The Environment for After Effects Plugin Development


To set up the environment for After Effects plugin. To build sample plug-in and execute it.


Adobe CC2019 v16.0.0
Windows10 with environment for C++ compile
Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 ver15.8.4


1 Download The After Effects SDKs

Access Adobe Web site and click “Get the SDKs” button to get After Effects SDKs. Select “After Effects Plug-in SDK” for your AE version.

2 Set build path as environment variable

Add environment variable “AE_PLUGIN_BUILD_DIR” and set output directory. If it doesn’t exist, the error “fatal error LNK1104: cannot open file ‘***.aex” will occur.

3 Build sample plug-in

Unzip “” and put the unzipped directory “AfterEffectsSDK” into appropriate location.

Open AfterEffectsSDK\Examples\BuildAll.sln then Visual studio will start.

Right Click on “SDK Noise” and Build it.

from Visual Studio

If the error “C2220: warning treated as error – no ‘object’ file generated” occurred, fix the project configuration not to treat warning as error.

from Visual Studio

4 Put the plugin into AE Directory

Put the “SDK_Noise.aex” file into “C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe After Effects CC 2019\Support Files” Directory.

5 Add plug-in Effect

Open AE project and click Effect>Sample Plug-ins>SDK_Noise

from Adobe AfterEffects

A noise effect is added to the video.