TV commercials, blockbuster movies, video games, or online videos all rely heavily on visual effects that make a strong impression on a viewer. If you're looking for software that enables you to create stunning computer graphics or to combine images from multiple sources in a single frame you are at the right place because in this article we're going to introduce you to the best visual effects VFX software products on the market.
All computer programs that enable its 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 are for beginners, some of them are used in Hollywood movie-making. If you're working on mobile devices, you can find some elegant video special effects apps as well.
Part 1: Best Visual Effects Software for Beginner: Wondershare Filmora Video Editor
If you are just an amateur who doesn't know many video editing skills yet wants to make Hollywood-like videos then, Wondershare Filmora is the video editing software you should choose.
1. 300+ built-in effects and more Free Video Effects Packs in Filmstock
As you may know, it is essential for beginners to edit videos like a pro with the least effort. So, the Filmora video editor provides over 300 built-in effects, like filters, overlays, elements, and transitions. What’s more, there are some built-in soundtracks that are free of royalty to use in your video.
Besides the built-in effects, you can get some professional visual effect packs and sets in the Filmstock effects store, like the above blockbuster collection in the video above.
Wondershare Filmora video editor offers a free trial version that you can use without limits: this is the full version and you can explore, experiment, and create knowing that you have access to the entire functionality of this special effects software. They even have a complete video introduction to the Filmstock effects store to help you efficiently navigate the program and learn how to get started editing your videos and adding special effects.
Did you look at those introductory videos? You can see the Wondershare Filmora video editor interface is bright, easy to navigate, and simple to use. You can do almost all of the work using drag-and-drop to select what you need. The learning curve is very gentle. This is a huge benefit in convenience if you want to get started right away, or if you don't have the time to invest in learning to use a new video effects editor like a professional.
4.Incredible list of features
Special effects software for videos that is easy to use is nice, but that's not worth it if you can't do everything you need. Wondershare Filmora video editor has a professional-level list of features and capabilities to edit videos and add special effects, including:
Import from any recording device
Import from social media
Trim, crop & rotate videos
Add text & titles
Add motion graphics
Apply filters & overlays
Export & share to a huge selection of formats and social media sites
The list of features is extensive enough to make the Wondershare Filmora video editor valuable as a professional video effects editor tool and as special effects software for casual users.
5. Windows and Mac compatibility
It's difficult to find video and special effects editing programs that have versions for both Mac OS and Windows – Wondershare Filmora video editor is one of the few that successfully caters to both crowds.
Add to those reasons the fact that the Wondershare Filmora video editor is one of the least expensive video effects editors you can find and you have the complete package! Download the free trial version for yourself and see why Wondershare Filmora is so popular.
Part 2: Best Visual Effects Software for 3D Modeling:
The 3D modeling software products let you create a surface of any object you can imagine, while the compositing software is frequently used to produce the chroma key effect, among countless other effects. Here are some of the best visual effects software for 3D modeling and compositing you can find on the market. The software mentioned below are all for very professional use, and to some degree, are complicated to use.
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 that is 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 amazing destruction effects
Autodesk Maya is award-winning software that was used during the production of cult movies such as The Matrix, Ice Age, or 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 to be the industry standard. 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, make sure that your computer meets the software's demanding technical requirements.
3Ds Max has been a popular choice for 3D artists for decades as the software was commonly used by video game developers and TV commercial studios. 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 numerous others. The software is only compatible with the Windows OS, and the free trial is available if you want to try it out before you decide to buy it.
Besides 3D modeling, Cinema 4D enables its users to create animations, perform rendering or texturing tasks and it offers a rich library of object presets scenes and materials. In addition to sculpting tools, the 3D artist 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 both 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 have to contact a licensed distributor in order to purchase the software.
Best visual effects software for beginners and professional users
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 to mention just a few out of many options Blender offers to its users. 3D artists can use the software's rich library of modifiers to apply non-destructive operations to the objects they've created. What's more 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
Blizzard Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation, and Walt Disney Animation Studios are on the list of Nuke's users, which clearly shows that this node-based digital compositing software can perform even the most demanding tasks. Nuke grants you access to both 2D and 3D compositing as well as the Editorial options. 2D compositing features include a Nodal toolset, Deep image compositing, Rotoscoping, or Warp Effects, while 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 that contains all features the software has to offer.
Fusion was created in 1987 and since that time it has become one of the best and the most advanced visual effects and digital compositing software in the world. Sin City, Spider-Man 3, or Game of Thrones are only a few titles on a seemingly endless list of movies and TV shows that were post-processed in this software. 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 and you can use it for free or purchase the Fusion Studio for $299 and get access to even more video compositing options.
Experienced professionals don't need a special 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 who are looking for a way to add mesmerizing visual effects to their videos. Adobe After Effects can be used on Mac and PC computers, but it can only be purchased through Adobe's Creative Cloud, which requires you to be a registered Adobe user.
Filmora is a good choice for beginners to composing 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 to choose from, but the best VFX software is Abode After Effects. Its couples being one of the easiest to learn and comes 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 all around because there are plenty of tools to use, no matter 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 need to make sure you get good software with better online guides if you want to go pro. It might be best to study at a film school if you're going to make high-end effects. A big part of the reason that 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 a variety of software, all of which are aimed at altering the original footage. There is a range of products that they use 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 program, as long as 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 really ought to 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 both royalty-free music and sound effect to the video, and the specially designed filters, overlays, elements, transitions, elements as well as the title & text effects. Download Filmora video editor today and empower your creativity.
Liza Brown is a writer and a lover of all things video.