After Effects has become an almost indispensable tool for many content creators around the world. When combined with Adobe's other video software, it provides an almost complete video editing experience. 

Versions of After Effects released since 2013 have been exclusively available through the Creative Cloud, meaning you can only 'rent' the software on subscription basis as opposed to buying it outright. This was aimed at tackling the growing level of piracy Adobe was suffering from. 

There are a still a few options if you want to get After Effects on your device, and many of these start with a free trial. Discounts are also available if you can verify your student status or ties to an educational organisation.

We have a full guide dedicated to Creative Cloud CC, while if it's just Photoshop you're after check our specific article here. If you're flexible on company, check out our round-up of the best free video editing software.

Single App subscription

Unfortunately, After Effects isn't bundled with other video apps in an individual subscription, so the most cost-effective way is just getting the app itself. This includes the very latest version of After Effects, 100GB of cloud storage, access to premium fonts and additional software in the form of Adobe Spark (a social media graphics creation tool) and Adobe Portfolio. 

There are three payment plans to get After Effects CC on its own.

  • Annual monthly: £19.97/$20.99 per month 
  • Annual, pre-paid: £238.42/$239.88 (lump sum)
  • On-going monthly: £30.34/$31.49 per month

See all these plans and details here.

After Effects student and teacher discount

While Adobe doesn't offer a discount on After Effects alone, students and teachers can get a 65-percent discount on the full Creative Cloud bundle (60-percent in the US).

This not only gets you After Effects CC, but an army of over 20 powerful creative apps, including Illustrator, Lightroom, InDesign, Premiere Pro, Acrobat Pro, Spark and Adobe XD – all at a significantly reduced rate. See the full list here.

In the UK, this means you can get the full Adobe Creative Cloud suite for less than a Single App subscription. However, do note that this £16.24 rate will only be available for the first year, after which you'll pay £25.28 per month.

You have two options when it comes to paying for this package:

  • Annual monthly: £16.24/US$19.99 per month 
  • Annual, pre-paid: £196.30/US$239.88 (lump sum)

However, you will have to show your student eligibility or institutional affiliation to get this discount. Find all the eligibility requirements here.

After Effects free trial

If you only need After Effects for a specific task, or want to try before you buy, you can get a 7-day free trial of the full software. 

While you will have to sign up via a Creative Cloud account, you won't be charged upon its conclusion. Instead, it will simply say your trial has ended and point you in the direction of purchasing the full version.

It's worth checking if your device will be supported though. The latest version of After Effects will only support devices running Windows 10 or macOS Sierra and later. 

Check full system requirements here