Steve Kilisky's Dynamic Media Blog

January 23, 2006

The Plug-in Ecosystem

One of my goals is to use this blog to share info about the large and growing number of plug-ins available for After Effects. There are so many that I want to cover, that it is hard to decide where to begin. So I thought I'd start off by sharing some thoughts on why I believe plug-ins are critical to the success of After Effects

Since the release of the first set of plug-ins for After Effects called Final Effects developed by our good friends at Cycore circa 1994-5, plug-in developers and the plug-ins they create have been instrumental in their contributions to the success of After Effects.

Plug-ins extend/enhance the capabilities AE, allow users to customize AE for specific workflows that we don't address, and in some cases fill gaps in our feature set, thus freeing our users from having to rely solely on the AE development team to add new features to After Effects.

Similar to responding to user requests for new features, we allocate a portion of each cycle to incorporate API feature requests from our plug-in developers that allow them to add new capabilities to their existing plug-ins or create new types of plug-ins.

So before I begin a series of entries about various plug-ins, I want to take a moment to publicly thank all of our plug-in developers for choosing to invest and build a business around After Effects, and to thank all of our users for investing in the amazing plug-ins these companies produce.

Posted by Steve Kilisky at 6:30 PM on January 23, 2006


Ian Blake — 4:49 PM on February 19, 2006

Please make version 7 of AE be able to accept older style plugins like Useful Things which no longer works on the Mac!!!!

stephen Kilisky — 7:43 PM on February 19, 2006

Hi Ian,

The majority of existing plug-ins work fine in AE7. Our switch to Apple's Mach-O affected a few Mac plug-ins, of which Useful Things was one (Digital Anarchy 3D Assistants is another).

With every release we work hard to maintain compatibility with old plug-ins when we rev our APIs. Most plug-in developers either weren't affected or made the necessary changes during our beta cycle.

I believe that even though Useful Things is no longer being developed/supported, Paul Miller posted on the AE-List that he was working on an update to them to get them working again.

As soon as I hear something, I'll post a comment here.

Jeff Almasol — 9:09 PM on February 19, 2006

I believe it's Useful Assistants that's being updated, not Useful Things. At least, that's what's described on Toolfarm's After Effects 7.0 Plug-in Compatibility page (

Gregg Hunter — 1:29 PM on February 20, 2006

With your scripting skills could you write something that would make UT work? If you can't touch the code, maybe some sort of AE plugin to read older plugins? It would be something I'd be willing to buy if you wrote it.

Sean — 3:00 PM on March 1, 2007

How about being able to lock the transform functions of a layer but leaving it active for rotoscoping and color-correction, etc.? Every time I go to select vertices in a roto-spline, I accidentally keep grabbing the layer and moving it. I'm moving fast and I'm having to Undo a lot because I keep shifting the layer's position on accident.

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