TOP 5 3D ANIMATION SOFTWARE YOU SHOULD ABSOLUTELY KNOW ABOUT

3D Animation Software. Top 5

When looking for the right 3D animation software, it’s crucial to find the right tool. So, you ask colleagues for advice, look through the specialized magazines and software advertisements in order to make the right choice. But what you really need is a clear understanding what exactly you’ll be using the software for, the lever of expertise in 3D Animation, as well as time and money you are willing to invest into learning and purchase. Based on this, you’ll be able to make an educated choice.

So, to make your life easier, and the work process – smoother, get acquainted with the top 5 choices of Animation.

3D Animation Software: Top 5

Market Leader #1. Cinema 4D

The program was developed by MAXON Computer GmbH. This 3D Animation software was created for Amiga computers. However, with time the company developed versions which work on Windows and Mac platforms. There are 4 versions available on the market: Prime, Broadcast, Visualize and Studio. Prime is a good choice for beginners, having less features and therefore being easier to master. Broadcast version includes advanced animation toolkit as well, while Visualize  has excellent features necessary for quality modeling and rendering of static images. Cinema Studio combines the features of all the three versions. In this article, we’ll mainly concentrate on the beginner’s choice – Cinema 4D Prime.

3D Animation Software: Cinema 4D

 

The Use

Cinema4D is popular for Cinema, TV, Advertising and Architecture spheres. As for the films, the software was used for creation of Beowulf, Chronicles of Narnia, Iron Man 3 to name but a few. The 3D Animation Software was also used to create such TV commercials as for Eviivo and Adidas.

Among the example totally worth mentioning of the Use of 4D Cinema is the creation of graphics for The Totally Rad Show and Age of Persuasion.

Cost

The software is available at the price of around $ 3 700.

3D Modeling Features

Cinema 4D includes wonderful toolkits for both polygonal and procedural modeling. It is possible to create practically any shape you like, whether realistic or abstract. One feature Cinema4D is particularly appreciated for is BodyPaint 3D, which allows to paint  on UVW meshes. As well as that, Cinema4D can boast of smart UV tools, Optimal Mapping & LSCM Unwrapping, extensive choice of painting and texturing tools.

3D Animation Features

Cinema4D is particularly appreciated for soft and rigid body dynamics, rigging, PyroCluster, character animation, cloth simulation, particle simulations.

Learning Curve

The interface is intuitive and rather easy to learn, especially with the multitude of free tutorials available on the Internet.

Types of Files Supported

Here are only some of the file extensions Cinema4D supports: tiff, psd, tga, dpx, bmp, pict, iff, jpeg, png, avi, .3ds, .dae, dxf, dwg, fbx, iges, stl, .obj.

Market Leader #2. 3Ds Max

3Ds Max was developed and is owned by Autodesk Media and Entertainment. It runs on  Microsoft Windows platform only.

The use

This 3D Animation Software is mostly used for creation of video games, commercials, cinematic effects and for architectural rendering. 3Ds Max has been used in film for a while, so the list of examples could go forever. We’ll narrow it down to such 5 iconic movies, as Alice in Wonderland, House of Flying Daggers, Iron Man, The Matrix Reloaded, The Truman Show.

3D Animation Software: 3Ds Max

Cost

A monthly subscription costs $185.00 in the USA, and the yearly one – $1,470.00.

Modeling Features

3Ds Max supports Polygonal Modeling, Spline and NURBS tools. It has an extensive library of different modifiers which speed up the modeling process. As well as that, 3D modeling toolkit includes UV mapping, Mesh and surface modeling, texturing and shading, Point Cloud Support, Placement tools.

Animation Features

Among the most appreciated features of the software is enhanced animation performance, skinning, animation controllers, Camera Sequencer, character animation, general animation, animated deformers and many others.

Learning Curve

The layout of 3ds Max is known as user-friendly, although if the person is new to 3D Animation Software, getting accustomed takes time.

Types of Files Supported

The software supports the following types of files: avi, bmp,cws ,dds, flc, gif, ifl, jpeg,png,psd,rla ,rpf,sgi,rgb,tiff, yuv, 3ds,prj, shp, ai,dwg, dxf, iges, fbx, ls, stl, wrl, wrz, ase, fbx, iges.

Market Leader #3. Blender

Blender was developed by Neo Geo Studio and is owned by the Blender foundation. The 3D Animation Software runs on Microsoft Windows, MacOS and Linux.

 The use

Blender is mainly used for game creation. Most importantly, it includes a complete game engine which allows to create a full 3D game. As examples of commercially successful 3D games created with Blender, we may cite Color Cube, Dead Cyborg, Nicoles Nel’s collection.

Furthermore, Blender is rather popular in the Cinema Industry. It was used in creation of Spider-Man 2, Friday or Another Day, The Secret of Kells and many others.

3D Animation Software: Blender

Cost

This is one of the incontestable advantages of Blender: it is available for free.

Modeling Features

Blender has a wide range of options for material creation such as Complete Node and Full Customization Support. It supports a lot of geometric primitives, among which polygon meshes and NURBS surfaces. Additionally, it offers physically correct shaders, for instance, glass, translucency. Most importantly, it has powerful built-in 3D sculpting features.

Animation Features

Blender has a multitude of useful Animation features. For instance, Armature Modifier, Audio Playback, the Non-Linear Animation editor, Character animation pose editor, Particles, Fluid, Smoke, Hair, Cloth and Rigid Body and Dope Sheet.

Learning Curve

Learning Blender is not an easy task, but positively rewarding. For if you master this software tool, you’ll benefit from its numerous customization options.

Types of Files Supported

Blender supports the following file extensions: sgi, .rgb, .bw, .png, .jpg .jpeg, .jp2 .jp2.j2c, .tga, .cin .dpx, .exr, .hdr, .tif .tiff.

Market Leader #4: Maya

Maya has been developed by Alias Systems Corporation. It now belongs to Autodesk, Inc. A practical feature is that Maya works on Microsoft Windows, MacOS as well as Linux platforms.

The use

The 3D Animation Software is widely used in Cinema Industry, game development as well as TV. The most renowned films it was used for are The Matrix, Spider-Man and Avatar. Furthermore, Maya was used in such iconic cartoons as Finding Nemo, Frozen and Rango. Maya was also a software of choice for special effects creation for series Once Upon a Time, Bones and Walking Dead.

3D Animation Software: Maya

Cost

The software comes at a price, and the cost of subscription is around 1.936,00 € a year. Though the price seems high, many users assure it’s a good investment.

Modeling Features

Most noteworthy, the modeling Toolkit of Maya includes a particularly sophisticated rigging workflow, symmetry modeling and an extensive UV toolkit. As well as this, it is important to mention  that Maya has sculpting tools.

Animation Features

Maya offers users a rich selection of animation tools, among which we can name Fluid Simulator, Cloth Simulation, nCloth, nParticle,Camera Sequencer, Hair, Fur, Particle, Composite, grease pencil, camera sequencer, weight distribution and a choice for more complex projects – motion tracking tools.

Learning Curve

Owing to the number of options available, the layout might seem rather complex for learning.

Types of Files Supported

Maya supports the following files with the following extensions: .ma, .mb, .mel, .obj, .wav; .aif; .aiff, .mov, .eps, .ai, .mcfi, .apf, .wire, .prt, .asm, .stp, .step, stlm, .stla; .stlb, .iges, .igs, .dwg, .dxf, .ipt, .iam, .flt, .fbx, .FBX, .dae, .stl, .iges, .igs.

Market Leader #5: SideFX (Houdini)

SideFX was developed by Side Effects Software, Canada. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms, and has a reputation for extremely high-quality graphics.

The use

Houdini is a 3D Animation Software of choice when it comes to creation of cinematic effects. For instance, this software was used for Frozen and Zootopia. Moreover, it is used in commercials and video games development – like “Suki and the Shadow Claw”.

3D Animation Software: SideFX

Cost

SideFX is a payable software. The price is $2995 for local access, while workstation license costs $ 1995.

3D Modeling Features

The Modeling toolkit of SideFX is not so rich, but it contains everything necessary.  Users can find here all the essential geometry: Polygons, NURBs, Bézier, Metaballs and so on. Owing to the incredibly performant rendering engine, it creates extremely realistic pictures.

Animation Features

Though SideFX is considered a professional tool, it is often reproached the absence of additional features that make the image attractive – time warping, for instance, or stereoscopic rendering. However, you can find here all the basics functions.

Learning Curve

Houdini has a reputation for a complicated interface, so learning learning it won’t be easy.

Types of Files Supported

Houdini supports an impressive quantity of files, among which are .geo, .poly, .bpoly, .d, .rib, .vdb, .abc, .dxf,  .lw, .lwo, .obj, .iges, .igs, .stl, .ply, .pc, .pic, .rgb, .tif,  .yuv, .pix, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .bmp, .hdr, .ies, .qtl, .tx, .tex, .env.

3D Animation is an exciting and sophisticated process which can be conducted with help of many different 3D Animation software packages. Take into account all the criteria and may your working process be smooth and productive, and the output – of the highest quality possible.

If you decide to reduce time you’d normally spend on 3D models creation and outsource the task – ArchiCGI will be happy to help. We’ll provide you with high quality 3D Modeling Services, within the shortest time possible and at reasonable prices. Contact us via Registration form on our site and begin saving time for new exciting projects!

 

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