the day too. As more and more people use the software and buy plug-ins the price comes down.
However, with Trapcode, as with many plugins, there are ways that you can do it yourself. Which plugin are you trying to recreate? If it's Shine or Starglow, that can be done with a combination of keying effects, blurs, and colorization. There's even a somewhat Shine-ish plugin included in AE 7 and higher. I forget the name of it...CC SomethingThat'sNotQuiteAsGood.
If it's Particular, there is a tutorial by Dan Eberts on how to create a 3d particle generator using expressions and stuff. It's not as good as Particular in many respects, but it's a lot cheaper.
If you're looking for Form...good luck.
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cc particle world is a standard ae effect that can do a fair amount of what particular can do (not sure if it comes with the educational version though).
videocopilot.net has several tutorials that use particle world, and many of andrew's particular tutorials can be adapted to cc particle world. there is on tutorial there that demonstrates how to use cc particle world to create a 3d stroke-like effect.
there are other techniques that will create starglow-like glow effects. usually using duplicates of a layer with directional blur composited over the original in screen or add mode... ayatoweb.com has an old tutorial on that (find the english page).
but if you think that $900 is a lot for plugins, check boris continuum complete, or the zaxwerks bundles...
specialized effect can save a lot of time, and time is money, so they can pay for themselves. plus there are some things you just can't do without specific effects, so if somebody (a client) wants to do something that requires one of those effects, you'll need it if you want their business...