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Download After Effects: how to get Adobe's app for free, or as part of Creative Cloud

Download After Effects: Smiling woman using laptop and holding cup
(Image credit: Vlada Karpovich from Pexels)

Want to download After Effects? Then you're in esteemed company. This versatile and multi-functional software is used throughout the media and creative industries, for everything from simple explainer animations and TV credits sequences to full-blown special effects in Hollywood movies.

For that reason, After Effects is popular among graphic designers, motion designers, animators, 2D and 3D artists, VFX artists, video editors, and people working in VR, to name but a few. In 2019, it even won an Academy Award for scientific and technical achievement. So it's well worth investigating, especially as there's a way of downloading it and trying it out for free.

What is Adobe After Effects?

First created in 1993, After Effects is VFX, motion graphics, and compositing software that's developed by Adobe and available either as a single app or as part of the Creative Cloud. 

It's commonly used in the post-production process of film making, video games and television production for tasks including keying, tracking, compositing, and animation, as well as creating visual effects. 

It also functions as a basic non-linear editor, audio editor, and media transcoder. Plus there are numerous third-party plugins that can be used to extend its functionality even further. 

The software is being constantly updated, and new features in the latest version include easy removal of objects from video clips, automatic selection and tracking of objects while rotoscoping, and the ability to add multiple cameras to a scene and orbit, pan and dolly based on various viewpoints.

Download a free trial of After Effects today Get the latest release of After Effects, Adobe's industry-leading visual effects, motion graphics and compositing software, for free with a seven-day trial. You need to supply payment details, but there’s no obligation to buy as long as you cancel your subscription within seven days. Alternatively, you can convert to a paid subscription by doing nothing.View Deal

Can I download After Effects for free?

Yes, you can download Adobe After Effects for free, by taking out a seven-day free trial. Simply go to this page, click on the blue button that reads 'Try from free', and follow the steps. 

You first need an Adobe ID, if you don't already have one. Don't worry, this is totally free and you just have to supply your email address or social media details. You then have the choice of taking out a free trial of After Effects alone, or the whole Creative Cloud suite of apps. If you want to see how well After Effects interacts with other video creation software such as Premiere Rush and Premiere Pro, as well as being able to import from Photoshop and Illustrator, you'll want the latter option.

Next, you have to enter your credit card details, but don’t stress. As long as you cancel your subscription before the trial period ends, you won’t get charged. Alternatively, if you decide to keep subscribing, you don't have to do anything at all, and payments will be taken automatically.

Please note that a free trial is the only way to download After Effects for free. Dodgy sites may claim otherwise, but ignore them as they'll just be trying to scam you and steal your information, or worse.

How much does it cost to download After Effects?

You can pay to download After Effects in two ways. Firstly, you can take out a single-app subscription which costs $20.99 / £19.97 / AU$29.99 per month, as long as you commit to a year. This is the cheapest option, but it means you will not be able to use After Effects in conjunction with other Adobe apps. 

The alternative is to take out an All-Apps subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud. This is more expensive, but you will be able to download all of the 20+ Creative Cloud apps, including Premiere Pro, Premiere Rush, After Effects, Audition, Animate, Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, and use them interoperably where appropriate. 

An All Apps subscription currently costs US$52.99 / £49.94 / AU$76.99 per month, as long as you commit to a year. 

Global: Download After Effects from $20.99 /month UK: Download After Effects from £19.97 /month Australia: Download After Effects from AU$29.99 /month Available for Windows and Mac, After Effects is Adobe’s industry-leading software for visual effects, motion graphics and compositing. Click the link above or the View Deal button. View Deal

Download After Effects as part of an all-Apps Creative Cloud subscription: $52.99 per month (US) / £49.94 per month (UK) / AU$76.99 per month (Aus)
Download After Effects along with the entire Creative Suite, by signing up for Adobe's All Apps subscription. This will also get you access to the full range of Creative Cloud apps, including Premiere Pro, Premiere Rush, Auditon and Animate.View Deal

How students and teachers can download After Effects at a discount

If you’re a student, teacher or anyone working in education, then great news: you can get a big discount on an All Apps Creative Cloud plan. This means you can get After Effects along with entire Creative Cloud suite, plus 100GB cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts, and Adobe Spark, for just $19.99 / £16.24 / AU$21.99 per month for the first year, and then $29.99 / £24.96 / AU$43.99 the following year. 

Note that there’s no educational discount on After Effects itself. But as your all-Apps subscription will be cheaper than the cost of a single app, you're still getting a huge amount for your money.

Educational discount: Get After Effects as part of an all-Apps Adobe Creative Cloud subscription (first year only):  $19.99 per month (US)£16.24 per month (UK) /  AU$21.99 per month (Aus) Students, teachers and education workers can get an All Apps subscription to the Creative Cloud at a bargain price. As well as After Effects, this will also get you access to the full range of apps, including Premiere Pro, Premiere Rush, Audition and Animate. In the second year, you can continue to access Creative Cloud for $29.99 / £24.96 / AU$43.99 if you choose.View Deal

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Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specializing in art, photography, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella.