The sphere of visual effect is ever-evolving and more people are searching for the best free VFX software. There are many of them out there, but several VFX software doesn’t offer what they promise.
What is VFX? It means visual effects (VFX), created in commercials and movies by combining computer graphics and real footage.
In this post, we’ve compiled the free VFX software as well as VFX software used in Hollywood. The list includes software for both beginners and pros.
The Top 7 Best Free VFX Software
Each free visual effect software is excellent for some specific features. And while some are more rated and popular than others, they are all great to execute any visual effects project you have.
Adobe After Effect – Overall Best Video Editor
Adobe After Effect is one of the most used VFX software today. It allows you to make unique adjustments to your footage with cool effects. But you have to give the tool a lot of time to get accustomed to how each function works.
It has a remarkable rotoscoping feature, which quickly becomes indispensable anytime you want to spice up your clips. All the unique features are compatible with Mac and Windows OS.
- Cloud storage
- Lots of beautiful transitions
- Regular updates and top-notch tools
- Great integration with other Adobe programs
- It takes a while to learn
GIMP – Best for Image Manipulation
Photoshop is recognized by professionals to be the most feature-filled software for image manipulations. However, if you’re running on a low budget, a close alternative for image manipulations is GIMP.
It is one of the best free VFX software you can find in the market. GIMP provides tons of creative tools for outstanding photo manipulation.
- Supports layers and masks
- Understandable UI
- It has a version for Linux OS
- A few numbers of video tutorials
Blender – Best Cross-Platform
One of the major advantages of this software is its cross-platform feature. Blender comes with a large arsenal of tools for building 3D graphics. With it, you can handle particle systems and manipulate the weight of individual particles simultaneously, texturing. You can also perform Blender animation adjustments and use an external factor like the wind.
Blender is known for object tracking. This object tracking feature helps hasten your work with 3D graphics. So, you can import RAW clips, track them, mask some parts and recreate the camera movements in the 3D scene.
- Lightweight – 50MB
- The basic package has no documentation
DaVinci Resolve – Best for Perfect Color Scheme
This is one best free visual effects software you can get your hands on. It is among the best special effects software, especially when it comes to color gradation. The software is simply the best for correcting colors.
DaVinci Resolve is best for professionals and not exactly a great option if you’re just learning. It has a diverse toolkit for post-production manipulations. Its toolkit, too, can easily work with sound and image. The free version comes with a couple of limitations like watermarks, lower 4K definition, and inability to work cooperatively on the project.
- Color Grading section for HDR editing
- Modest system requirements
- Helpful timeline
- Embedded algorithm for maximum GPU acceleration
- You have to fill out an application on the developer’s website
- You have to register on the developer’s website
HitFilm Express – Best for Making Epic VFX
If you’re looking to improve your video editing skills through mastering VFX, you can start from HitFilm Express. All you need is to download the program, study the intuitive UI, and you can go ahead to create fantastic visual content.
HitFilm Express is packed with VFX of over 140 options and lets you run compound video editing. The user interface is simple to use and understand, with various video tutorials to help you get accustomed to the program faster.
There are tons of features that make HiFilm one of the best free VFX software in the market, and the ones listed above are only a handful of them.
- User-friendly and customizable exporting
- You can continue editing while exporting your files
- Quick video editing due to its playback features
- Solid timeline video editor
- You have to purchase add-ons to enjoy its full functionality
- Low export speed
Nuke – Best for Professionals
The list of individual and companies’ video editing professionals using Nuke for their editing projects is endless. Among them are famous names like DreamWorks Animation, Blizzard Entertainment, and Walt Disney Animation Studios. It is one of the best VFX software used in Hollywood.
A unique feature of Nuke Studios compared to other VFX tools is working on both effect mode and video layers. And it also performs fundamental video editing, adds interesting effects, and does color grading.
- High-speed rendering and previews
- Easily handles large-format files
- Fast tools
- Auto-saves your project every five seconds
- Tools for mixing multiple clips are poorly designed
- Third-party plug-ins do lag sometimes
Krita – Best for Basic Digital Drawing
If you’re still a beginner and searching for straightforward VFX software, Krita is one of your best options. The software is resource-tolerant, meaning you can install it on any old PC.
Most Krita users are admirers of its stable operation, uncultured interface, and handy tools. With this software, you can create all standard operations with graphics and photos efficiently and hassle-free. There are also tools built specifically for artists doing VFX and 3D editing. For example, you can create one-of-a-kind overlays and textures and then export them to any other program you want.
Plus, the painting toolkit is truly admirable, and you can use it in creating straight lines, intricate forms, and points of vanishing. There is also the support of HDR and layers, masks, diverse transformation tools, and a massive collection of options. While Krita is one of the best free VFX software, it comes with functionalities and tools that can readily compete with paid VFX tools.
- Lots of brushes
- Support for layers
- Sleek UI with a great layout
- Optimized software
- Updates come with lags
- Lacks photo retouching functions
Before choosing one of the best free VFX software on this list, you should keep in mind that some of them are not recommended for beginners.
So, unless you’re already a pro or looking to get familiar with a particular software you like, the first move is to go for the ones with a simplified interface and loads of tutorial videos.