After Effects by Adobe is not designed for editing videos, but it handles one of the core aspects of video editing, which is – VFX and graphics.
From adding fog to making it snow, you can recreate almost any situation using After Effects. And while adding texts, make sure to use the numerous transitions that help your plain texts look more vivid.
You can add or remove an object from any footage in a few clicks. That’s super-handy for any editor who spends several minutes and sometimes an hour removing a figure frame by frame.
Now, that being said, we cannot ignore the blemishes After Effects has in its sheet.
The tool is not capable of actually altering the video or add sound, clips, or images to it.
That means even if you include the best of the effects in your videos, you’ll still have to refer to a proper video editing software to give the finishing touch to your video.
To explain things in more detail, I’ve pointed out the pros and cons of the tool in the following section.
After Effects Pros
#1. The software might not be very friendly to novice users, but professional video makers who have previous experience with timeline editors would love working on After Effects.
You can drag any effect or transition and drop it on the timeline to apply it on your video. And then use the mixer (generally on the right side) to regulate the tone, depth, and intensity of that effect or graphic.
Again, for that, you need at least some sort of basic knowledge about the tools and how they work.
That’s why I recommend newbie users to go through the extensive tutorials of Adobe to learn the ins & outs of this tool. Once you learn the ropes, you would be more comfortable working on After Effects.
#2. The VFX and graphics are, of course, the biggest plus for this software.
Within a second, you can make it rain or create a snowfall effect, make the characters fly in the sky or let your audience experience a massive explosion. You can do almost anything on this program as long as your imagination goes. Sky is the limit here.
And what makes After Effects more exciting is its animation tools that enable you to animate any character, title, object, text, or anything.
Either you choose the in-house tools to do that or use the presets to get things off your plate quickly.
#3. Though it’s not possible to edit 3D or VR videos in a full-fledged way After Effects is a perfect place to turn your 2D sketches into 3D characters and add 3D texts to your project.
The in-house depth effects such as depth matte and 3D fog are also handy to stimulate your 3D characters and help them look more realistic.
Similarly, you can convert your plain video footage into a 360° clip and place your viewers at the center of the action.
#4. Being a part of the Creative Cloud group pays big dividends for After Effects.
Not only you get cloud storage by Adobe – 2GB for the free account and 100GB for the paid – but it also integrates with other members of the group seamlessly. And that makes moving files from one software to another a breeze.
For example, once you’ve added the VFX effects to your videos, you can open Premiere Pro and import the file directly from After Effects.
Similarly, whenever you need to add an image to your video, you can get that directly from Lightroom CC without even opening that program.
#5. After Effects has some modest sharing options available under the hood. And with a few clicks, you can post your videos on YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo directly from the software.
#6. After Effects can be installed on both – Windows and Mac computers. And according to the license policy of Adobe, you’re free to use your license on two computers at a time.
However, it forbids you to run the software on both machines simultaneously.
After Effects Cons
#1. There are two major snags with the software. And the first one is obviously the inability to alter or edit videos.
The sole purpose of designing After Effects is to add VFX and graphics or work on 3D and animated characters.
Except for that, you can’t even perform the basic editing functions like cutting, trimming, cropping, layering, etc.
#2. The second flaw is the absence of a mobile app. While most of the Adobe products are available for small screen users, After Effects offers neither Android, not an iOS app.
After Effects pricing plans and payment methods
As per the Creative Cloud pricing table, After Effects is available under their “Single App” and “All App” plan.
I recommend going for the “Single App” plan that costs $20.99/month and includes 100GB of cloud storage – more than enough space for an average user.
On the other hand, “All App” plan contains all the 20+ software developed by Adobe and 100GB of cloud storage.
Both the membership plans are backed by Adobe’s 14-day money back guarantee and a one-week free trial.
And finally, you can use your credit card or PayPal account to pay for the membership fee.
Do I recommend After Effects?
Yes and no.
Yes, because After Effects is a powerhouse of VFX and graphics. And if you wish to include Hollywood level effects in your videos, then investing in this program is one of the best decisions you could make.
However, if you’re tight on budget and not ready to invest in a separate tool, then it’s better to skip After Effects and opt for premium editing options like VideoStudio Pro, Cyberlink PowerDirector, etc.