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AE Plug Ins

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Beau BrothertonAE Plug Ins
by on Jan 12, 2010 at 5:55:02 pm


I apologize for this, I just posted on the Motion Graphics forum but realized that this should of been the post that used originally. So I apologize.

I have been using AE for about two years now, but I still wouldn't consider myself an expert at all. I usually have an idea in my head, try it in AE, then end up using FCP or Motion because I get frustrated. The best thing that I am good at is story telling editing. I cut in FCP and really love finding the moments in a short promo spot or interview and creating something that has a beginning middle and end to it.

But, I am realizing that I am progressing quickly at this and my clients are growing as well as my prices, but my images are becoming a little "stale". I love motion graphics and give the most respect to this craft and would love to hire someone in the future. But as for now I am a one man show shooting, editing, producing, so I am looking for some awesome plug-ins that will allow me to comp in some great layers and add to my productions.

Below a link to the type of style that I'd like to add: (I know that this is faith based, but please just concentrate on the layers, textures, etc)

So, what do y'all think the best AE plug ins would be for a novice AE user? I am currently looking at Digital Juice's "Motion Designer's Toolkit" (I love the many many many different looks, textures, etc. And!! pre rendered as well as AE project originals). I also like Red Giant's Trapcode Particular, and I have looked into Video CoPilot a little.

So what do y'all think the best would be? In terms of shelf life and ease of use for a beginner to quickly be able to add some simple texture

Digital Juice looks like I might never need anything else ever again there is so much (1755 different AE projects, Ai Vector files, and QT Files), but $500 is a good amount. Video CoPilot has products around the $100 mark which I like, but I am not fully aware of Trapcode and if it is worth it. But I don't want to cheap out on this, I want to get the most bang for my buck and have something that will last and have a high ceiling. PS I'm on a Mac.

Also, I need to say that I am not wanting to become a motion graphic designer over night! I don't even really want to become one, I am just looking to add a little bit of texture to my work to be able to raise my production value and hopefully be able to bring in a true designer and have some extra tools for them to do some real work.

Thanks to all!! :)

-Beau Brotherton-

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Todd KoprivaRe: AE Plug Ins
by on Jan 12, 2010 at 6:14:42 pm

I don't think that the right question to start with is "What plug-ins should I buy?"

Rather, I think that you should learn the basics of After Effects and find out what you can do with what you get in the box. There are hundreds of effects (plug-ins) that ship with After Effects, so it's not a given that you need to buy some more expensive stuff just to get started.

The video that you linked to wouldn't require anything that doesn't come with After Effects.

Only after you've determined that something specific that you're trying to do requires additional software should you start buying new things.

Just my opinion, of course.

You can get started learning After Effects by going through the materials linked to under the "Getting started" heading on this page.

Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
putting the 'T' back in 'RTFM' : After Effects Help on the Web
If a page of After Effects Help answers your question, please consider rating it. If you have a tip, technique, or link to share---or if there is something that you'd like to see added or improved---please leave a comment.

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Dave LaRondeRe: AE Plug Ins
by on Jan 12, 2010 at 6:16:00 pm

Todd's right. Imagine that, an Adobe guy knowing about After Effects... who would have thought.

Me? I'm a humble AE practitioner with no budget for bells & whistles. But if you have some cash burning a hole in your pocket, and you're simply after a little more exotic texture in your text, stick with Digital Juice. Forget about the fancy third-party plugins. If you're satisfied with Editors Toolkit, and if you like the way it works, it'll cost just about as much as a couple of fancy plugins to do the same thing.

Sometimes you don't need the latest and the greatest and most expensive. Sometimes you just need something that WORKS for you. It sounds like you've found it.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Beau BrothertonRe: AE Plug Ins
by on Jan 12, 2010 at 8:50:46 pm

Thanks Dave and Todd,

Yeah, that's really what I'm looking for. I love that Digital Juice gives you the AE project, QT Renders, AND the Vector files. This would allow me to create a video project, then if the client would want to have any printing graphics, I'd have those files as well.

Again, I'm not at all trying to cheat, but yes, I am looking for something that just works. I have gone through the AE Apprentice book, so I do know the basics. But I do certainly know that I need to continue my education. And yes Todd, thank you very much, I will certainly check out that link.

I hate to say it, I might even sometimes just layer in the QT Renders in FCP and use blend modes for them. Then if I need any adjustments, I can go to the AE file and learn from a pro who created it in the first place.

But I'm I over looking any other plug ins? These are just the ones that I have found.

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Dave LaRondeRe: AE Plug Ins
by on Jan 12, 2010 at 9:44:00 pm

Digital Anarchy's Text Anarchy, and the new plugin suite from Boris can do extruded text, I think. Since my TV station won't even spring for a way to turn their super-high-bitrate mpeg 2 syndicated HD programs into ProRes files we can use in promotion, I know these gizmos by reputation only and not from personal experience.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Michael SzalapskiRe: AE Plug Ins
by on Jan 13, 2010 at 2:50:57 pm

AE is very frustrating until you understand it. Then it's an absolute delight. However, as you've discovered, sometimes it takes a long while of banging your head against the wall before you break through.
Keep at it.
And I agree with Todd. The effects many 3rd party plug-ins achieve can be created within After Effects with a little bit of knowledge and experience with the program.

You say you've been through After Effects Apprentice? Good. If you want to really get in depth with it, read through the manual too. Make sure you're sitting with the computer so you can play with stuff while you're reading.
Also, Total Training's AE program is amazing. I cannot reccomend it highly enough.
Don't forget the tutorials here at the COW, focus on ones that teach workflow and other "boring" things until you're comfortable in the program, then move on to the swoopy fun ones.
And, of course has a great basics section as well as some amazingly swoopy tutes.

As far as plug-in recommendations go, I would like to point out that the longer I use AE the less I use plug-ins. My way of doing it gets better results that fit my needs without me trying to bend some plug-in to my will.
That being said, there are some plug-ins that I wouldn't think about going without.
Zaxwerks 3d Invigorator - I've used it since AE 5.5 for getting beautiful true 3d text in AE. Some of their other plug-ins like 3d Flag and the Reflector one also get some use in my projects.
Trapcode's Particular - while you can use CC Particle World and other effects that ship with AE to achieve 3d particles, none of the options beat Particular for power and control. Having your comp lights have an effect on the particles is just fantastic (and came in handy on a recent project for the military.)
Knoll Light Factory Pro - while lens flares had a tendency a few years ago to be overused, there are still many occasions when it is tasteful to use them (or a client requests it...arg.) When that happens, it's nice to be able to have a powerful tool to create good-looking lens flares. This helps your lens flare avoid looking cliché and with their recent release of an AE script that makes the lens flares work in 3d, it has only gotten more powerful. (The lens flares can be obscured by any and every 3d object when the light moves behind them in 3d space! AMAZING!)

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.

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