Ever since the creation of the first animated film Fantasmagorie, the field of animation has undergone several changes. The animation market has witnessed phenomenal growth over the years. The pandemic has only provided further impetus to its growth. Studies indicate that the 3D animation market might experience a compound annual growth rate of about 11.7% from 2021 to 2028. Pretty interesting, isn’t it? So, it’s very natural for people to opt for a career in the field of animation. However, to make a mark in the field of 3D animation, you need to know about the various 3D animation software programs that are available in the market at present.
3D Animation: The Art Of Breathing Life Into Lifeless Characters
Before you learn about the different 3D animation software programs, you must have a clear idea about 3D animation. So, what is 3D animation?
To put it simply, it is how you can breathe life into lifeless objects and characters. It is also how you can tell a story using visual effects and animate sceneries, landscapes, and so on. So, the task of animators involves animating an object or several creatures and/or other elements. This is how animators tell interesting stories in games and in movies too.
If you want to pursue a career in the field of animation, you need to learn how to animate. You need to practice a lot before you create movies, animated feature films, or participate in game development. Also, you must know about the various animation tools and 3D animation software. Once, you have gathered knowledge about these, you can then choose the best 3D animation software for yourself.
Factors Responsible For The Increasing Popularity Of 3D Animation
Let us now look at the various driving forces responsible for the growing popularity of 3D animation. The role of technological advancements is the most important driving force behind the growth of the 3D animation sector. Plus, the demand for 3D animation in other sectors like the manufacturing sector, the advertising sector, the entertainment business, and so on, is on the rise. This also accounts for the growing popularity of the 3D animation sector. The pandemic has also fuelled its growth to some extent.
The Basics Of Using Animation Tools And 3D Animation Software
So, how to breathe life into an object using 3D animation software?
To begin with, you have to create a 3D model. Once you’ve made it, you need to design it carefully and add colors to it to make it visually appealing. Then, you have to use other features like rigging, motion capture, and so on to make the object move and interact with the other elements. Having completed all these steps, you have to render the model, add background music or other effects, and your final product will be ready!
Choosing A Good 3D Animation Software For Beginners
There are plenty of options available when it comes to choosing the best 3D animation software for yourself. A lot of these programs come for free. You can also invest in the paid programs. Also, there are some programs that have a free version and a premium version too. Before choosing one for yourself, you need to be aware of your targets and the features that you need to enhance your animation skills. For instance, you may prefer a program that offers a user-friendly interface, an advanced renderer, HDR lighting support, and so on. Some people may prefer programs that offer tutorials for beginners. So, choosing the best 3D animation software for yourself depends entirely on you.
A Few More Pointers To Keep In Mind Before Learning 3D Animation
You also need to keep the following things in mind before you start animating:
- Ensure that your computer has adequate memory and RAM. This is important for the installation of the software of your choice. A lot of these applications need a minimum of 5GB disc space, excluding the memory needed for rendering.
- A computer with a good graphics card and processor will be helpful to you.
5 Free 3D Animation Software For Your Animation Projects
The following section contains a few free animation software that beginners can choose for their animation projects:
For a beginner, Blender is one of the best free 3D animation software. In comparison to a couple of other bestselling graphics software, Blender is equipped with a wide range of tools. Some of these tools are video editing, rendering, texturing, simulation, and many more.
Animators can use Blender to create animated movies, video games, and so on. You can use this open-source software for making short animated memes too! Also, several professionals tend to use this software to make three-dimensional architectural structures. To make 3D surfaces, you can make use of the masking feature and textured brushes available on Blender. Plus, Blender supports manual and automatic motion tracking.
If you’re looking for animation software that offers a strong rendering feature along with camera restoration and VR rendering, you can go for Blender.
2. Wings 3D
Wings 3D is an animation software that lets users learn how to animate easily within a brief span of time. This simple software is ideal for beginners and even for those who have budget constraints.
It comes with an in-built AutoUV mapping feature, a virtual mirror feature, and support for materials and lights effects. In addition, this software is equipped with advanced 2D and 3D modeling tools and animation tools. You will be able to create artwork digitally apart from creating animations. What’s more? You can interact with other users on a forum!
However, its interface is uninteresting and clunky.
3. Source Filmmaker
Source Filmmaker or SFM is another 3D animation software that a newbie animator can consider using. This software is available for free download. If you’re trying to make an animated film, this software will let you do so by using its Source Game Engine tool. If you want, you can use game assets in a film while using this software. In case you didn’t know, Source Filmmaker was used for making games like Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2, and so on.
It is equipped with a clip editor which you can use easily. You will also be able to arrange, edit, and record shots using its motion editors. Plus, its graph editor supports pose-for-pose animation.
K3-D is another animation software for beginners and it is completely free! Apart from the basic tools such as patches, curves, animation, and NURVS, K3-D supports polygonal modeling. Its intuitive interface will appeal to beginners. In addition, you can undo operations if you use K3-D. This feature makes this free 3D animation software a unique one.
Cascadeur comes for free. You can use it for non-commercial purposes as well. This software makes use of physics and deep learning techniques to animate an object. You can find a lot of tutorials on the official website of this software to learn more about it.
3 Paid Animation Software That Can Be Used To Create Realistic Animated Characters
Here are a few of the paid animation software that you can consider using:
Maya by Autodesk is paid software and it is widely regarded as the best choice for beginners. It is currently the best 3D animation software for beginners. Did you know that Maya was used in films of the Harry Potter franchise and in TV series such as Game of Thrones? It was also used in games such as God of War and Halo.
You can use it to create complex characters. You can also create animations with realistic movement and impart realistic effects. It comes with the Bitfrost feature and it lets you create custom graphs. It is also equipped with advanced rendering software known as Arnold. This feature will allow you to create scenery and characters. Its auto-rig tool can be used to create models of winged creatures, four-legged creatures, and so on.
It’s true that Maya comes with a host of features meant for creating characters and scenery but, it’s pricey. Plus, to use it you must have the requisite training.
2. Cinema 4D
Cinema 4D is one of the paid programs that beginners can use. It is used in motion graphics, advertisements, and so on. It comes with an array of preset scenes, objects, and materials. It also has an automatic keyframing tool.
3. Autodesk 3DS Max
It is one of the paid software that beginners can use to animate characters. It comes with tools like 3DS Max Fluids, which can be used to create realistic animations. Plus, it can be used for rendering and 3D modeling. Besides, it comes with numerous tools like perspective matching, dynamic simulation, particle animation, and so on.
Learning how to animate characters and objects in three-dimensional space isn’t easy. To master the art of 3D animation, you need to be focused. You also need to practice hard to develop your animation skills. In addition, you must learn how to use the requisite software rightly to create animations, films, games, and so on.
If you choose to master the art of animation, you will also get an opportunity to learn several skills associated with it. These skills include video editing, using computer graphics, imparting visual effects, and motion capture, to name a few. Mastering all these skills will surely help you in the long run in terms of choosing a career for yourself.
I hope this article helped you gain a better understanding of the tools that are used for creating animation. Do give this article a read too!