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10 Free After Effects Assets

Johnathan Paul

Don’t shell out a ton of money on templates, plugins, presets, and overlays. Check out these free After Effects assets instead!

Is anything truly free anymore? You bet. And to prove the point, we’ve rounded up an awesome list of free After Effects assets! These assets cover a wide range of solutions from lighting, tracking, overlays, and lightsabers. Yes, lightsabers.

So, let’s check out how these free After Effects assets can help you with your next project, whether it be an independent film or motion graphic job.

After Effects Templates


The gang over at RocketStock has an ever-growing Free Stuff section that’s loaded with free After Effects templates. Currently, you can trick out your projects with the glitchy Digital Distortion template, the high-octane Dynamic Car Gauges template, and the trendy 2D Circle Burst template. They add new freebies every month, so be sure to keep an eye on the RocketStock blog.


After Effects Presets

Video Copilot

After Effects rock star Andrew Kramer  offers a wide range of free presets that can be found on his Video Copilot website. The tutorial below goes over the first preset, Film Fade Transition. You can find more tutorials for free presets on Video Copilot’s YouTube channel.


Real Camera Shake Pro is a preset developed by VFX Bro that allows you to add realistic camera shake to your tripod footage. If you’re a one man band and doing everything yourself, adding this small effect to your footage could help quite a bit. You can download the free preset here.


The Ouroboros preset allows for users to create a new shape layer that has a stroke and effects attached to it. You can then parent this new shape layer to another shape and transfer the effect properties. Using this preset gives your shape great flexibility and range of motion. You can download this preset from Sander van Dijk’s website. Here is a video overview of the preset from Sander van Dijk’s Vimeo page.

After Effects Plugins

Ugly Box

Digital Anarchy, makers of the Beauty Box After Effects plugin, have devised a new “beauty” tool for AE users. Ugly Box is a plugin that analyzes the skin tones of characters within the image and makes that skin, well, ugly. While it adjusts the skin tones, it leaves the rest of the image intact. As Digital Anarchy states, Ugly Box is a perfect tool for making “someone look older, evil, or just kind of ugly.” You can download Ugly Box from Digital Anarchy’s registration page. For a look into the plugin, check out this tutorial from the the Digital Anarchy Vimeo page.


Created by 3DCG, Normality is an extremely powerful plugin that gives motion graphic artists the ability to light 3D objects and compositions within After Effects. Now, Normality is no longer supported by 3DCG, and does not work with Creative Cloud. However, if you have CC, you have access to download and install CS6, which Normality works perfectly with. You can download the plugin here under 3DCG’s Legacy Downloads page. To see Normality in action, check out this clip from Video Copilot where Andrew Kramer uses the plugin in his Scene Re-Lighting tutorial.

After Effects Overlays

Gorilla Grain

Overlay assets are extremely helpful, especially when trying to achieve a specialized type of look. We’ll start with Gorilla Grain, which offers a great line of overlay assets in the form of film grain and film burn. Head over the their website and scroll down to the bottom of this page to gain access to a free set 35MM film grain. You will need to enter your email in order to get the free overlays. Watch Gorilla Grain in action on their YouTube channel.

Projector Films

Need to add some light leaks? Then head over to Projector Films. There are 25 different types of light leak overlays and film burns. These are free to use for personal projects, but if you wish to use them for commercial projects, Projector Films requests that you donate. You can download each of the 25 overlays from their website. Here is a sample of the first pack from creator Tim Clague’s YouTube page.

Creative Dojo

Need even more light leak overlays? Then Creative Dojo has you covered. Head over to their website to download a pack of 15, full 1080p HD light leaks. You can use these light leaks for personal or commercial projects with attribution needed. Here is a video where creator VinhSon Nguyen uses the light leaks in conjunction with Plexus 3D particle system plugin for After Effects which can be bought at aescripts.

Vegasaur Particulas

Because you can’t have enough overlay assets, we thought we would also highlight these from Vegasaur. Particulas is a collection of organic dust effects that can be overlaid into your compositions. You can download this particles for free here. Check out the particles in action on Vimeo from Alessander Demyanov.

Want to explore more After Effects content? Check out these articles from our pals at RocketStock. They’re all about all things After Effects.

Are there free plugins and presets that you use all the time that we didn’t add? Let us know about them in the comments below!