DaVinci Resolve vs Adobe After Effects: 2021 Comparison

Evelyn Trainor-Fogleman

8 min read time

DaVinci Resolve has long been the darling of color correction professionals across the globe. However, Black Magic Productions decided to take Resolve one step further and began converting the platform into a full-service non-linear editing platform (NLE). Now DaVinci Resolve is competing against long-standing NLEs like Premiere Pro as a one-stop shop for people who need a video editing software.


Adobe After Effects, however, continues to remain a very specialized platform designed to help animators and visual effects artists create high-quality VFX and other video manipulations for their projects. 


Both of these programs are considered essentials in a well-rounded editing workflow. However, they each have unique qualities that stand out against the other in both form and function. 


In this guide, we’ll put them head-to-head to compare their strengths and weaknesses in crucial editing categories to help you make the best decision for which platform to add to your workflow next. 


What Do DaVinci Resolve and Adobe After Effects Do?


DaVinci Resolve is a non-linear editing platform (NLE) and advanced color correction workspace. Adobe After Effects is primarily an animation and visual effects platform designed for editors and filmmakers who want to add cinema-quality visual effects to their video projects. Both tools are used to render and produce professional videos, sometimes even the ones that make it to hollywood.


The Main Differences Between DaVinci Resolve and Adobe After Effects

While initially, DaVinci Resolve was strictly a color correction program for professional colorists, the platform has since been expanded to incorporate all non-linear editing features and tools. It is now a direct competitor to Premiere Pro and other NLEs. 


After Effects, however, is still highly specialized to meet the needs of animators and visual effects artists more than assembly editors. Because of this, it is more often used in tandem with other NLEs instead of entirely on its own. 


This is an essential distinction between the two programs because if you’re looking for a one-stop editing platform, then the clear winner is DaVinci Resolve. However, if you’re looking to expand your overall editing workflow with more visual manipulation tools, both of these programs have some unique offerings.

Head-to-Head Comparison

Ok, here’s what you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to put these programs up against each other and see which ones excel in each of our key categories: 

Ease of Use

  • Winner: Premiere Pro
  • Why: Both of these programs have something of a learning curve, but Premiere Pro is designed to be slightly more beginner-friendly than DaVinci Resolve. With included tutorials and a clean drag-and-drop interface without too many distractions, if you’ve never worked with an NLE before, you’ll likely find Premiere Pro a little easier to get your hands on.  

Quality of Support

  • Winner: After Effects

Why: Adobe’s customer support is top-notch. Adobe.com has hundreds of tutorials for all its software to help guide you through the different available features before you ever have to pick up a phone and talk to support or go digging around online.

If you get stuck on how to solve a particular editing problem, you can use the Adobe community to ask questions or browse previous questions and answers to help you get un-stuck. If all else fails, Adobe’s support team is available by chat, email, or phone 24/7 to help you through whatever issue you may be facing.

This isn’t to say that DaVinci Resolve doesn’t have high-quality support, but Adobe’s vast array of resources and robust community edge it out in this category.

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Basic Effects

  • Winner: After Effects
  • Why: Effects is what After Effects does best (as the name suggests). As you slowly build your knowledge of the platform, you’ll find the primary effects included in After Effects to be reasonably intuitive and allow you to start creating visual effects with relative ease. 

Advanced Visual Effects

  • Winner: After Effects
  • Why: Now we’re into the real crowning glory of After Effects. Advanced visual effects are what After Effects is known for and consistently outshines most of the competition in this category. From keyframing to advanced animations, After Effects can handle it all. It will take some learning to get the full potential out of After Effects, but you’ll be rewarded with nearly limitless visual effects options.  

Animation

  • Winner: After Effects
  • Why: After Effects has been a go-to platform for animators for years, and for a good reason. After Effects has made a special point to build in tools that animators love and allow them to create everything from 2D stick figure animations to immersive 3D creatures. Additional animation plugins expand After Effects animation capabilities, making this platform extremely versatile. 

Color Correction

  • Winner: DaVinci Resolve
  • Why: This is what DaVinci Resolve was made for, and it shows. Few other programs on the market offer such a wide range of professional color correction tools. DaVinci Resolve is still the preferred platform for many professional color correctors thanks to its ability to seamlessly integrate with color correction control hardware and the ability to refine color down to the pixel. 

G2 Rating

  • Winner: Tie
  • Why: G2, one of the most trusted sources for software reviews, rated both Adobe After Effects and DaVinci Resolve as a solid 4.6/5 stars. This shows how, when it comes to user satisfaction, both these programs largely hit the mark. 

Capterra Rating

  • Winner: DaVinci Resolve (barely)
  • Why: Capterra users rated After Effects as 4.5/5 stars, while DaVinci Resolve got a slightly higher 4.8/5. Like the G2 ratings, these close rankings show how excellent both programs are and how satisfied users on both sides generally are. 

Pricing

  • Winner: DaVinci Resolve
  • Why: Adobe uses a subscription-based (SaaS) pricing model. The cost per month for After Effects alone is $20.99, but it can also be bundled with other Creative Cloud programs for a reduced rate.

    DaVinci Resolve, however, has a “standard” version that is available for free and includes a surprising amount of more advanced features. If you want the full package, the Studio edition is available for a one-time fee of $299 and includes free access to upgrades as they become available. Because of this, we’re declaring DaVinci Resolve a clear winner on price. 

Who is DaVinci Resolve Best Suited For?

  • Professional Color Correction: DaVinci Resolve is still a standout program for advanced color correction tools. It seamlessly integrates with professional color correction hardware and has the best functionality to get ultra-precise color grades every time. 
  • Editors: Whether or not you color correct full-time, DaVinci Resolve’s advanced color correction tools are more or less essential for professional editors to at least have access to for more fine-tuned color correction or color grades for their projects. Plus, with access to color grade presets, you can effectively automate your color correction process. 

Who is After Effects Suited For?

  • Animators: After Effects is a great platform for animators looking to assemble an animation project from start to finish or simply looking to build individual animated assets to add to other projects. 
  • VFX Artists: If you’re passionate about visual effects, chances are, After Effects is one of the first names you’ve come across for professional-grade VFX. Whether you’re adding muzzle flashes or portals to a different world, After Effects really tries to ensure that the only limits to what you can do within the program are your imagination. 

So, Which One Should You Choose?

These programs are largely divided when it comes to their functionality. If you’re looking to do more color correction work, DaVinci Resolve is the clear winner. Similarly, if your focus is on animation and other assorted visual effects, you’re likely going to lean towards After Effects. 

Something that should be noted, however, is that both of these programs are excellent compliments to other non-linear editing programs such as AVID Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro. They both offer advanced editing features that the basic color correction or visual effects tools in these programs can’t match. 

If you’re already using Adobe Premiere Pro, consider upgrading to the full Creative Cloud package to gain access to After Effects and a host of other Adobe creative programs for a fraction of the cost. Then, download the free version of DaVinci Resolve to extend your color correction toolkit for no additional cost. 

If you’re a professional editor, you’ll likely end up with both of these platforms at some point or another, so it’s good to be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of each to better utilize them in your workflow. 

Hopefully, this head-to-head comparison will make choosing the right software for your next project a breeze, allowing you to unleash your creative energy and focus on telling the stories that matter the most to you through stunning images. 


If you’re looking for a better way to bring your remote editing team closer together and collaborate more efficiently from a distance, check out Evercast. Evercast allows you to stream your edit sessions in HD while video chatting and exchanging notes with your team, all under one platform. Because we believe collaboration is the magic behind the movies.

Evelyn Trainor-Fogleman

Evelyn Trainor-Fogleman is a writer based in New York City. After over half a decade in the film industry, she came back to her Journalism roots to write for a variety of media outlets about subjects including technology, business, marketing, and social and environmental justice.

DaVinci Resolve vs Adobe After Effects: 2021 Comparison

Evelyn Trainor-Fogleman

9/3/21

DaVinci Resolve has long been the darling of color correction professionals across the globe. However, Black Magic Productions decided to take Resolve one step further and began converting the platform into a full-service non-linear editing platform (NLE). Now DaVinci Resolve is competing against long-standing NLEs like Premiere Pro as a one-stop shop for people who need a video editing software.


Adobe After Effects, however, continues to remain a very specialized platform designed to help animators and visual effects artists create high-quality VFX and other video manipulations for their projects. 


Both of these programs are considered essentials in a well-rounded editing workflow. However, they each have unique qualities that stand out against the other in both form and function. 


In this guide, we’ll put them head-to-head to compare their strengths and weaknesses in crucial editing categories to help you make the best decision for which platform to add to your workflow next. 


What Do DaVinci Resolve and Adobe After Effects Do?


DaVinci Resolve is a non-linear editing platform (NLE) and advanced color correction workspace. Adobe After Effects is primarily an animation and visual effects platform designed for editors and filmmakers who want to add cinema-quality visual effects to their video projects. Both tools are used to render and produce professional videos, sometimes even the ones that make it to hollywood.


The Main Differences Between DaVinci Resolve and Adobe After Effects

While initially, DaVinci Resolve was strictly a color correction program for professional colorists, the platform has since been expanded to incorporate all non-linear editing features and tools. It is now a direct competitor to Premiere Pro and other NLEs. 


After Effects, however, is still highly specialized to meet the needs of animators and visual effects artists more than assembly editors. Because of this, it is more often used in tandem with other NLEs instead of entirely on its own. 


This is an essential distinction between the two programs because if you’re looking for a one-stop editing platform, then the clear winner is DaVinci Resolve. However, if you’re looking to expand your overall editing workflow with more visual manipulation tools, both of these programs have some unique offerings.

Head-to-Head Comparison

Ok, here’s what you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to put these programs up against each other and see which ones excel in each of our key categories: 

Ease of Use

  • Winner: Premiere Pro
  • Why: Both of these programs have something of a learning curve, but Premiere Pro is designed to be slightly more beginner-friendly than DaVinci Resolve. With included tutorials and a clean drag-and-drop interface without too many distractions, if you’ve never worked with an NLE before, you’ll likely find Premiere Pro a little easier to get your hands on.  

Quality of Support

  • Winner: After Effects

Why: Adobe’s customer support is top-notch. Adobe.com has hundreds of tutorials for all its software to help guide you through the different available features before you ever have to pick up a phone and talk to support or go digging around online.

If you get stuck on how to solve a particular editing problem, you can use the Adobe community to ask questions or browse previous questions and answers to help you get un-stuck. If all else fails, Adobe’s support team is available by chat, email, or phone 24/7 to help you through whatever issue you may be facing.

This isn’t to say that DaVinci Resolve doesn’t have high-quality support, but Adobe’s vast array of resources and robust community edge it out in this category.

Basic Effects

  • Winner: After Effects
  • Why: Effects is what After Effects does best (as the name suggests). As you slowly build your knowledge of the platform, you’ll find the primary effects included in After Effects to be reasonably intuitive and allow you to start creating visual effects with relative ease. 

Advanced Visual Effects

  • Winner: After Effects
  • Why: Now we’re into the real crowning glory of After Effects. Advanced visual effects are what After Effects is known for and consistently outshines most of the competition in this category. From keyframing to advanced animations, After Effects can handle it all. It will take some learning to get the full potential out of After Effects, but you’ll be rewarded with nearly limitless visual effects options.  

Animation

  • Winner: After Effects
  • Why: After Effects has been a go-to platform for animators for years, and for a good reason. After Effects has made a special point to build in tools that animators love and allow them to create everything from 2D stick figure animations to immersive 3D creatures. Additional animation plugins expand After Effects animation capabilities, making this platform extremely versatile. 

Color Correction

  • Winner: DaVinci Resolve
  • Why: This is what DaVinci Resolve was made for, and it shows. Few other programs on the market offer such a wide range of professional color correction tools. DaVinci Resolve is still the preferred platform for many professional color correctors thanks to its ability to seamlessly integrate with color correction control hardware and the ability to refine color down to the pixel. 

G2 Rating

  • Winner: Tie
  • Why: G2, one of the most trusted sources for software reviews, rated both Adobe After Effects and DaVinci Resolve as a solid 4.6/5 stars. This shows how, when it comes to user satisfaction, both these programs largely hit the mark. 

Capterra Rating

  • Winner: DaVinci Resolve (barely)
  • Why: Capterra users rated After Effects as 4.5/5 stars, while DaVinci Resolve got a slightly higher 4.8/5. Like the G2 ratings, these close rankings show how excellent both programs are and how satisfied users on both sides generally are. 

Pricing

  • Winner: DaVinci Resolve
  • Why: Adobe uses a subscription-based (SaaS) pricing model. The cost per month for After Effects alone is $20.99, but it can also be bundled with other Creative Cloud programs for a reduced rate.

    DaVinci Resolve, however, has a “standard” version that is available for free and includes a surprising amount of more advanced features. If you want the full package, the Studio edition is available for a one-time fee of $299 and includes free access to upgrades as they become available. Because of this, we’re declaring DaVinci Resolve a clear winner on price. 

Who is DaVinci Resolve Best Suited For?

  • Professional Color Correction: DaVinci Resolve is still a standout program for advanced color correction tools. It seamlessly integrates with professional color correction hardware and has the best functionality to get ultra-precise color grades every time. 
  • Editors: Whether or not you color correct full-time, DaVinci Resolve’s advanced color correction tools are more or less essential for professional editors to at least have access to for more fine-tuned color correction or color grades for their projects. Plus, with access to color grade presets, you can effectively automate your color correction process. 

Who is After Effects Suited For?

  • Animators: After Effects is a great platform for animators looking to assemble an animation project from start to finish or simply looking to build individual animated assets to add to other projects. 
  • VFX Artists: If you’re passionate about visual effects, chances are, After Effects is one of the first names you’ve come across for professional-grade VFX. Whether you’re adding muzzle flashes or portals to a different world, After Effects really tries to ensure that the only limits to what you can do within the program are your imagination. 

So, Which One Should You Choose?

These programs are largely divided when it comes to their functionality. If you’re looking to do more color correction work, DaVinci Resolve is the clear winner. Similarly, if your focus is on animation and other assorted visual effects, you’re likely going to lean towards After Effects. 

Something that should be noted, however, is that both of these programs are excellent compliments to other non-linear editing programs such as AVID Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro. They both offer advanced editing features that the basic color correction or visual effects tools in these programs can’t match. 

If you’re already using Adobe Premiere Pro, consider upgrading to the full Creative Cloud package to gain access to After Effects and a host of other Adobe creative programs for a fraction of the cost. Then, download the free version of DaVinci Resolve to extend your color correction toolkit for no additional cost. 

If you’re a professional editor, you’ll likely end up with both of these platforms at some point or another, so it’s good to be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of each to better utilize them in your workflow. 

Hopefully, this head-to-head comparison will make choosing the right software for your next project a breeze, allowing you to unleash your creative energy and focus on telling the stories that matter the most to you through stunning images. 


If you’re looking for a better way to bring your remote editing team closer together and collaborate more efficiently from a distance, check out Evercast. Evercast allows you to stream your edit sessions in HD while video chatting and exchanging notes with your team, all under one platform. Because we believe collaboration is the magic behind the movies.

Evelyn Trainor-Fogleman

Website
Evelyn Trainor-Fogleman is a writer based in New York City. After over half a decade in the film industry, she came back to her Journalism roots to write for a variety of media outlets about subjects including technology, business, marketing, and social and environmental justice.

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