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5 Free After Effects Tools

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Save some money with these free After Effects tools.

As a Motion Designer it can be easy to be in a constant state of spending and saving money for plugins and tools. So today instead of spending money we’re going to take a look at a few of our favorite free tools in After Effects.
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Anybody been feeling like this lately?..

Free After Effects Tools Tutorial

We put together a tutorial featuring all of the free After Effects tools on this list. If you need a jumpstart in how to use them the video below is the place to start.
You can also download the free project file by clicking the download link below.
Collection

Download the project files to follow along with the tutorial above.

Download Project File


Note: All of these tools are free, but if you want to send a little money to the developers it would be greatly appreciated.

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Buttcapper wins the award for silliest name on this list, but (pun intended) this free After Effects tool is super handy for shape work. In a nutshell, Buttcapper (let’s be adults here…) allows you to change the end caps of your shape layers with a set of buttons. This will save you from adjusting your butts in the dropdown menu. Buttcapper can also be paired with the FT Toolbar for even faster butt-cap access.
If you read that paragraph without smiling you are way more mature than me...
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That's a lot of scripts...
The Redefinery Script Bundle is a huge pack of free scripts in After Effects. The 51 piece collection isn’t easily defined because there are simply so many different uses for the scripts. Here’s a few of our favs:
Composition Setter
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Normally if you want to change the duration of a composition you have to adjust all of the layers inside after you adjust the duration and if you have pre-comps you have to go in and adjust each comp by hand. Composition Setter allows you to change the duration of a composition and adjust all of the layers and compositions inside to match the new duration. Needless to say this is much more convenient than adjusting all of the layers by hand.
Masks to Shapes
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Masks to shapes does exactly what the name implies. If you want to convert a masks into a shape just use this script and you’ll create a new shape.
Notation
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Notation is a simple little script that allows you to write notes inside your composition. These notes can then be shared and saved with other collaborators on your project. It’s like a simple version of Frame.IO or Vimeo right inside of After Effects.
There are dozens of other awesome effects over on the Redefinery website. Go check ‘em out and let us know if you find any helpful uses for them.

If you’re reading this blog post then chances are you’re already a subscriber to the Creative Cloud. However, even though most Motion Designers subscribe to the Creative Cloud, I’m always blown away at the number of people that don’t use Creative Cloud Libraries on their Motion Design projects.
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Creative Cloud Libraries allow you to sync and share assets across all of your Creative Cloud applications. The cool part is if you’re a subscriber to the Creative Cloud than you already get 100GB of space for free. It's like Dropbox for Adobe applications. Sync-able assets include:
  • Color Palettes
  • Logos
  • Image Assets
  • Music
  • Text Styles
  • Sound Effects
  • Project Files
Needless to say, sharing assets on the cloud is super powerful and a real time-saver. This video created by Adobe gives you the basics of how to use Creative Cloud Libraries on your projects.

4. DUIK

DUIK is one of the best After Effects tools ever made. The tool is essentially an all-purpose Character Rigging panel in After Effects. By using DUIK you can get your entire character ready for animating in After Effects. Without it the process of rigging would be super painful, with DUIK it’s only kinda painful.
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Autorigging
DUIK has a too many features to cover them all here, but the most powerful tool is the autorig feature that automatically rigs up your character in After Effects. All you have to do is define your body parts and DUIK does the rest.
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DUIK is actually the main tool used in Rigging Academy and Character Animation Bootcamp here on School of Motion. If you’re serious about character work they are the best place to start.

FX Console is an incredible free tool developed by Andrew Kramer and gang at Video Copilot. The tool is essentially a keyboard activated search engine for effects in After Effects. Instead of using the normal effects browser you can just use FX Console to apply an effect without ever touching the mouse.
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Using FX Console you can map your favorite effects to keyboard numbers so you don’t even have to type in their name. It’s pretty dope.
Image Browser
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FX Console even takes it one step further by including an image browser so you can save and compare screenshots. These images can be saved to the clipboard and copied into any other application. I don’t know how they created this tool, but I guess they have a few wizards at Video Copilot HQ.
That’s all of the free tools on this list. Now stop reading this article and go out and install them on your machine.
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