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How To Install After Effects Plugins

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How To Install After Effects Plugins

How To Install After Effects Plugins

If you’re a creative professional who works in TV, film, graphics, or even just online then you’ll probably be familiar with the use of After Effects and the versatility the software offers which can be applied to many areas of creative media. 

The software has been around for almost 30 years now and in that time, third-party plugins have been developed to take your work to the next level and enhance your creative potential. 

You’ll be able to get your plug-ins from a variety of sources, some of which are free if you look hard enough but others could even set you back a few hundred bucks.

If you feel you’ve exhausted all the existing tools of After Effects, then you’ll benefit from some new plug-ins that will reignite your passion for graphics and design and hopefully expand your After Effects skills. 

Sometimes even those most familiar with After Effects can struggle to download and install After Effects plug-ins, so don’t be worried if you feel absolutely clueless in this department.

Keep on reading to find out how to install After Effects plug-ins and how to make sure it integrates with your After Effect software once you’ve installed it. 

Downloading Plug-ins

The first step is locating and downloading the plug-ins that you want for After Effects, some of which are free whereas others you’ll need to pay for.

Do your research into what each plug-in does and make sure that the functioning of it is worth you spending your money. 

Some recommended websites for After Effects plug-ins are:

Or visit After Effects plug-ins to see a list of third-party plug-ins

Select the plug-in that you want and purchase it if necessary, you’ll then be given a download link which you’ll need to click to then begin downloading your plug-in to your computer.

After Effects plug-ins are most commonly downloaded as ZIP files.

Open Your ZIP File Up

Once your ZIP file has been downloaded, locate it onto your computer (your downloads folder or your desktop).

Then double-click the ZIP file and begin extracting and opening the contents of the plug-in ZIP folder.

Find The Folder That Fits The OS/Computer That You Have

Each plug-in ZIP file should have numerous folders that contain files to suit different operating systems.

So if you have a Mac, you’ll want to choose the one that’s named for that one and the same goes for finding a file that is suited for a Windows computer. 

Once you’ve located the specific file for your computer, copy the plug-in file and paste it on your desktop, or you could always drag it from the folder and place it onto your desktop display.  

Open Up Your Search Window On Your Computer

This step will vary depending on whether you’re a Mac user or a Windows user.

If you’re a Windows user, you’ll need to click on the folder icon on your taskbar and for a Mac user, you’ll need to click on the Finder icon (blue and white smiley square icon) that’s on the left side of your dock bar. 

Once you’ve clicked on the correct icon, a new window will pop up which will allow you to search for specific files on your computer.

Find Your After Effects Plug-in Folder

You could manually search through all the files on your computer to locate your After Effects plug-in folder, or if you could use a shortcut to quickly find it. 

The location to find the right folder on Windows computers should be C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe After Effects\Support Files\Plug-ins

On a Mac computer, the location that your After Effects plug-ins folder should be, Applications/Adobe After Effects/Plug-ins.

Unless you’ve played around or altered the location of your files, this is where they should always be able to be found.

Create A New Folder For Your New After Effects Plug-in

Now that you’ve located the After Effects plug-ins file, you can create a new folder for your new plug-in by right-clicking in the folder select New > New Folder, and then name your folder after your new plug-in.

Make sure to name your plug-in correctly or it can make it confusing for you in the future when you have multiple third-party plug-ins.

Go Back To Your Desktop And Copy The New Plug-in File

Click on your new plug-in file on your desktop and right-click and copy it or drag it from the desktop to the new folder you’ve created in your After Effects plug-in folder. 

When you come to use After Effects next, you’ll be able to find the plug-in in the Effects menu on the menu bar at the top of the screen. 

If you’re currently running After Effects whilst you download and install new plug-ins, you’ll need to save your work, close down the app and then restart it each time you download a new plug-in. 

Some third-party plug-ins may have different instructions for installing that specific plug-in and might not follow the usual steps that we’ve described above.

However, most who do not follow the common method will give documentation or further instructions on what you should do to embed the plug-in into After Effects. 

Some plug-ins may even come with an automatic installer with them so you may not have to do any manual installation and it’ll take care of everything for you.

Creative Cloud Plug-ins

To Install plug-ins from Adobe Creative Cloud, go to the Creative Cloud desktop app and open it up.

Then go to the Marketplace tab and select All plug-ins and when you find the one you’d like to install for After Effects click ‘Buy’ or ‘Learn More’ to install it. 

Most if not all Adobe plug-ins will come with on-screen instructions to help you install it and set it up in After Effects so you should have no issues installing it onto your computer. 

Camden Taylor

Author Camden Taylor

Camden is ARTURTH's Chief Editor, Senior Graphic Designer, and artist from the Pacific Northwest.

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