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I've been a illustrator and graphic designer for a number of years and now I'm looking to go more into motion graphics and visual effects. Is there anything that is open source/free (not a demo, education version or trial) that is as complex and feature-rich as Adobe After Effects but for Linux? I've tried Cinlerra, kdenlive, openshot and Blender and whilst they are good at video editing (and 3d modelling in Blender's case) they fall short in effects and compositing features.

I've also tried Ramen, but the project recently closed and the last update was quite buggy.

Also, CineFX/Jahshaka doesn't work and hasn't been updated in many many years, so don't mention it ;-)

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Have you tried combining them to achieve the effect you want? I know it can be frustrating to find an alternative, but sometimes all it takes is a change in methods :) –  RolandiXor Apr 3 '11 at 0:52
    
What do mean by combining them? Do you have any techniques for doing so? The reason I ask is because if each of those programs listed don't have what I'm looking for how will combining them help? –  hellocatfood Apr 3 '11 at 0:58
    
@hellocatood: Well, I mean something like producing effects using a combination of programs, like doing fire in blender and mixing it with something from Inkscape for example. –  RolandiXor Apr 3 '11 at 1:23
    
@Roland Taylor: That (could) work if I'm looking to do things like fire. What about smaller things like removing cables from a building? Also, the question isn't asking how to do specific effects, it's asking for software alternatives. It may be a good idea to use After Effects and note down what it is capable of and how it works –  hellocatfood Apr 3 '11 at 7:25
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I have used After Effects. Nothing in Free Software even comes close. –  Alistair Buxton Apr 19 '11 at 16:07

10 Answers 10

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Having used after effects a fair bit in the past and had a good search around on the open source community the simple answer is unfortunately no.

There are plenty of non linear editors, which are like adobe premier, but nothing really like after effects. The closest I can think of would be kdenlive which I have heard has a few effects (although I've never used it), however I don't think any of them really stand up to after effects.

TBH I unfortunately switch back to my windows partition for doing any serious video editing like that because After effects doesn't work well under wine either.

I would absolutely love to be proved wrong and someone know a really good effects program, but I suspect for the moment I'm going to be dissapointed.

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Try Blender. It's a free, open source content creation suite that has an impressive number of features:

  • Two built-in rendering engines, Blender Internal (fast) and Cycles (realistic), along with other experimental engines such as Freestyle
  • A game engine
  • The Bullet physics engine, which can be integrated with the above
  • A text editor
  • An image editor
  • A non-linear editor that works with both audio and video
  • Tight integration with the open-source, highly popular Python programming language:
    • Python syntax highlighting in the text editor
    • An interactive Python prompt
    • A Python-scriptable interface accelerated with OpenGL
    • Extension with Python plugins
    • Python integration in the game engine
  • Motion tracking
  • Collada import/export
  • Compositing
  • A node editor for Blender highly flexible Cycles rendering engine
  • CUDA/OpenCL-based GPU rendering for Nvidia cards
  • Fluid, cloth, smoke, and fire physics simulations

And much, much more. Not to mention a rapid release cycle (~2 months), a large amount of high-quality documentation (both free and paid; see Blender Cookie), a large, vibrant community, a Blender SE proposal on Area51 currently in the commit stage and four successful Creative-Commons-licensed movie projects.

How does this apply to you? Using the aforementioned motion tracking feature allows you to utilize Blender's power to generate some pretty good special effects (not quite on par with After Effects - it is primarily a 3D modeling application, after all). As Blender's motion tracking algorithms get improved and the visual effects get more realistic, using Blender as a replacement for After Effects should become an easier and easier switch to make.

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The Blender SE proposal has made it into public beta: blender.stackexchange.com –  Alex Schimp May 30 '13 at 0:50

I have Blender installed and will one day get my head around it.

I have never used After Effects. I found this open source node-based compositor called Synapse for Linux and Windows:

https://code.google.com/p/vexx/

It is not very well known so spread the word!

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Looking at the link that you provided, Vexx hasn't seen any activity since late 2011 and the last linux code was from May 2010. –  Kevin Bowen Jan 13 '13 at 22:09

Video editor are in the high priority list of the Free Software Foundation.
http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority-projects/

complex and feature-rich as Adobe After Effects.

What exactly it means? If it is possible can you explain better, or give a link to a video/page showing that effects?

Maybe a free software project created to be a free replacement of After Effects is not a bad idea.

With the question of the Blender. I like it, but I think that the video editor of this program, it is not at the level of AE.

--
http://www.gnu.org/software/fcrypt

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you problem can be solved with cinepaint. Check this here cinapaint

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Please try to add more details on the answer. You need answers right on the page. –  Anwar Shah Oct 16 '12 at 7:04
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How can it be solved with Cinepaint? –  hellocatfood Oct 16 '12 at 21:35

Free software video editing software Many users are seduced into using proprietary software for video editing because they are unable to achieve the effects they want using the current state of the art in free software video editing and production software. More and more everyday computer users are becoming amateur videographers, and we need to make sure that their operating systems come complete with free software to meet their needs.

Ways to help.There are a number of quality, free software video editing programs, such as Kino, Cinelerra, AVIDemux, Kdenlive, LiVES, Lumiera, as well as PiTiVi, Blender, and the Open Movie Editor. Along the way, the easiest way to help is to use these editors and to encourage others to do the same. You can help these projects directly by submitting bug reports, adding features, improving usability, and creating tutorials, guides, and documentation.

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Your answer suggests video editors. After Effects is not a video editor. –  hellocatfood Apr 18 '13 at 11:43

I can definitely recommend Blender! It might look like a 3d-program but it is in fact a very powerful compositor. You can do color correcting, masks, compositions and lots of things inside of this program. I would say its a lot steeper learning curve than after effects, since you have to understand node based compositing etc, but I have used Blender now for 2 months and I can already do "After Effects" stuff in it if I want.

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Here In Greece there are not many studios that use AE. They use an open source software called Jahshaka which is pretty powerfull but a little unstable yet. His developers, as I know, they are working to the next release of it 3.0 which is gonna be much more stable with more AE features. Current features are: Animation with 3d models Layer based compositing Non linear video editing Picture Corrector These include: Keying, Color Correction, Real time particles, Masks On the first look it's pretty complicated to understand but if you play with it a liitle you' ll find out a beast. It is still on beta stage and sometimes is unstable. Christos

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Jahshaka doesn't work and hasn't been updated in many years –  hellocatfood Jun 25 '13 at 12:23

I am a VFX artist and working around 7 years in VFX industry. Its really fortunate for adobe to have a very good group of mentors to teach After effect in an easy way. For that they are gaining lots of customers. But the truth is in VFX Standard Industry After Effects has gone cliche 5 years ago. No firms involving in Hollywood are preferring After Effect anymore. As the disability of Layer based limitation like multi channel EXR (Which is common). If any one interested in professional VFX should try this following applications: 1. http://www.thefoundry.co.uk/products/nuke-product-family/nuke/

  1. http://www.autodesk.com/products/autodesk-maya/overview

And also some other like photoshop (Gimp alternative), Hiero from Foundry, Zbrush from Pixologic and yes Houdini.

Most of them are supported in Linux Platform, cause everyone knows for development organized programmers are the basic asset. Also Linux is used for simulation, Network Rendering and asset management and yes Software Dev. But Zbrush one of the core for modeling has not yet launched. And if questioning about photoshop. They will not. So its an application variant. But for most of the pro apps there is Linux system, you just need to purchase it.But be aware of the flexibility and integration of your pipeline before purchasing them. In the end for pro I think you should try linux only if you can get all your apps available in linux compability

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You should try Debugmode WAX. It is basically a more compact and easier to use version of blender. Although there are still a few problems with it, just check out their help page for all your answers.

WAX HOMEPAGE: http://www.debugmode.com/wax/

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Their help/FAQ page is: groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/wax-discuss –  user238079 Jan 21 at 5:57
    
This only works on Windows and the question specifically requests software for Linux –  hellocatfood Jan 21 at 10:14

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