Red Giant Universe is By Far One of the Best Red Giant Plugins, and Not Just For After Effects (Misleading Title I Know!)
If you work with the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite and more specifically the Adobe Premiere Pro or After Effects software then you will know by now that plugins for these programs are an absolute must for many reasons but mostly for time saving reasons. They let you, as a creative, work smarter and not harder, which is exactly what we stand for here at DigiProTips.
And I’m putting Red Giant Universe up there on a pedestal and claiming it to be one the best after effects plugins (and premiere pro plugins) that you can possible install.
Well, I’m going to get on to that in a minute.
How do I know what I’m talking about? Head to the DigiProTips Experience and Background page to find out how I’ve built up my knowledge over a career spanning feature film, broadcast TV and digital content production.
This May Be, ‘One of the Best After Effects Plugins’ but What Exactly Does a Plugin Do?
Ok, for those of you who are new to this, and to give every level of videographer, editor and motion graphics artist out there the information they need, I’m catering this to all levels.
Plugins, whether they are for Adobe software or not, are a way for users to add effects, tools and useful improvements to existing software by way of installing another piece of software to that primary application. Plugins are add-ons, extensions, extras, that were not part of the original software package.
Some are free, some are paid for and it’s worth noting that some are better than others and you do generally get what you pay for but that recommendations for plugins do go a long way.
It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of plugins looking for ‘the best free Premiere Pro plugins’ or the ‘best Red Giant plugins’ but I’m going to keep it simple in this one and say that Red Giant Universe covers many, many bases for your needs.
Alright, So Who Are Red Giant Then?
Red Giant are experts in creating very powerful (and stable) plugins for additional VFX and correction tools.
They have been in the game for a long time now and they have a whole suite of plugins dedicated to all manner of post-production tools. Some of the most high profile being Trapcode Particular for creating extremely realistic, adaptable and intricate particle effects, Magic Bullet Looks Suite for colour correction and grading facilities and the Red Giant Universe plugin for go-to transitions, effects and title tools.
Their plugins work for most NLE software and motion graphics software, Premiere Pro and After Effects included and are constantly updated. The Red Giant ecosystem is very easy to get started with and their customer support is on point too.
It is for these reasons and the extensive range of reliable and creative plugins they provide, that they are one of the top rated plugin creators for post-production.
Red Giant Universe
This plugin from Red Giant is one of their flagship plugins and it simply just works.
Aimed at Editors and Motion Graphics artists (though I like to include videographers here as well, due to their roles spanning editing also and having effects in mind whilst shooting) the plugin hosts an array of effects aimed at adding that extra element to your footage.
With Red Giant Universe you can create:
- Lens Flares
- Text Generators
- Animated light trails
- Warps & Swishes
- Camera Shake
- Logo Animation
Plus many, many more effects and tools to significantly and instantly, improve your edit.
This plugin is basically an editor or motion designer’s dream package to add the flourishes that every client demands on a project. Or to be able to quickly drop an effect on your timeline that would otherwise take a huge amount of time to do manually.
The way that the plugin presents each of the effects is also incredibly intuitive and easy to use. Red Giant Universe comes with its own dockable UI and within it you can choose your effect or preset to add to your footage, media or timeline and then fine tweak it from the effects controls as you normally would for any other effect.
Red Giant Universe utilises your GPU’s performance capabilities rather than using your systems core resources and can therefore run faster and is more stable than other plugins.
The sheer size of effects and presets library alone is why I’m claiming this as one of the best after effects plugins and certainly one of, if not the, best Red Giant plugins.
Some of The Best Effects in Red Giant Universe
There are a total of 89 GPU-accelerated plugins within the Red Giant Universe software for editors and motion graphics artists to use. Now, obviously not all of them will be as useful to every editor as others might be but there a few stand out effects which make Universe a must-have, even for those few.
This may sound simple but the swish-pan effect is hands down one of the best after effects plugins in Universe. Creating swish pans manually is nothing but an absolute pain in the butt and takes valuable time when editing. Grabbing a swish-pan from Red Giant Universe and applying it in a matter of seconds to create simple but effective transitions that almost all editors use somewhere in an edit is a must-have feature. It’s only when you jump onto another editing station where somebody doesn’t have Universe installed that you realise how useful it really is.
The Glitch effect is my close second favourite and again, this isn’t just one glitch type, when you go to the UI for Red Giant Universe and choose Gitch you are then presented with a whole host of different glitch types that you can use on footage, text, layers and pretty much anything you want to add a glitch too. You can then keyframe that effect and tweak it any way that you like.
And as cliché as they may be you can’t deny a good lens flare every now again (especially if you are cheating anamorphic footage in post). The Knoll Light Factory inside of Universe hosts a selection of lens flare tools from Industrial Light & Magic’s John Knoll (think Marvel, think, Star Wars, think massive VFX).
I know that this post is aimed at Red Giant Universe being one of the best After Effects plugins but it wouldn’t be right to not point out the fact that Universe is an absolute monster of a plugin for Adobe Premiere Pro and pretty much most other NLEs too.
All of the effects you find in the After Effects plugin are available in Premiere Pro and can be utilised in exactly the same way, drag and drop.
The UI is as easy to use as it is in any other program and you can use Red Giant Universe interchangeably between the programs, you don’t need to purchase it separately for either program.
Let’s Talk Cost
DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission if you buy the products from these links (at no extra cost to you). As a Toolfarm Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. But we only recommend products we would use ourselves. For more information, click here to see our disclosures.
The first thing to note is that there is a 14 day free trial available for all Red Giant plugins, so definitely give that a go first to make sure you like the software and that you will get the use out of it before investing.
For those of you who have either used it before or are convinced this is the right plugin for you then you can get your hands on Red Giant Universe for $30 monthly or $16 monthly when billed annually.
However, that isn’t the only way to pay. Red Giant also offer a $49 monthly (billed annually) service, called Red Giant Complete, that gives you access to ALL of the Red Giant plugins, not just Universe. If you have used any of the other Red Giant plugins, such as Trapcode, Magic Bullet or Universe then this is a fantastic deal to get access to every plugin throughout the year.
The cost implications ultimately come down to how much use you see yourself getting out of the plugin(s) and how much time you think they could save you overall. Saving time on projects ultimately leads to faster workflows and delivering quicker with more creativity involved. That in turn leads to a larger number of jobs throughout the year and even month.
When you start to think of it from an efficiency point of view the cost starts to diminish quite quickly.