Animation is the process of generating animated images and pictures using graphics. Animation is based on digital stop motion techniques using 3D models and frame to frame animation using 2D models. 3D animation is used for various purposes like creating games/movies, creating characters, adding voice overs to the characters, etc. In this article we will only look at some of the best 3D animation software out there.
Best 3D Animation Software (Some are Free)
1. 3ds Max
Autodesk 3ds Max also known as 3D Studio or 3D Studio Max is one of the best commercial animation software. It is used for making 3D animations, games, images and models. For its modeling and animation tool it features dynamic simulation, a customizable user interface, different kinds of shaders,particle systems, radiosity, normal map creation and rendering, its own scripting language global and illumination. It has a flexible plugin architecture and modeling capabilities. It can though only be used on the Microsoft Window, it is not available for any other operating system.
Blender is a free and open-source 3D animation software. It is used for creating animated films, art, 3D models, games, visual effects and motion graphics. Some of its key features include 3D modeling, texturing, graphics editing, fluid and smoke simulation, particle simulation, soft body simulation, sculpting, animating, match moving, rigging and skinning, motion graphics, video editing, compositing and rendering. It’s previous version also featured an integrated game engine but it’s removed from new versions. It works with operating systems such as Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, DragonFly BSD and Haiku.
MotionBuilder is a 3D character based animation software. It’s produced by Autodesk. It’s used for motion capture, keyframe animation and virtual cinematography. Motionbuilder is used in multimedia projects like films, games, television production, etc.
It features include Facial and skeletal animation, Support for motion capture devices, Ragdoll physics, Inverse kinematics and 3D non-linear editing system. It also provides features which allows you to edit videos.
4. Cinema 4D
Cinema 4D is a 3D animation software which can also be used for modeling, animation, motion graphics and rendering. It’s features include procedural and polygonal/subd modeling, animating, lighting, texturing. It’s powered by OpenGL.
It features an LOD tool which lets users to simplify objects based on their distance to the camera and other factors. It works with only Linux and Windows operating systems.
Clara.io is a web-based free animation software. It’s features include Polygonal modeling Constructive solid geometry, Key frame animation, Skeletal animation, Hierarchical scene graph, Texture mapping and Photorealistic rendering.
It also includes keyframe animation. You only need an Internet connection for this and you can access it anywhere, no matter which operating system you are using.
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In this article we learned what is 3D animation, and what are the best 3D animation softwares available in the market. Users can choose different animation software based on their preferences, working styles and operating systems. While some of these are paid and some of these are free you can choose based on your level. Most of these are easy to use and can be easily learned by anyone.