This idea has been with me since I was a kid learning card tricks. The purist in me never liked some special custom-made gimmick or some thing that essentially made the trick possible. Because suddenly, now I’m relying on that gimmick everywhere I go. Now I can’t perform if I don’t have that gimmick.
The same holds true in my professional life. And instead of gimmicks for magic tricks, it’s plugins for applications. They might seem cool at first and give you some ability you didn’t have with the stock version of the software, or save you a bunch of time in creating a custom look or help you deliver an effect on a tight deadline.
However, in the end, just like with card tricks, now you’re stuck relying on this plugin that now you can’t live without. And even worse, if you’re working on a team and need to hand off a project to another team member, they can’t work on the project unless they have all the same plugins you have.
Just a minor, technical note: for the sake of this article and the naming conventions used by different softwares and companies, I’m using the term ‘addon’ and ‘plugin’ interchangeably. There very well may be a technical difference between the two terms, but Premier and After Effects call them plugins and Blender calls the addons. They’re almost the same thing to me.
Of course there can be exceptions with regard to my ‘purist’ view on the idea of this subject. One is the nature of the plugin, and Blender definitely falls into its own category when it comes to plugins/addons. Especially since it comes with its own addons panel in the preferences menu, addons are an integral part of Blender. Plus you can bake or otherwise export things that you make using addons into a filetype or object that anyone else can import and use. The addons are limiting in that way.
Paid addons for Adobe products on the other hand, have the potential to cause issues. If you’re on a team and need to make some minor changes to a project, but don’t have the addons, now you’re in trouble. Plus you might even run into licensing issues, depending on the plugin.