The best After Effects transitions

The best After Effects transitions can help turn a good-looking piece of video into an eye-catching work of art. Most of the time when you're editing video you can rely on straightforward cuts, fades and wipes, but sometimes when you really want to make an impact you need to pull out something more impressive, and that's where After Effects really comes into its own.

Creating your own transitions can be a lot of work, though, and you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by investing in a library of tried and tested ready-made transitions that you can simply drop into your projects to deliver some killer visual flair where it's needed. Combine them with some of our favourite After Effects plugins and you'll be all set to create stunning motion work.

To save you a load of searching online, we've picked out 12 of the best After Effects transitions that you can download today. All of them are packs with multiple effects to choose from, most are available for very reasonable prices, and a couple of them are even free. Read on for some stunning visual effects that can take your video work to the next level. 

Don't have the software just yet? Learn how to download After Effects for free or as part of Adobe Creative Cloud. And for more After Effects advice, see our After Effects tutorials.

01. Ink Transitions

Best After Effects transitions: Ink Transitions

These splattery ink transitions are a joy to behold (Image credit: rctrance)

For an impressive effect that isn't overpowering, check out this set of ink transitions. They subtly shift you from one shot to another in the style of ink splats being dropped onto paper, and there are 11 different transitions to choose from. They're compatible with After Effects CS5.5 and above, they'll work at any resolution and they're easy to implement – simply place the transition above the layer with the video, hit a couple of buttons and you're good to go.

02. Ultra Light Transitions

Best After Effects transitions: Ultra Light Transitions

A collection of simple wipes that do the job perfectly (Image credit: valentinus)

These lightweight transitions are little more than a set of differently shaped wipes, with hard-edged borders containing a blurred and tinted version of the destination shot. It's a simple technique but very effective and easy to configure, with straightforward sliders to control the colour, opacity and blurriness of the wipe border.

03. 16 Free Transitions

Who can resist a set of free transitions? This collection from PremiumBeat consists of vivid geometric wipes that can be coloured and customised according to your needs, and they're optimised for After Effects CS6 or higher. You can change the colours selecting the ‘Color Control’ layer and changing the various fill effects, and you can even render them out individually by using a codec with alpha channels.

04. Glitch Transitions

Best After Effects transitions: Glitch Transitions

Over 700 gloriously glitchy transitions at your fingertips (Image credit: videolancer)

A little bit of glitch can go a long way, so this set of over 700 different glitch transitions from Videolancer should get you a lot of mileage. It features just about every glitch effect you can think of, from old-school VHS noise and rewind distortion through to modern digital, displacement and particle effects with lashings of chromatic aberration.

05. Line Transition Colour Pack

Best After Effects transitions: Line Transition Colour Pack

This line transition's pretty but best used sparingly (Image credit: GeniusMedia)

This transition's pretty basic – a pair of swirly, symmetrical lines that meet at the centre of the screen in a burst of light – but it's a good looker as long as you don't overuse it. It's a straightforward chunk of Quicktime video rendered in 10 different colours and easy to apply; bear in mind though that it comes in HD only, so if you're working on a 4K project you might want to look elsewhere.

06. Sam Kolder Transitions

Our second set of free After Effects transitions comes from Sam Kolder and it's a fantastic set of 10 straightforward but great-looking effects. You get two punch effects (in and out), two rotates (left and right), four slides (up, down, left and right) and two zooms (in and out). Check the video above to see them in action, and bear in mind that you'll need After Effects CC 2017 or better to use them.

07. Beautiful Bokeh Transitions

Best After Effects transitions: Beautiful Bokeh Transitions

Who doesn't love a bit of beautifully blurry Bokeh? (Image credit: meush)

For gorgeously dreamy transitions, this Beautiful Bokeh collection is hard to beat. It gives you 10 light, colourful and elegantly animated Bokeh transitions, filling the screen with wonderfully out-of-focus light patterns as you switch from one shot to another. No additional plugins are required, and it's compatible with After Effects CS5 or better.

08. Distortion Zoom Transitions

Best After Effects transitions: Distortion Zoom Transitions

Treat your eyeballs to some brain-mangling distortion zoom (Image credit: videolancer)

We absolutely love the mind-bending effects you can get from this Distortion Zoom Transitions set. There are over 170 transitions in this collection, including power zooms, elastic zooms and optics zooms, as well as wave transitions, motion presets and twirl transitions, and they're all easy to use and fully resizeable to any screen size or aspect ratio.

09. 25 Free After Effects Transitions

Our final free collection of After Effects transitions comes from MotionIsland and gives you 25 dependable transitions suitable for all manner of projects. Created and designed at 4K resolution, this collection includes all manner of impressive wipes and dissolves, as well as warp effects, moving transitions and more. It's compatible with After Effects CC 2015 and later.

10. Paint Brush Transitions Reveal Pack

Best After Effects transitions: Paint Brush Transitions Reveal Pack

Paint your way from one shot to another (Image credit: GerardGerard)

Similar to the impressive Ink Transitions collection at the start of this roundup, the Paint Brush Transitions Reveal Pack by GerardGerard gives you 30 different transitions that'll take you from one shot to another with a set of lively brush strokes. It's HD-only at 30fps, which might limit its usefulness for some, and it includes a video tutorial to help you get started.

11. 600+ Seamless Transitions with Sound Effects

Best After Effects transitions: 600+ Seamless Transitions with Sound Effects

600 transitions! What more do you need? (Image credit: RoyalPixels)

To finish off, here's a bargain collection of over 600 seamless transition from RoyalPixels, with the added bonus of over 100 sound effects thrown in too. Included in this set are 157 camera transitions, 134 split transitions and 100 glitch transitions, as well as slideshow, shape, brush, overlay and ink transitions. There are colour and FX controls for every transition so you can get just the look you want, and everything will work at 4K resolution.

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Jim McCauley

Jim McCauley is a writer, performer and cat-wrangler who started writing professionally way back in 1995 on PC Format magazine, and has been covering technology-related subjects ever since, whether it's hardware, software or videogames. A chance call in 2005 led to Jim taking charge of Computer Arts' website and developing an interest in the world of graphic design, and eventually led to a move over to the freshly-launched Creative Bloq in 2012. Jim now works as a freelance writer for sites including Creative Bloq, T3 and PetsRadar, specialising in design, technology, wellness and cats, while doing the occasional pantomime and street performance in Bath and designing posters for a local drama group on the side.