what is your favorite Adobe After Effects and Premiere/Final Cut alternative?

We are currently looking into finding more cost effective yet powerful
replacements for the Adobe products to help our students financially better.

I have not followed the film and compositing market for a long time
thus I am not fully aware of what options we have.

Would you mind sharing your insight and opinion?



At work, we’ve primarily moved to Davinci Resolve.
We have Premiere through the Creative Suite, but Resolve is less “crashy” and has great color correction tools.

They also have a compositor, Fusion, which looks powerful, but haven’t used much. (Familiarity with AE being the primary reason.)

Both have pay and free versions. The primary difference is that the free versions are missing some of the higher level features, like being able to integrate with control boards, or realtime multi-user collaboration, but they aren’t hobbled by any means.

Available on Win/Max/Linux as well.



I really like Lightworks. Cross-platform, capable free version(only restriction being the output format and resolution), has been used to edit a number of high profile films. Really fast and effortless workflow once you learn how to use it. But I’m not doing that much video editing so maybe my opinion doesn’t have much weight…

“Costly effective” nothing beats Blender :wink:

Hitfilm doesn not support OpenEFX, every end result i have seen from Hitfilm looks amateurish and cheap. Stay away, its a hobbyist software.

I too would suggest Fusion and Resolve since you are looking for cheap alternatives, but on the other hand you teaching students, then you might want to use the Nuke Non-commercial versions.
The current VFX market is dominated by Nuke, so if you want to prepare your students, Nuke should be the obvious choice, simply because of the spread of the software.
Fusion is as competent, but less popular.

There is also Flame, but i guess this software is soo esoteric and protected by a 40000$ paywall, that it makes no sense to even think about it.

Considering the whole market situation i would suggest to stick with Premiere because its actually a very competent tool and its used in the industry. Resolve is foremost an color correction tool and a NLE second. Nuke Studio has everything (including an NLE), but it might be overkill and too complex.

Then combine it with Nuke X and/or Fusion. Changing from Nuke to Fusion or vice versa is much easier than from AfterFX to an node-based compositor.

For clarification:
Nuke and Nuke X are one shot compositors, Nuke Studio has an NLE, plus the abilities of both Nuke and NukeX (which makes it an editorial tool with multi-shot compositing abilities.)

PS: There is also an obscure European NLE/compositing suite called Mistika which was equally protected and expensive as Flame, but there is an education version available now (free).
I personally love this software, its awesomely powerful, but the official forum is like dead, and nobody on the net talks about it, even if this Software is an Industry veteran (20+ years old i guess)

I disagree.
Resolve and Fusion cost you nothing and you are free to use it commercially. The limitations in comparison to the Professional version are negligible.

For Non-commercial works, Nuke is also free and only slightly limited.

All of them beat Blender in terms of functionality.
Time is money. Doing it with Blender means more effort, more time. You loose time you could use creating more and better stuff.

Your calculation in terms of efficiency is wrong.

I’d also go with Davinci Resolve and Fusion as Premiere/Afx alternatives. Fusion works really well with 3d assets (install Blender). Output up to 4K ought to suffice for students, and as a school you might even be able to broker a deal to run the full versions. Although the free versions are already more than enough, if you ask me. No watermarks (students dislike this).

Illustrator and Photoshop could be replaced with Affinity Designer/Photo, and/or Gravit Designer, PhotoLine, Krita, even Gimp/Inkscape. For 32bit per channel support I’d say a combination of PhotoLine and Krita would work best. 3d painting: perhaps Blender, preferably Substance Painter.

Animate CC: OpenToonz, no question about that. Far more powerful than Animate CC. And also includes a nodal compositor, so the students will familiarize themselves with that workflow across the various applications.

Storyboarder for story boarding.

Adobe XD (Prototyping tool): Gravit Designer.

Dreamweaver: no-one uses that anymore anyway. Atom, Netbeans, SublimeText, etc.

InDesign is the tough one. I know of no real (inexpensive) alternative.

All in all, most are freely accessible to students, excepting Affinity, PhotoLine, and Substance Painter.

I don’t see the point of Lightworks: the free version is severely limiting the student to low-res 720 HD work. More problematic is that it only outputs to one mp4 web format. Can’t even define custom project locations - which is TERRIBLE for a school environment. Useless. And while being an excellent NLE, too expensive for the student ($25 per month), and Davinci Resolve is an three-in-one finishing solution: great NLE, great Fairlight sound/music mixing (no need for external sound editing tools), and the best colour grading.

Besides, you’d be getting into another ‘rent-your-software’ situation with Lightworks. Just go with Davinci Resolve at this point.

Hey thanks, I wasn’t aware of that tool.

+1 for Resolve and Fusion.

Natron is also really good, especially with some OFX backup (e.g RSMB, DOF)

I would go Resolve and Natron. Fusion is used by some vfx houses, but not as widely as Nuke. Natron is essentially a free clone of Nuke so if the students learn it, they’ll be able to get a job practically anywhere. That said, Nuke also has a non-commercial version available that might work for your needs (you’d have to look at the license).

Shake. No doubt.

Davinci Resolve and Fusion. I’ve seen a lot of editors and compers start to make the move to those two from Adobe products. BMD recently reduced the price of both to $299 which is a steal for the pro version. Completely free for the non-pro version. It’s modern, it’s fast, fairly cheap and it’s not made by Adobe. Nuff said.

Bad Apple. Bad, BAD Apple. Such a shame it was.

Yes, why did they have to do it :frowning:

I wander was it something to do with going from 32bit to 64bit computing… propaply no,
But if it wont run with current and future OS, something has had to change in kernel

Resolve, although editing in Premiere is still a better experience - Resolve performance with h264 files is terrible and you need to convert everything to NLE-friendly codec, it takes a lot of disk space.

Fusion, because I’ve always been a Fusion user. I’m pretty happy that it got bought by BMD and didn’t just disappear. I find it more user friendly than Nuke, but it is not as powerful for certain tasks. For non-commercial projects I’d consider using Nuke, this is important knowledge to have as it’s the industry standard.

Sure. It’s not my field anyway. I was just putting here the name of Blender since it has compositing and editing functionalities and nobody wrote before.

lsscpp, i sometimes react very grumpy if i think somebody is too enthusiastic with Blender.
Its kind of strange, i defend Blender to the blood if somebody attacks it unfairly but i also beat down Blender-fanboys with gusto.
I am that kind of guy. But its not only with Blender that i react like this. (not saying you are a fanboy, but you triggered me :o)

IN defense of Fusion (an attack on Nuke).

Nuke is the industry standard, but IMHO the Foundry didn’t reach this place purely by making the better product, but also by clever marketing and using the weakness of the competition (Fusion).

I am not a compositor myself, so take it with a grain of salt, but I’ve listened to a lot of people who are and the general census is that both Nuke and Fusion are very capable of doing triple A Blockbuster movies. Its just that Nuke is much more spread in the industry and more popular. But i think the popularity is based mainly on Marketing and not necessarily on ability.
The dissatisfaction of Nuke users is also noticeable, especially in terms of UI, stability and speed.

What i found interesting is that a lot of 3d artists prefer to use Fusion because of Fusions native 3d abilities plus particles and stuff like this.
So if you look at the programs from a pure compositor perspective you still might to favor Nuke, but if you are mainly a 3d artist, Fusion might be more comfortable.

Then there is politics. The Foundry has a bad reputation,
a) for being very very aggressive with their lawyers using a shotgun approach to piracy (hurting their own customers)
b) for using their market monopoly to milk their customers.
c) buying out companies, then let the product rot.

Ironically the company with “Black Magic” in the name is actually morally superior.

with the release of Resolve 14 the play back performance has been great

Hey Romanji you get wrong, Hitfilm support various from OpenFX as mocha pro, shappire, red giant, etc… and it works pretty well, I think Hitfilm is better than AE CC cause it has true 2D/3D composition and integrate very well for 3D models. So like Blender there are 3 ways : amateurish, semi-pro and pro and they show the powerful for Hitfilm as well than AE CC.

Voilà, hope that help you.

I have heard that 32bit OpenEXR are not available in Hitfilm. That is a big NOPE for me. Calling it amateurish might have been a little harsh, but Pro it is not.