Motion Graphics and Visual Effects

Hi, I’m rather new to Blender, so please excuse my question if it seems uninformed.

I recently watched a video tutorial on motion graphics and visual effects using Adobe After Effects. I’d like to perform video editing effects like those that can be accomplished with After Effects, but do not know if Blender can do that without me having to buy After Effects (which is about $800).

Can Blender v2.5 perform motion graphics and visual effects similar to those that can be achieved using products like Adobe After Effects?

Thanks you for your assistance,

No way, not the basics, or comparible to the multitude of plugins available for AE, nor the speed with the Mercury Engine. If you have the cash go for AE. Production Studio CS5 is great value. Money well spent. :slight_smile:

It depends on what you’re trying to do. There are certain things that AE can do that you can’t do at the moment in Blender, like motion tracking. (Well, 2D tracking, even After Effects doesn’t do 3D tracking). And personally I find it hard to do video editing in Blender. I also prefer AE’s layer based compositing to Blender’s node compositing. Just doing a simple chroma key in Blender is probably 10x more complicated than in After Effects with the Keylight plugin. But for general 3D motion graphics, Blender works great. It also has a great particle system, rigging and constraints, and physics simulations.

Blender is great for time wasting, AE is great for producing stuff quickly. Although I can do really nice picture moves in 3 space in Blender which are painfull in 2.5D AE.

Hi Yellow, RooFoo and 3PointEdit, thank you all for your great advice…it looks like I’m going to have to ask Santa for AE-CS5. I do have one question…there is an open source application much like Photoshop called GIMP. Blender is somewhat the equivalent to Maya and Cinema 4D. Is there an open source version of After Effects that I can begin to learn with, or is that not yet an open source product?

Thank you all again for your help,


OK, I think its beginning to become more clear to me…AE and Blender are both Compositors, they simply do it in two different ways. One is “Layer” based compositor and the other is a “Nodes” based compositor. Albeit, AE seems to be a more powerful application and a bit more intuitive in you’re familiar with the Photoshop work-flow.

I guess the decision comes down to what RooFoo stated, “it depends on what you’re trying to do.”

If I can spend the cash at the end of the year, I’ll really consider getting AE. If I’m a little cash strapped, I’ll push forward with Blender until my skills improve and I outgrow Blender’s capabilities. – I do however tend to like the Layer based approach much better. I also think that having the Photoshop tool set available also helps tremendously, because its a remarkably powerful set of tools, that I don’t think Blender has at this time.

Thank you all for your help and for helping me connect the dots.


how did you do that? so funny …

@ Fulano

Well I would simply break it down this way:

Blender is for making real animated 3D content.
Blenders compositor is for touching up the rendered material, adding other still/motion pictures
and rendering that into one movie again.

Blenders compositor can only animate node values but cannot animate the footage material itself.
You can only animate objects and render them into a movie but that movie cannot be animated.

After Effect on the other hand has no content creation ability at all.
You can feed it with still or motion pictures apply filters animate the footage
and render that out into a movie - but you can see what you are animating in realtime if you PC
is speedy enough or pre render a proxy resolution.

Because you can animate the footage you can easily also animate alpha masks and other
graphical objects.

After effects has access to a vast amount of plug-ins for various tasks Blender does not.

As you see they both have an overlap area but are different on their own and serve different needs.

So it really depends on what you want.

If you want to build 3D objects and compose over a film Blender is great for that.
If you want to render 3d animations and have full control over color correction, pass/ layer composition Blender is also great for that.

If you want more 2D motion graphics you would / should go with After Effects.

If you want to color correct films or other adjustments you can do that in both but Blender would be free.

I would see in both Apps just tools and depending on the job select which is more appropriate and skilled at it.

I find them in a combo to be excellent.
Blender provides the good control over 3d content creation
AE provides the good control over 2d actor animation

Simple as that.

one sing which might not be clear here

AE plug-ins work on an actor basis

Blender node filters work on a frame by frame basis

this mean lets say you have your nodes all set to compose and color correct your final movie.
if you then will go back and change the animation Blender renders a frame, applies the compositor node setting and writes the finished image onto the disk as an image or frame.

This is quite a great concept because for film touch ups.

Um, you can have AE correction layers. They correct everything below.

Hi Cekuhnen, thank you for the way you explained that…it is a very good explanation of what one App can do vs. the other. I do like AE, but I think I need to focus first on becoming a better Blender artist (no pun intended). I need to learn how to control Blender and learn everything I can do with it before I can make an educated (and expensive) decision on whether to get AE or not. I’ll drop a hint to my wife and see if it ends up under the Christmas tree this year, but if it doesn’t I’ll muddle through with Blender until I really can’t do without it.

That said, AE is a nice application and I agree that a Blender /AE combo in your 3D tool box could be a real plus.

Thanks again for the time you spent on listing it all out for me. I appreciate the effort.


Hi Namekuseijin, very cool think with Google…how did you do that?

Got it…you got to http://www.IMGTFY"] (Let me Google that for you) and type in your search, then you get something like:

Very cool…!!!


my fault that slipped my mind - and true yes. I was more caught up in the differences between B and AE.


there were few clones one last very promising just isnt that active anymore and not worth looking into
it - it was close to be a combustion clone.

After Effect on the other hand has no content creation ability at all.

@cekhuen: That’s funny professor, I create content all the time in After Effects. Do you actually use the program? Typography, animated masking, procedural texture animation to drive other effects, motion blur (that works, unlike Blender’s), gradients, puppet tool, etc…

Of course you can create content in After Effects, that is what it is used for.

so, it’s no mere compositor, more like Inskcape + Gimp + Cinelerra…


you know what you wrote? You also read what I wrote?

Think about it before you use insulting arguments.

I think both AE and B work only on a layer or flat plane of art. But AE can generate content (particles text etc) which Blender’s Compositor cannot. Of course you can easily generate that stuff elsewhere in Blender.

Well you can also create particles as well as true 3D text in Blender directly but you need to render this out into a movie first
before using the compositor on it.

In Blender you animate mainly 3d objects in AE you animate 2D actors.

BTW on a serious level based on what Fulano asked you should think about how you define the
term content and how that fits into this context.

I say that because you give him the wrong idea. I would not call AE an application that can create content only
because it has a particle system, 2d text.

I would say everybody I know considers those effects, besides text, but consider the imported footage as the
content they apply those effects to.

Because other wise it would be logical to say that FCP can produce content on its own as well - which is not the case.

Makes no sense…? The quote is from your own post.