Choosing 3D Animation Software

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by SMM, Nov 10, 2006.

  1. SMM macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    I want to choose software to doing animation. This is for an entry-level person who has about $1000 to spend. I am looking for the best combination of 'ease of use' and sophistication as ability increases. There is more than sufficient hardware resources to run just about anything. Availability of templates and libraries would be of special interest as well, and could be viewed as separate additional purchases.

  2. redrabbit macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2006
    What system are you running it on? I learned on Maya PLE but it's not a Universal binary as of yet so I wouldn't reccomend that. Wings3d is great for modeling and Blender is great for all around (and they're both FREE). Those two are great to learn on.
  3. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2003
    Depending on what you want to do there are several routes you can take. For your budget you have several options.

    Carrara Pro 5 (UB) with edu pricing
    Bryce 6 ( pricing is pretty good right now $6)
    Hexagon 2 from is only $105
    Animation Master is cheap
    Maya LE is free as mentioned above.

    I am learning Carrara Pro 5 after dabbling with Animation Master and like the interface with Carrara more. I have tried Blender (free) and the learning curve on the free stuff seems too high. I like having tutorials that come with a product you have paid money for. There seems to be more help that way. I could be wrong in that impression.
  4. SMM thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    Thanks for the replies. A little more information -

    I have two PM G5 dualies and a MP 2.66. I also have FCS and Quake. I HAD a copy of Lightwave, but recently discovered it was not legal. So, I removed it from my system. I really did not have much time to spend learning LW. I have been more focused on shooting film and editing. Now I want to expand my knowledge and animation has been something that has always been in my future plans.

    Someone, who really knew lightwave well, gave me a day-long demonstration of the product. But, as with many things, watching and doing it yourself are miles apart. I did not find it intuitive. I think the copy I had was 7.x and I see there is a revision level 9. I was going to buy it, but then thought about seeking advise first. That is why I am here.

    I do not mind spending money for the right product. I get $3500 per year from my company as a training budget. Right now I have it all intact and it is renewed each July. But, I am keeping $2500 in reserve for the new release of Final Cut Studio (or whatever it will be called). That is why I have a $1K target price.

    I am in total agreement about the importance of training books/CD's as well as an enthusiastic user base. The SW you mentioned, how would it compare with lightwave?
  5. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2003
    I am not sure what I mentioned is compatible with lightwave. LW is fairly high end stuff and most of what I mentioned except for Maya is low end. I forgot to mention Cinema 4D and Strata. They are higher end and Cinema 4D seems to be a competitor to Lightwave. What type of 3D are you looking to produce? Carrara Pro seems more of an all in one solution. You can do modeling, terrain, sky, landscape, and import poser models. That is why I chose it after trying animation master. Carrara Pro comes with a fairly nice library of stuff and the option of bringing in Poser models seemed a nice touch. I did not want to be limited to only Poser. I wanted the option of making my own stuff and using a poser item if only needed as a quick fix while learning. is a good place to start. You can download Daz3d software for free to get started. It is not much good for much but fun to goof around with.
  6. ATD macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2005

    I used Lightwave for 6 months and didn't find it intuitive at all. Cimema 4D is a program I hear many really like. It fits your budget and from what I understand pretty good. I use Maya Unlimited, it's powerful and amazing program however it's not in any way cheap or easy. Any good 3D program takes a lot of time to understand, it took me years to get a good handle on Maya and thats after I spent years in other 3D programs.

    Don't forget to budget for training also.

  7. moajdev macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2006
  8. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    3D Studio MAX
    Maya PLE
    Lightwave 3D


    try Blender3D it's free :D
  9. fivetoadsloth macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2006
    I agree with this, and alot of the daz products have a really nice learning curve, you get results really quickly and as you get better it really shows. THey do however have there limits but most people that use it just as a hobby wont get there that quickly
  10. gdetails macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2006
    Need help

    I am a Mac G5 dual user with Photoshop/Illustrator/Dreamweaver years of experience and am now being asked by a client to take the photos of people doing exercises and replace with human looking models that can be easily manipulated. Is the software I want Poser 6? Is the learning curver really steep? Is there another application that is better for "people maniupulation"?

    Thanks in advance.
  11. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2003
    I am working on Poser 5 as I type. You could look at Poser 6 soon to be 7 it allows for insertion of backgrounds so you could insert your photos. You could also look at Carrara Pro or their lesser version I forget what it is called. I am learning Carrara Pro with Poser together. I have been working on that for a few weeks now. Carrara Pro is steep to learn and pricey compared to Poser. You could demo them both and see what you think. There are other solutions but Poser might be the easiest way to accomplish what you want to do. Poser can be had cheap new on eBay for less than $100. Carrara 3D basics is only $99 but is the newer version. You can see that at the web site.
  12. mrdice87 macrumors member

    Aug 30, 2006
    ahhh... the goal of politicians everywhere :D

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