After Effects is a video compositing package that’s able to do so much out of the box. But there are ways to push and improve it with additional plugins and presets.

We’re always looking for ways to speed up our workflow and enhance our capabilities within After Effects. So when a new plugin or preset becomes available that can improve our workflow, we’re always keen to try it out.

We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite plugins and presets below that’s enabled us to do so much more.


This is a very clever and comprehensive animation rig. Whenever we have to animate characters we build it to incorporate this rig. It’s mostly an IK (Inverse Kinemetic) rig that has saved us so much time and adds those little details that FK (forward kinemetics) animation doesn’t do. (Click here for a quick explanation on IK/FK)

There’s lots of information and tutorials on the website to help you get started, and best of all the plugin is free and updated often!

Can’t recommend this plugin enough.


This is another rigging tool but with a difference. It’s built inside After Effects using Shape Layers.

Using the plugin revolves around building Hoses that you can bend, stretch and customise to your hearts content (It’s a shape layer with clever controls). From this you can connect it to other bits and pieces that can be used for more than just character animation.

The video below gives you a taste of what other animators have achieved with it.

This plugin is priced at $45

Mr Horse Animation Composer

This is a great time saving application for adding preset animations to your text and compositions. The video below explains and shows it all in action. All the presets are ace, especially the ones for text layers.

It’s a Free download with 100+ presets to get you started. If that’s not enough then you can pay to download some more.

Jammy Custard Motion Elements Pack

Shameless plug. This pack is designed as a resource for videographers, editors and animators to use in their productions.

The pack contains 26 elements and transitions to save time add that extra level of detail in productions. Great for motion graphics, titles and transitions.


Othercubed has a mixture of premium and free presets. The free Eyes Rig is my particular favourite with it’s intuitive controls to animate eyes using shape layers.

More interestingly is the Vigoro preset to create cool shapes to go mental with ($49.99).

Notable Mentions


You can’t do a post about After Effects plugins and Presets without mentioning these:

Video Copilot – a great resource of tutorials and plugins (You may recognise the flares used in the new Star Trek movies)

Aescripts – A marketplace of resources to push after effects to new realms

Trapcode – If you’re into your VFX then you need to check out these particle plugins (warning these are not cheap).

These are a list of the presets and plugins we use and hope you benefit from.

Have you found any interesting additions to After Effects that you use in your workflow? If so, leave a comment and let us know.

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