Although you require a lot of technical skills and expertise to master 3D animation software, advancements in technology have been helping enthusiasts. The best 3D animation creator and maker software packages are very easy to work with. They are also intuitive and interactive. However, purchasing 3D animation software is a major investment and you need to consider a lot of factors.
Since purchasing high end 3D animation software is a long term commitment, you will have to live with your decision for a long time. There are many software packages which offer basic animation and modeling tools. However, their specialized tool sets may be unique and diverse. Once you’ve learnt all the specialized tool sets, you may not want to move over to another application. Therefore, you need to make a choice carefully.
What should You Look for in a 3D Animation Software?
Every product you use should be intricate and powerful. The ones we have reviewed below are some of the best 3D animation software. Therefore, choosing between them can seem overwhelming. In order to help you make a choice, let us explain some basic things you should look for in a 3D animation software.
Modeling Features - There are a lot of different modeling styles, including subdivision, polygon and NURBS. A lot of 3D animation software specialize in subdivision and polygon modeling styles. However, some of the best packages also offer NURBS. This is an excellent modeling style to build organic, smooth surfaces necessary for creating objects like cars. You should also take a look at the soft-selection tool for accurate and easy modeling.
It is always better to choose a software which can simulate a lot of materials, like fur, muscle, liquid, hair and skin. Such materials can help you create more believable characters and settings for particular animations. If they’re available in your software package, your work will be a lot easier.
Animation Features - If you have the right features, your characters can easily come to life even in the animation stage. You should try to choose software packages with support for multiple layers of animation. There should also be additional tracks for audio effects.
Intuitive User Interface - Unless you’re an expert, you need to choose a software which has an intuitive interface. This will allow you to find everything within the software without using any manuals. An easy to understand workspace will help you use your skills in a much better way.
Extensibility - The 3D animation software you choose should have the capacity to extend over different platforms. Moreover, you should also be able to extend it with scripts and plugins. This will provide you with the freedom to add features and functions according to your needs and requirements.
Some of the Best 3D Animation Software
Here is an overview of some of the best 3D animation software available in the market :
Autodesk 3DS Max - This is one of the most reputed 3D animation software. Although it is the most balanced software, it may not be a definitive animation software. Until a few years ago, the Havok physics engine, character studio, fur effects, particle effects and facial morphs were very impressive. But in recent months, it has been unable to meet the competition.
In case you’re looking for a program which only focuses on animation, Autodesk 3DS Max may not be your best choice. However, it is still one of the most balanced software packages in the market. Moreover, it also comes with compositing software, which is an added advantage.
Autodesk 3DS Maya - Maya was acquired by Autodesk in 2005. Originally, it was rumored that Maya would definitely become the best 3D animation software in the industry. However, it wasn’t long before 3D Studio Max took over the competition. Until this day, both of them coexist in the market.
3D Studio Max offers a lot more features than Maya in the gaming industry. However, when it comes to basic animation, Maya is still much better than 3D Studio Max. It has a very easy to use interface. Moreover, it also has a Cloth & Particle Physics engine for all kinds of simulation needs. Live motion tracking tools also give it a major competitive advantage over other software packages.
Cinema 4D - This software package has been used by a lot of big-budget Hollywood movies in the past. If you take a look at all the features offered by this software, you will understand its enhanced efficiency. Unlike other software packages, Cinema 4D offers a complete 3D art package that is capable of performing almost every function.
LightWave 3D - This has always been a leading animation, modeling and rendering software package. It has been often used by many commercial advertising companies, television shows and movies. Since Autodesk has always been popular among big firms, most of the freelance artists and designers use LightWave 3D. LightWave has an integrated toolset which makes it easier to work with.
Poser - Until the late 1990s, Poser was quite ahead of most other companies in 3D graphics. Currently, it has been unable to compete with multiple features offered by other software packages. But if you want a software which helps you easily animate different 3D characters, Poser can be a good choice. It also has a free library of base animal and human meshes. Even if you plan to use other complicated 3D animation software in future, Poser can be a good choice to polish your animation skills.
For every animator, it is extremely important to understand the complexities associated with world creation. In order to create new worlds, you will have to master a lot of different toolsets and functions. The best 3D animation software packages always provide you with all the power you need to create realistic characters and get every idea out of your head. With a good software, you will be able to build and create beautiful worlds on your own.