Animation is a fantastic skill to have in the modern world because the demand for 3D artists and animators is higher than ever before due to the ever-increasing amount of film and TV content. You can create characters, landscapes, and entire worlds – the possibilities are endless. Finding the best 3D animation software is vital for animators working on films, TV series, visual effects and architectural visualizations. But which 3D animation software is best for you?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best 3D animation software for you. The available features, usability, and applications differ depending on the software you choose, so it’s important that you know all your requirements. Of course, you also need to consider the price. In this article, we recommend the best software tools for you, including both the most powerful paid software and the best free 3D animation software. Whether you’re a beginner starting from scratch or an experienced pro, you can find the perfect software for you on this list.
Blender is an open-source 3D animation software that can be used for every stage of the 3D pipeline, from modeling, rigging, animation, and simulation to rendering, compositing, motion tracking and video editing. It also supports 2D animation. Blender can be used for a wide range of applications, including advertisements, animated feature films, TV series, etc. It offers a number of high-quality tools, such as envelope, skeleton and automatic skilling, B-spline interpolated bones, etc. Overall, it’s a great film 3D animation software tool, and great for developing moving 3D models for video games and other uses. You can also combine 2D and 3D right in the viewpoint, while the software has full animation support with Onion Skinning and layers and colors for stroke and fill.
Blender also supports input from motion capturing software. You can even use facial motion capture using markers painted onto actors’ faces. It offers excellent clothing simulation that can be manipulated by the armature for added realism. You can also combine live-action footage with animation seamlessly with this software. With its flexible python-controlled interface, you can easily customize the interface layout and colors and create your own tools and addons. Although Blender is a free 3D animation software, it’s still one of the very best around and is a viable alternative to top-paid software like Maya.
Autodesk’s Maya is widely regarded as the best 3D animation software, and with good reason. This high-quality software is widely used throughout Hollywood and has been used in blockbuster films. You can use the Bitfrost feature to procedurally create dazzling effects and build custom graphs or use ready-made ones for effects like explosions and weather. For creating characters and scenery, the Arnold feature is an advanced renderer that allows you to switch seamlessly between CPU and GPU. There’s also an easy-to-use auto-rig tool that can process quadrupeds and winged models.
Other useful features of this software include geodesic vortex binding for quickly producing production-ready characters, a native motion library plugin, and a range of automation tools for animation along curves and paths. It’s also great at modeling, texturing, lighting, and rendering, with a feature set including particles, hair and fluid simulations. Like other professional 3D animation software, Maya comes with a sophisticated CG compositing program, MatchMover. This allows you to combine 3D rendered elements and motion data from film sequences recorded on set by tracking the camera’s movement.
With a highly customizable, user-friendly interface, Maya isn’t reserved for professional animators, although this extensive software does take some time to master. As you can probably imagine, Maya doesn’t come cheap, with a one-year subscription costing $2,479. However, as the best 3D animation software on the market, it’s well worth the price. There’s also a 30-day free trial version available.
Cinema 4D, developed by Maxon, is a very powerful yet simple 3D animation software. Its intuitive interface makes it ideal for both beginners and experienced animators alike. And it offers a wide range of tools to help you achieve quality results. One of the best things about 4D Cinema is its easy learning curve. There are loads of tutorials to help you get to grips with things as well as a large, skilled community that can help first-time animators quickly develop their skills. There’s also a training site called Cineversity, which you get free membership to when you buy the software.
This easy 3D animation software is also renowned for its stability. All features and functions are thoroughly tested by the QA and Beta testers before being released. With this software you can easily keyframe any object, material or tag parameter, and there’s also automatic keyframing to make things even simpler. You can also use the software’s effectors, tags and expressions to animate without keyframes, and you can create your own expressions in Cinema 4D’s node-based XPresso Editor.
The standalone 3D animation version of Cinema 4D costs $719 a year, while the full package with all Maxon products is $1,199. Overall, it’s a great easy 3D animation software that even beginners will be able to use.
Houdini is an industry-leading software that is popular for 3D animation, visual effects and game development. It is widely used by large VFX companies, including Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks and Sony Pictures, to create 3D imagery. This software, developed by SideFX, is designed around a node-based workflow with a procedural modeling approach that allows you to generate almost everything from terrains to complex characters procedurally. This helps animators work freely, create multiple iterations and easily share workflows with colleagues.
Houdini has some brilliantly intuitive, artist-friendly tools. You can easily create biped and quadruped 3D characters with the auto-rig tool, while the procedurally generated fluids and particles add realism. You can also carry out complex crowd simulations and create highly accurate 3D animations with the software’s built-in muscle simulation pipeline. Overall, Houdini allows you to create incredibly high-quality animations with unparalleled flexibility.
There are four plans for Houdini – FX, CORE, Indie, and Apprentice. The Apprentice version is free and is designed for hobbyists, while the Indie version is best for independent animators and costs $269 a year. The CORE and FX packages, designed for professional animators, cost $1,995 and $4,495 a year respectively.
Another Autodesk product, 3DS Max is a popular 3D modeling and rendering software that’s used for animation, game development, visual effects and architectural visualization. 3DS Max boasts comprehensive 3D animation capabilities, including two separate character animation tools. The Character Studio is designed to create bipedal characters, while the CAT tool allows you to rig and animate non-human characters. These both provide ready-made yet customizable character rigs that can be skinned with the Physique or Skin modifiers and are compatible with motion capture file formats. There’s also Populate, a self-contained crowd simulation system.
Another useful tool is the 3DS Max Fluids, which allow you to create realistic liquid behaviors like water, oil and lava, and can also be used to replicate gravity and collision effects. Other animation tools include wire parameters that link any two object parameters in the viewpoint, a motion mixer that allows you to combine motion data for biped and non-biped objects, and linked hierarchies that can be used to animate a number of objects or bones at once.
This Windows 3D animation software will set you back $2,488 for a year-long subscription, and there’s a free trial if you want to try the software out before purchasing it.
In the end, we hope that this article can give you some ideas of some 3D animation software that are highly appreciated and widely used on the market, from that you can find the one that suits you best regarding its features and prices. Besides, in today’s article, we also want to reveal to you one of the Best cloud render solutions that will help you to take full use of the power of these 3D animation software and its rendering engines to boost your rendering time significantly from ten to hundred times faster. It’s iRender Cloud Rendering Service.
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Reference source: 3dsourced.com