3D Animation Software Today

By: Benicio Brown

Individuals in need of state-of-the-art 3D modeling software, which is also capable of tasks such as animation and rendering solutions, have many options to choose from. What follows is just an example of what is readily available.

(The majority of these software vendors offer a free trial download of their products, making it easier to locate the package most suitable for the impending project or projects.)

Autodesk 3ds Max is a must have for those in search of a top notch 3D animation, modeling and rendering solution package. It is packed with features such as: data and scene management, modeling, polygon modeling and texting, character animations, hair and fur, prosound connectivity and integration and so much more.

This software is a particular favorite of individuals in the digital publishing, film, television and game developing industries.

A wide variety of plug-ins is available, for Autodesk 3ds Max. They go a long way in broadening the scope of what can be accomplished, with the program. Whether designers are in need of the latest fluids, atmospherics, rendering, cloth or animation plug-ins… chances are quite high that they can be located.

Maxon Cinema 4D was originally created, several years ago, for use with Amiga computers. Currently, there is both a Mac OS X and Windows version available. This software is often used by those in the film industry. In fact, it was used to create the blockbuster hits Polar Express and Monster House, to name just two.

There are several add-on modules that can be used with Cinema 4D. These include but are not limited to:

Sketch & Toon - used for cartoons and technical drawings

Hair - stimulates things such as grass, hair and fur

PyroCluster - smoke and fire simulator

MOCCA – cloth simulation and animation of characters

Because of the software’s easy to use interface, individuals who are new to the industry should be able to learn how to use it rather quickly.

Autodesk Maya is another award-winning and powerful software package, dealing with visual effects, animation and 3D modeling. It is suitable for a wide variety of projects.

Autodesk Maya provides users with a full-featured product and includes a comprehensive range of animation tools, 3D modeling and texturing tool sets, advanced visual effects tools, flexible rendering and customize software options.

New features include a new selection paradigm which means less chance of trial and error, improved workflow, Maya Assets (the best way to organize, share and present projects) and animation layering that allows greater flexibility when creating and editing all types of animation.

Softimage XSI (now referred to as Softimage 7.5) is an excellent choice for those interested in game production and visual effects. There are two versions available, original and advanced.

This software prides itself on the introduction of ICE or Interactive Creative Environment. ICE is a new platform used strictly to build tools and effects, by way of a node based paradigm.

Those who purchase Softimage 7.5 are privy to hundreds of hours of no cost video training, via the website. There is an informative online community available there, as well.

Newtek Lightwave 3D is another award-winning software program used by a variety of industries. It is responsible for creating special-effects for television and film. Notable projects include: Titanic, Babylon 5, Star Trek Voyager and Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius.

This full-featured package can also be used for projects such as print materials, industrial design, website creation, medical imaging and architectural design. It is available in MAC and Windows version.

Purchasing Lightwave 3D, from the Newtek site, entitles the buyer to a free one-year membership to the HardCORE program, which provides instruction and many other benefits to the user.

Blender 3D is a no-cost graphics and animation program capable of doing many of the same tasks as its counterparts. It boasts a unique user interface that makes it very easy to use.

Blender 3D has been made available under a general public license. Windows, MAC and Linux versions can now be downloaded, from the website.

This is a full-featured program that is frequently updated. It can handle tasks such as modeling, animation, rendering, texturing, nonlinear editing and compositing… just to name a few.

Once the program has been downloaded, users have access to a wide variety of tutorials and other information that will make using the software much easier. As with any type of software program, practice and familiarly is the key to success.

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