Plug-ins are small software modules—with filename extensions such as .aex, .pbk, .pbg, and .8bi—that add functionality to an application. Effects in After Effects are implemented as plug-ins, as are some features for importing and working with certain file formats. The Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in, for example, provides After Effects with its ability to work with Camera Raw files.
You can obtain plug-ins for After Effects and other Adobeproducts from Adobe or other vendors. For specific instructionsfor installing a plug-in, see its documentation.
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When After Effects starts, it loads plug-ins from several folder,including the Plug-ins folder. If a plug-in doesn’t come with aninstaller or with specific instructions for its installation, thenyou can usually install the plug-in by placing it in the Plug-insfolder.
By default, the Plug-ins folder is in the following location:
(Windows) Program FilesAdobeAdobe After Effects <version>SupportFiles
(Mac OS) Applications/Adobe After Effects <version>
Several plug-ins come with After Effects and are automaticallyinstalled in the Plug-ins folder.
When loading plug-ins, After Effects ignoresthe contents of folders with names that begin and end in parentheses;for example, the contents of the folder (archived_effects) are notloaded.
After Effects also loads plug-ins from a MediaCore folder, which is intended to hold plug-ins shared between After Effects and Premiere Pro. Some third-party plug-in installers install their plug-ins in this folder. In general, unless specifically instructed to do so, don’t install plug-ins in the MediaCore folder. If you install a plug-in in this folder that is not supported by one or more of the applications that read from this folder, you may encounter errors or other problems.
(Mac OS) Some third-party plug-in installers incorrectly installtheir plug-ins into the Mac OS X Package for After Effects. To revealthese plug-ins, Control-click the After Effects application iconin the Finder and choose Show Package Contents. You can then movethe plug-ins into the After Effects Plug-ins folder.
When exchanging After Effects projects between computer systems, make sure that the plug-ins that the project depends on are installed on both systems. Similarly, if you're rendering a composition with multiple computers on a network, make sure that all plug-ins used in the composition are installed on all rendering computers.
On Mac OS, press Command+Option+Shift+Help togenerate a list of all plug-ins loaded into After Effects (includingversion numbers). For information on using this command on Windowsor with a Macintosh keyboard that doesn't have a Help button, seeTodd Kopriva’s blog on the Adobe website.
After Effects comes with several third-party plug-ins.
Keylight installs its documentation in the plug-in’s subfolder inthe Plug-ins folder. For more information, see Keyingeffects, including Keylight.
Color Finesse installs its documentation in the plug-in’s subfolder in the Plug-ins folder. For more information, see Resources for Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse.
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Documentation for ProEXR plug-ins is available in a PDF document on the fnord website. For more information, see About 3D Channel effects, including ProEXR effects.
CycoreFX HD is included in the installation of After Effects CC. There is 16-bpc support in all
For more information, see Resources for Cycore FX (CC) effects.
Documentation for the mocha shape for After Effects (mocha shape AE) plug-in is available on the Imagineer website.
Unlike the similarly named mocha shape for After Effects (mochashape AE), Imagineer mocha-AE is not a plug-in; it is a separate,standalone planar tracker application. For more information, see Resourcesfor mocha for After Effects (mocha-AE).
Many plug-ins for After Effects are written in the C/C++ programming language using the After Effects SDK. Effect plug-ins written with C/C++ have the filename extension .aex. For information on developing plug-ins for After Effects with the C/C++ SDK, go to the After Effects Developer Center section of the Adobe website.
Kas Thomas provides a tutorial on the MacTech website that shows step by step how to write an After Effects plug-in.
To ask questions about writing plug-ins with the C/C++ SDK for After Effects, go to the After Effects SDK user-to-user forum.
For information on plug-ins available for After Effects, go to the After Effects plug-in page on the Adobe website and the Toolfarm website.
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To find plug-ins, scripts, projects, and other useful items, go to the Adobe Add-ons page.
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For other sources of plug-ins, see After Effects community resources on the Adobe website.