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You might have noticed the Freebies tab in our navigation menu. When we run across any great free plugins or preset we list them there but today Topher brings you a bunch more in this awesome roundup.
25 or so Presets/Project Files to Wet Your AE Whistle
Harry Frank is a master with After Effects and one of the top expressions creators and people to ask when it comes to anything to deal with Trapcode Particular or Form. Harry has created a few presets along the way, that I turn to quite often. First up on the agenda is his Auto Slide Show preset (tutorial here) which is very handy when it comes to create automated fades on pictures or videos, and is great when you are working on long projects with hundreds of assets. He also has a Trapcode Form Flame Pack for download (sample here) for use in creating semi-realistic fire inside of After Effects. Also worth noting are his Old School Presentation project, Trapcode Form DNA preset, and Kaboom project that uses Trapcode Particular.
Everyone loves Andrew Kramer along with Video Copilot, so it's no surprise he has quite a few different presets that made the list today. Possibly one of the most highly anticipated presets to hit the scene in a long time is Sure Target. This is a preset that automates your movement through 3d space, by assigning "targets" for your camera to move to. This is extremely useful when you have a gigantic 3d world, and a ton of different things to focus on. Also a few of the oldies, but goodies... number one: Light Sabers. Every filmmaker in the world loves making light saber movies, and Andrew made it that much easier for us. just drag and drop and roto your way to jedi goodness. The second oldie is the Frame Rate Converter. Back in the days when it was very hard to get that 24p look to your footage, this was your best bet, and still may be, if you only have a camera that shoots in 29.97... this also can convert from NTSC to PAL and back and forth! A few other good ones that Video Copilot has released the last few years are the After Shake preset that simulates camera shake, Day for Night which turns your day footage to nighttime, 3d Falloff which can make layers deeper in 3d space from the camera fade away, and Quick 3d Reflections, which can easily simulate a reflection on a ground plane.
Another one of my favorite sites to frequent, Maltaannon continues to amaze me with what he comes up with. In the last few days, he has released a few much sought after effects such as Tilt Shift, Spot Focus, and ChromAbberation. These are the newest presets since the redesign and relaunch of his site, but there are some oldies too which can't be forgotten. 3d Muzzle Flashes is a must have for any action movie maker, but also just a great tool to have lying around in your head, must you need it. Lastly from Maltaannon, and perhaps my favorite he has ever created, is CE Shape Extruder. It is a Custom Effect that extrudes the outlines of your text to create 3d lettering to use directly within AE with no 3rd party plugins. your can bend, twist, and color the extrusions too. This is great if you can't afford something like Zaxwerks or Boris.
There is one amazing preset from Stu Maschwitz's book called Rebel CC that is an absolute must have if you are going to be doing any kind of color correction. It takes you above and beyond the limits of Curves, Levels and Luminance and gives you massive control over how to recolor and correct all those imperfections you didn't see out on your shoot. Stu has a tutorial to go along with this preset over at Prolost so make sure that you check that out too.
If you are a fan of explosions, and a fan of Trapcode Particular, then you would have loved the contest that John Dickinson hosted back in 2007 for the Explosion Challenge. If you weren't lucky enough to enter or vote on the brilliant pieces that were entered, you can actually download the project file with all 11 entries for your own use. Also JD has some other cool projects like his Sparks download, and a ton of text treatments and backgrounds for use in your videos as well. Make sure that you give a visit to his download page for new stuff added every few weeks or so.
This is a project/preset file aggregator site of sorts, in which all they post is free projects for download, whenever they come available. Whether it be the new Particular 2.0 features, or just some very basic text treatments, they seem to have their eye out, and quick to get them reposted to their site. If you like free stuff this is a place to bookmark because there is something new almost every single day.
Although I wasn't fortunate enough to join this community before it go wiped of the face of the interwebs, Trapcode People was a central hub for those that were very skilled in the plugins. After its demise back in 2008, a lot of people freaked out, because there were so many amazing projects and presets on the site, that no one knew if they would ever be found again. Alas, JMDesign has a post that has a download of a bunch of the popular files, as well as this reply over on Video Copilot. Maybe sometime soon we will have a new community for all of use Trapcode People?
This is a site that has developed some useful presets over the last such as their Cinema Pro 1 & 2 Packs which have presets for basic AE effects as well as Trapcode Particular, a lot of useful every day stuff. Also the newly released Destroy AE is a distortion generator, and they also have Shaker, which is another camera shake preset similar to Andrew Kramer's After Shake. They also have some good information to learn motion design and some downloadable assets such as lower thirds, fonts, and tracking markers.
There are a lot of other places that you can visit throughout the After Effects realm of the internet and find random presets here and there. It would take forever to list every single site that has presets. There are a few that might point you in the right direction though, such as AEFreemart or the Video Copilot forums... you could always just search "preset" and see what comes up, or do the same over at AEPortal... Rich seems to have a lot of goodies over there for all you to wet your AE palate on. Remember don't just use presets and project files to add elements to your scene or for a quick deadline, although they are very useful for that... learn from them, and dissect them to find out how they work. Learn what precomps affect what elements and so on. It will do you well in the longrun