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Best AE plug ins for beginner

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Beau BrothertonBest AE plug ins for beginner
by on Jan 10, 2010 at 10:19:08 pm


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. The best thing that I am good at is story 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.

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? 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.

Thanks to all!! :)

-Beau Brotherton-

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Joseph W. BourkeRe: Best AE plug ins for beginner
by on Jan 13, 2010 at 2:32:54 pm

Hi Beau -

My feeling toward pre-made libraries such as Digital Juice and others is that while they look great (some of them, anyway), they do absolutely nothing toware advancing your craft. There are some projects, usually the lower budget ones, where you really can't put in the time to create original graphics, and this is where they might come into play. If you have no qualms about using graphics created by someone else, go ahead and spend the money - by the way, DJ has regular sales where they practically give them away.

As far as plugins go, you can't go wrong with any of the Trapcode plugins (Shine, 3D Stroke, Particular, Form, and Starglow are my favorites - it depends on the type of work you're doing whether they're of any use to you). The Sapphire set by Genarts, although pricey, contains just about everything you would ever use in one package - check it out. It also works within a number of NLEs as well as AE. The Tinderbox plugins by The Foundry are truly amazing, and have controls beyond what many of the AE plugins offer (learning curve, though). There are also a large number of free plugins - checkout Toolfarm's list. Knoll Lens Flare is a standard useful plugin, but check out what Video Copilot is working on before you pull the trigger on that one. BorisFX has quite a library, although having worked with the Boris plugins in early versions of Edit and AVID NLEs, I found the interface clunky and performance unpredictable (they may have fixed the problems - this was 7 or 8 years ago). Both Digieffects and Digital Anarchy make great plugins as well.

You have to decide based on the type of projects you're doing, your budget, and whether you want to spend your time learning your craft, or being productive right away then learning under fire. Most of the plugins I've listed above can be done with just AE - there are many tutorials out there (VideoCopilot is a great source) that will teach you how to do the plugin effects from scratch. Good luck!

Joe Bourke
Creative Director / Multimedia Specialist
B&S Exhibits and Multimedia

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Matthew MullenRe: Best AE plug ins for beginner
by on Jan 14, 2010 at 8:19:02 pm


most companies offer free trials on their plug-ins. You may want to give a few a shot.

BCC trial versions can be found here -

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