I was wondering if anyone who has used After Effects could tell me, is it any good without buying plugins? As in, does it have a similar feature set to Hitfilm out of the box?
AE is an industry standard and you can do very much w/o additional third party plugins. There are things you can do in hitfilm that you can't do easily with AE, but AE has things, for instance Cinema 4D light, that don't have direct hitfilm equivalents. Ignite express is free and adds much to AE.
edit: for instance Hitfilm has a nice particle system that AE does not have.
Also, what can you do in After Effects (stock) that you can't do in Hitfilm and vice versa?
Are you able to work with 3d models in AE?
Through Cinema 4d lite, which is included with AE.
I tend to think tat the biggest advantages that AE has over Hitfilm
1. Great integration with other Adobe products
2. Very large third party support in both plug-ins, books, online tutorials, and training
3. Defacto industry standard. If you need to work with others they are much much more likely to be conversant in AE than anything else.
Advantages that Hitfilm has.
1. Much more economical, your not paying a yearly subscription.
2. Great company support.
What others are using is not so important if it is just you and most of the the concepts you learn using one can be transferred to the other. Its like writing, doesn't matter if your using Word or Word Perfect, learning to write is what takes time.
Ae has a puppet warp tool and Warp stabilizer Hitfilm doesn't have. Ae has expressions (a script system that, 99% of the time, can be replicated in Hitfilm with two keyframes).
Ae integration with Cinema 4D kinda requires Cinema 4D... Element 3D is another choice for 3D models, but is a plug in.
Ae has a basic particle sim, but to get one of Hitfilm quality you need Trapcode Particular. That's expensive.
Honestly, unless you are making money off VFX or plan to stay with it forever I do NOT recommend Ae. You're RENTING that software and, once you stop paying you'll be locked out of your own projects. Additionally, in 2017, Adobe started shutting off all pre-CC licenses. This is such a bad customer service move that I have renounced Adobe products after being a 25 year user.
To put this in perspective, this would be like Hitfilm shutting off all licenses prior to Hitfilm 4. The people on this forum in Hitfilm 3 Pro or 2 Ultimate appreciate FXHOME NOT being jerks.
I'm not an AE user, but I watch a ton of AE tutorials to get ideas for things to try in HitFilm. From what I can see, AE has a major advantage in the area of motion graphics. There are certain mograph-centric tools in AE that HitFilm can't touch (yet), and replicating the same basic techniques in HitFilm is sometimes much more difficult. That said, there's a lot of cool mograph work being done in HitFilm, and part of what I enjoy is taking on the challenge of making it work despite a toolset that isn't really geared for it.
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