Best Free VFX Software
Our next category is the best free software for visual effects work. The nominees are VSDC Video Editor, HitFilm Express, and Blender. Let’s take a quick look at each of these applications.
VSDC Video Editor
As the name implies, VSDC provides video editing capabilities but its unconventional design is more focused on supporting a visual effects workflow.
VSDC supports a wide range of visual and audio effects including advanced blending modes, Instagram-like filters, and chroma key tools. Masking, motion tracking, and up to 4K export resolutions are also supported - even in the free version.
VSDC organizes media into scenes as an equivalent to bins or events in other software. Objects within scenes are positioned with subpixel accuracy, which makes for smooth animation, rotation, transformation, and precise relative positioning.
VSDC also includes tools to help you create charts and 3D diagrams. These objects can be based on dynamically changing data of different types and are fully customizable, so you can tailor them to your specific needs.
Overall, the unconventional interface can be confusing to less experienced visual effects artists, but if you are open to learning it, VSDC is a very powerful video editor and VFX tool.
VSDC is only available for Windows at this time. You can download your free copy at videosoftdev.com - which happens to be what VSDC stands for.
Next up is HitFilm Express. This software takes a true freemium approach to its business model. The base editing software is free use with no time limits or watermarked exports. It provides you with excellent media organization and editing capabilities. Then there are advanced features and additional effects that can be purchased as add-ons, if you choose.
While the editing capabilities of HitFilm Express are impressive, like VSDC, its true strength is visual effects. Within your project, you can create multi-layered composites much like Adobe After Effects. In fact, if you are looking for an alternative to Adobe’s expensive subscription-only After Effects pricing, HitFilm Express is most definitely a title worth checking out.
If you like it, HitFilm Express can be expanded to rival the features of After Effects plus a large portion of Premiere Pro with paid add-ons or upgrading to HitFilm Pro - all without being locked into never ending subscription payments.
HitFilm Express is one of the most beginner friendly editing packages that includes very powerful but still very approachable VFX capabilities that I have ever used. Because of this, HitFilm Express is our top recommendation for free visual effects software.
Download HitFilm Express
When you go to fxhome.com to download the HitFilm Express, the website will encourage you to pay as they say, “What you Want” for the software. Assuming you just want to test drive the free version, just move the slider to zero – and you can download HitFilm Express for free.
If you are interested in 3D modeling, sculpting, or animation with advanced visual effects - then Blender is for you.
When it comes to software designed for creative professionals, Blender is amongst the most successful open-source projects in the history of computer science. It is entirely free with all features included and absolutely no limitations.
Blender has been used to help create a great number of feature films, television and streaming series, plus video games.
It even includes a range of basic, yet efficient video editing tools known as the Video Sequence Editor or VSE for short. Generally speaking, the VSE tools are used to make adjustments to sequences that where organized and assembled in dedicated editing software and then sent to Blender for visual effects or compositing.
If you are looking for free visual effects software that goes well beyond anything else we have discussed, take Blender for a spin. The only downside is the software can be difficult to learn and is only recommended for advanced VFX artists or anyone interested in 3D modeling and animation.
Blender Help and Download
Although learning Blender will take more effort, there are plenty of free training resources available online. Start by checking out blender.org where you can download this amazing free software for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Blender’s support page is an excellent resource that includes free tutorials created by the Blender Foundation and its robust community.
Thank you so much for visiting our website and until next time, I wish you the very best with all of your filmmaking endeavors!