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Top 10 Best Visual Effects (VFX) Software [Free & Paid]

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Jun 11, 2024• Proven solutions

TV commercials, blockbuster movies, video games, or online videos rely heavily on visual effects that make a strong impression on a viewer. Suppose you're looking for software that enables you to create stunning computer graphics or to combine images from multiple sources in a single frame. In that case, you are at the right place because, in this article, we'll introduce you to the best visual effects VFX software products on the market.

All computer programs that enable users to add visual effects to raw footage or generate artificial objects and environments can be roughly divided into two categories, software for 3D modeling and software for compositing. Some of the visual effects software listed below are the best VFX software for beginners; some of them are used in Hollywood movie-making. If you're working on mobile devices, you can also find some elegant video special effects apps video video special effects apps.

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Part 1 Best Visual Effects Software for Beginner - Filmora

I suppose you are just an amateur who doesn't know many video editing skills yet wants to make Hollywood-like videos. In that case, Wondershare Filmora is the video editing software you should choose.

Filmora possesses outstanding yet fashionable video effects which can let your video look cool and unique! No matter whether you were a short video streaming lover, vlogger, or professional video editor, you won't gonna miss this powerful VFX software to decorate your videos.

Add VFX Effects on Videos

For Win 7 or later (64-bit)

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Add VFX Effects on Videos

For macOS 10.14 or later

Filmora secure download Secure Download


  • Over 900 free video effects elements
  • Make your video cinematic with OpenFX
  • Owns 3D LUTs for color matching and correcting

Part 2 Best Visual Effects Software for 3D Modeling

The 3D modeling software lets you create a surface of any object you can imagine. In contrast, the compositing software is frequently used to produce the chroma critical effect, among countless other products. Here are some of the best visual effects software for 3D modeling and compositing you can find on the market. The software mentioned below is all for very professional use and, to some degree, is complicated to use.

1 Houdini

Image resource: MIX Training

Side FX's famed software was first released in 1996, and two decades later, it is still one of the most powerful software products 3D artists utilize to generate breathtaking 3D models. It became famous for its unique approach to procedural generation, and it's frequently used by VFX companies such as Sony Pictures or ILM. Its latest version features improved rendering, modeling, and animation options, as well as the Crowds tool designed to make motion blending or crowds layouts much more realistic. The free version of Houdini is available, although it offers only the basic options, while the price of the entire software package is $6,995.


  • SOP-based tools to make fantastic destruction effects
  • Make blockbuster effects faster and more real
  • Less memory is used when making special effects

2 Maya

Image resource: YouTube

Autodesk Maya is award-winning software used during cult movie production such as The Matrix, Ice Age, and Avatar, to name a few. This speaks volumes about Maya's capabilities and potential. Nearly all big VFX studios have used versions of this 3D modeling software at one point, and today it is considered the indusandard. Features like Interactive grooming workflow, polygon or symmetry modeling, and an extensive sculpting toolkit make Maya one of the best options on the market for professional 3D artists. The software is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, but before buying it, ensure that your computer meets the software's demanding technical requirements.


  • Make 3D animation faster with advanced features
  • Create effects with easy-to-use graphs
  • Built-in Arnold to make various characters

3 3Ds Max

Image resource: Autodesk

3Ds Max has been a popular choice for 3D artists for decades as video game developers, and TV commercial studios commonly used the software. After more than two decades on the market, the software is still being upgraded, and each new version brings new tools that extend the scope of options its users have at their disposal. The latest version of 3Ds Max brings improved Data Channel Modifier, Mash and Surface modeling, or Procedural wood texture features, among others. The software is only compatible with the Windows OS, and a free trial is available if you want to try it out before buying it.


  • A worth-mentioning visual effects for games
  • Make high-quality effects with animation and VFX
  • Use 3ds Max to accelerate your editing

4 Cinema 4D

Image resource: Chip

Besides 3D modeling, Cinema 4D enables users to create animations, perform rendering or texturing tasks, and offers a rich library of object preset scenes and materials. In addition to sculpting tools, 3D artists can utilize Polygon and Parametric modeling options in their projects. Furthermore, Splines enable you to create complex 3D objects, while Deformers let you twist or compress these objects without having to worry about their geometry. The software is compatible with PC and Mac computers, but its system requirements may be too demanding for consumer-level computers. Buying Cinema 4D online is not an option since you must contact a licensed distributor of the software.


  • Best visual effects software for beginners and professional users
  • Intuitive interface to start making VFX
  • Free service packs are stable to use

5 Blender

Image resource: Blender

This free and open-source computer graphics software is frequently used to produce animated films, 3D printed models, or video games. Besides 3D modeling, its features include rendering, rigging, sculpting, video editing, and compositing, just a few of the many options Blender offers its users. 3D artists can use the software's rich library of modifiers to apply non-destructive operations to the objects they've created. Furthermore, Blender's UV Unwrapping features include painting directly onto the mash, Cube, Cylinder, Sphere, and Camera projections, as well as UV layout image exporting. The software is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems.


  • A well know VFX tool to make excellent effects
  • A regularly updated version is available
  • Open-source software to customize your needs

Part 3 Best Visual Effects Software for Compositing for Professionals

1 Nuke

Image resource: YouTube

Blizzard Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation, and Walt Disney Animation Studios are on the list of Nuke's users. This shows that this node-based digital compositing software can perform even the most demanding tasks. Nuke grants you access to 2D and 3D compositing and Editorial options. 2D compositing features include a Nodal toolset, Deep image compositing, Rotoscoping, or Warp Effects. In contrast, the 3D compositing options enable you to work in a 3D environment, use a 3D camera tracker or Point Cloud, and depth generation tools. Pricing plans start from $4,528 and go up to $9,768 for Nuke Studio, which contains all the software's features.

2 Fusion

Image resource: Provider Coalition

Fusion was created in 1987, and since then, it has become one of the world's best and most advanced visual effects and digital compositing software. Sin City, Spider-Man 3, or Game of Thrones are only a few titles on this software's seemingly endless list of movies and TV shows post-processed. Features such as Virtual Reality, Camera and Planar Tracking, or Planar Rotoscoping enable users of this node-based digital compositing software to produce breathtaking videos. Fusion is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems; You can use it for free or purchase the Fusion Studio for $299 and access even more video compositing options.

3 Adobe After Effects

Image resource: AlternativeTo

Experienced professionals don't need a unique introduction to Adobe's software since Adobe Premiere Pro or After Effects have set the industry standards for decades. As its name suggests, Adobe After Effects is specifically designed to help its users apply effects to already edited footage. Chroma Key, 3D camera tracker, or Rotoscoping features open up endless possibilities for software users looking for a way to add mesmerizing visual effects to their videos. Adobe After Effects can be used on Mac and PCs, but it can only be purchased through Adobe's Creative Cloud, which requires you to be a registered Adobe user.

4 HitFilm Pro

Image resource: YouTube

Filmora is a good choice for beginners composting green screen videos and adjusting blending and compositing modes. You can watch the video below and download the free trial version to test the green screen compositing.

Part 4 FAQ about Visual Effects Software

1. Which software is best for VFX?

There are several types, but the best VFX software is Abode After Effects. Its couples are one of the easiest to learn and come with a reasonable price tag, as well as free online resources that help you to expand your knowledge in visual effects. It’s the best VFX Software because there are plenty of tools to use, whether you are a beginner or an expert.

Best of all, the effects in After Effects allow you to work on all types of footage. It is not specific to just on your PC or only on your phone. It blends well with other devices.

2. Can I learn VFX at home?

You can learn VFX software at home. However, you must ensure you get good software with better online guides if you want to go pro. Studying at a film school might be best if you're going to make high-end effects. A big part of why we always recommend After Effects to learners and students is that they have a wealth of online resources, all aimed at helping you develop your skills.

So yes, you can learn how to do visual effects at home. But no, if you want to use them in a professional film, you won’t be as good as those who went to school.

3. What software do VFX artists use?

VFX artists use various software, all of which are aimed at altering the original footage. They use a range of products to do this, including Adobe After Effects, V-Ray, and Autodesk. Most artists will use a combination of software programs to ensure they have every base covered. Some programs contain specific effects but are missing others. You can commonly add Luts to your schedule if you are running the right thing.

To get to grips with all the different programs you can use in VFX and to learn which VFX software is best for you, you should undergo some training. It is possible to get online courses nowadays.


We highly recommend the Filmora video editor for you to add and customize visual effects quickly. You can add royalty-free music and sound effects to the video, the specially designed filters, overlays, elements, transitions, elements well as title & text effects. Download the  Filmora video editor today and empower your creativity.

author avatar
Liza Brown
Liza Brown is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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