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You do not need new versions of plug-ins for After Effects CS5.5.

I’ve seen a significant amount of confusion about this, so I thought that it would be good to make this explicit statement:

You do not need new versions of plug-ins for After Effects CS5.5. Plug-ins that work with After Effects CS5 should work with After Effects CS5.5.

I think that some of this confusion came from the need to get new versions of plug-ins when we advanced from After Effects CS4 to After Effects CS5. That was necessary because of the move from a 32-bit application to a 64-bit application. There is no such fundamental infrastructure change from After Effects CS5 to After Effects CS5.5.

You do need to make sure that the plug-ins are installed where After Effects CS5.5 is looking for them. After Effects CS5.5 has its own plug-ins folder, and it doesn’t look in the CS5 plug-ins folder, unless you tell it to do so (more on that in a bit). So, be sure to install the plug-ins in the right place.

By default, the plug-ins folder is in the following location:

  • (Windows) Program FilesAdobeAdobe After Effects CS5.5Support FilesPlug-ins
  • (Mac OS) Applications/Adobe After Effects CS5.5/Plug-ins

After Effects also loads plug-ins from a MediaCore folder, which is intended to hold plug-ins shared between After Effects and Premiere Pro. Some third-party plug-in installers install their plug-ins in this folder. You should follow the instructions for these third-party plug-ins regarding how to install plug-ins for After Effects CS5.5.

Here are links to the sites of some third-party plug-in providers, where they give instructions:

Tip: You can have an alias/shortcut in your CS5.5 plug-ins folder that points to the CS5 plug-ins folder. That way, when After Effects is scanning the CS5.5 plug-ins folder for plug-ins to load, it’ll follow that alias/shortcut to the CS5 plug-ins folder and load plug-ins from there. Be careful if you decide to go this route, since it’s easy to point to duplicate versions this way. I keep my third-party plug-ins that are not installed with After Effects in a separate “after-market” folder in my CS5 Plug-ins folder, and my alias/shortcut in my CS5.5 Plug-ins folder just points to that.

Michele Yamazaki show how to do it here.

Here are instructions for making an alias on Mac OS.

I didn’t find concise instructions for creating a shortcut to a directory on Windows, but the gist is this: Right-click a directory, and choose Copy; in the destination location, right-click, and choose Paste Shortcut.

All of this applies to Premiere Pro, as well.

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