Video editing, compositing, and VFX software 
 
So how do I edit my videos, you may ask? And how will I animate 3d content for them - and how will I combine [composite] all those layers of visual effects elements? 
Well, for video editing, Movie Studio Platinum is a great cheap option. 
 
Same with Premiere Elements. I think Premiere Elements is a bit more stable than MSP too.
 
More costly but really solid options include Final Cut Express/Pro [though it seems like it may be discontinued at this point], Avid, Sony Vegas Pro, and Adobe Premiere CS6/CC. 
 

COMPOSITING 
 
This is where you layer things together, like Photoshop for video. 
 
HitFilm 4 Express or the paid Pro equivalent, is a great, user-friendly toolset. 
 
Fusion 8 - really professional grade and has a free version with the superb Primatte chroma keyer built in. 
 
After Effects CC - The gold standard in compositing. AE has been around forever and now it is a rental product for $30/month. 

 
3D ANIMATION 
 
Blender 3D is freeware, which is nice, and it's a really solid option given the price. 
 
There are also some in the $1k range like Lightwave, Modo, and Cinema 4D 
 
And then there's the really expensive stuff that is nonetheless awesome, mainly Autodesk's 3DS Max and Maya.

WHAT'S YOUR VFX PIPELINE, MATTHEW?

I write my scripts with Slugline on iPad or Trelby on Windows, I do image editing with Photoshop plus a mix of other utilities and plugins, video editing with Vegas Pro, compositing with Hitfilm Pro, 3d animation with either Lightwave or Blender or some mix of the two, depending on what exactly I am trying to do. Plus a few other plugins and a couple 3d utilities like ArmorPaint. I also do some gamedev stuff, usually with Construct 2 for 2d or Unity plus Playmaker for realtime 3d. That sums up all the major parts of my software pipeline.
 


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