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3D Animation Software

Posted: June 07, 2009
r00ki
Which are the best 3d animation programs?
I need to find 5 industry standard 3D animation software for an assessment at college and I am having a bit of trouble finding them.

If anyone knows which are these computer animation programs it would be greatly appreciated.

cheers
Posted: June 07, 2009
3d artist gallery Andyba
Industry Standard 3d animation software
Or how many 3d artists like to call them - high-end animation software, click for details:
Autodesk 3ds Max - The most popular 3d software on Windows platform. Character Studio being a great character animation tool often used for animating computer games characters.
Autodesk Maya - The most used 3d software in Film industry.
Autodesk Softimage - By many users considered to have the best 3d animation tools. The latest version is famous for its ICE environment.
Autodesk Motion Builder - started as a motion capture data editor and now is an application dedicated to 3d character animation.
NewTek LightWave 3d - A mature and less expensive 3d animation software.
Cinema 4D - User friendly 3d animation software by Maxon.
SideFX Houdini - an advanced procedural 3d animation system renown for it's dynamics and particle effects.
Messiah Studio - or Project Messiah is a new 3d program with advanced animation tools used in Television, Feature Film and Game development.
Blender 3d - the most popular free and open source 3d animation software
Posted: October 22, 2009
Carl Cates
I would add blender 3d to this list. It has all the tools that the software you listed have and even more. The fact that it is free doesn't mean it is not up to the industry standard.
Posted: October 22, 2009
Artisto
Well Carl, while I agree with you that Blender is a really great 3d animation software and it has amazing 3d modeling and 3d animation tools, may be it's me but I don't know of any major 3d animation production studious that are using it. Besides there is one thing that all the industry standard 3d animation software have and Blender does not. It's custom hot keys. The ability to customize the software to your pipe lines and work-flow.

If the topic was The Best 3d Animation Software or even The Best Value 3d Animation Software, I would have placed Blender first in the list. But since it's industry standard I agree with Andyba. Wink
Posted: October 23, 2009
tokyo88
Thank you for great info!
But how to choose a 3d animation software?
what is the easiest 3D software to animate characters?
Is it Autodesk 3ds max ?
Posted: October 29, 2009
3d artist gallery Andyba
Here is a video tutorial on how to animate in 3ds max:


In my opinion it is easy to animate characters in 3ds max if you use the Character Studio Biped. But there are many other tools and applications that can be used to easily animate characters. One of these computer animation programs is the former Kaydara MotionBuilder now called Autodesk Motion Builder. Another program that has automatic skeleton creation and powerful animation tools is the former Softimage Xsi now known as Autodesk Softimage.
I will write bellow in detail about all these computer animation programs.

If you don't need professional 3d animation you can try something like Poser, it doesn't get easier than that.
Posted: October 30, 2009
Fiery
You forgot to mention Messiah it is a great 3d animation program with lots of unique animation tools that no other 3d animation package has.
Posted: January 16, 2010
3d artist gallery redho
Fiery, indeed they forgot the Messiah Studio - it is a very powerful 3d animation program. Please add it to the list. Also please add the Blender 3d to the list as well since it becomes at the moment one of the most popular computer animation applications.
Posted: January 16, 2010
lomix
Autodesk 3ds max
http://www.autodesk.com/3dsmax/
3ds Max is one of the most popular if not the most popular 3d animation software in the world. The program is largely used in computer games industry and architectural visualization. 3ds max is a successor of 3d Studio for Dos. The first version of 3ds max was called 3d studio max 1 and was created by Kinetix, a division of Autodesk. 3ds max is famous for having a huge amount of plugins that enhances it's usability. The latest version of 3ds max has the following features:
  • 3d modeling in 3ds max
    • Robust Spline & 2D Modeling Tools
      • Ready-to-use 2D shapes serve as starting points for creating editable splines and spline cages to convert to any 3D geometry type.
      • Deform, lathe, sweep, normalize spline, set spline render properties, and trim/extend with spline modifiers when modeling with the modifier stack.
      • Precise spline-based curve and surface construction tools include loft, beveling, one- and two-rail sweep, filet, cap, ruled, offset, extrude, mirror, lathe, and multisided blend.
      • Directly manipulate subobject geometry with a range of modifiers, Surface CV, such as Curve CV, and surface.
      • Attach, fillet, stitch together, align, extend, detach, or rebuild surfaces with a high degree of control over parameterization and continuity.


    • Polygon Modeling Tools (Edit mesh and Edit poly)
      • Efficiently create parametric and organic shapes and objects.
      • New Graphite modeling toolset delivers more than 100 tools for advanced polygonal modeling and freeform design.
      • Ready-to-use geometry includes standard and extended primitives and architectural elements, such as doors, windows, and stairs.
      • Create compound objects using the Scatter, Connect, Booleans, ShapeMerge, Morph, BlobMesh, Terrain, and Loft operations.
      • Creation and editing tools include create, collapse, attach, bridge, flip, hinge from edge, turn, cut, split, slice, quick slice, wedge, bevel, extrude, chamfer vertex, extrude along a curve, mirror, edge loop, and edge ring.
      • Convert parametric and compound objects to base geometric types―editable mesh, poly, patch, or NURBS objects―for more detailed editing.
      • Use the polygon/tri-mesh architecture to create, edit, and texture mesh models. These models can contain color-per-vertex, mapping, and selection channels and explicit normals, all of which can be animated in the modifier stack.
      • ProBooleans enable reevaluation and optimization of mesh topology. Quickly fracture geometry into smaller chunks with the ProCutter tool.
      • Use a large range of modeling modifiers to work with geometry and subobject geometry in the modifier stack, including Projection, Edit Normals, Vertex Paint, and those that let you bend, bevel, cap holes, cross section, displace, extrude, and subdivide polygons.


    • Subdivision Surfaces & Polygon Smoothing
      • Subdivision methods include NURMS Subdivision, which produces an object similar to a NURBS object, classic which like MeshSmooth produces three- and four-sided facets, and quad output, which produces only four-sided facets.
      • TurboSmooth, MeshSmooth, Tessellate, Subdivide and HSDS modifiers increase the resolution of objects or subobjects and offer controls specific to each technology.
      • Using MeshSmooth on polygon objects controls the polygon count of the final mesh for render optimization or level of detail.

    • Polygonal 3d model Optimization Tools
      • MultiRes and Optimize can reduce the resolution of objects while maintaining important characteristics.
      • Geometry cleanup and level-of-detail tools enable scene optimization for interactive display.
      • ProOptimizer enables precise control of the number of vertices or polygons in a 3d model or 3d scene. Useful polygons are removed last, so you can reduce a selection up to 75 percent without losing any detail.


  • 3d model Texturing and Shading in 3ds max
    • Texture Assignment and Editing
      • Includes a range of creative texture and planar mapping operations, including tiling, blur, mirroring, rotate, decals, angle, spline mapping, UV relaxation, stretching, Remove Distortion, Preserve UV, and UV template image export.
      • UV Map and UV Unwrap add texture coordinate manipulation tools into any object stack.
      • Use brushes, blend modes, fill, clone, and erase to paint directly onto 3D models in the viewport to create new maps or extend existing ones.
      • Pelt mapping defines custom seams and enables you to unfold UVs according to those seams. Other UV workflow features enable you to copy and paste materials, maps, and colors and quick-map boxes, cylinders, and spheres.
      • Work in the modifier stack with texture modifiers, including Camera Map, Material Modifier, UVW mapping modifiers, UV Xform, Map Scaler, and Surface Mapper.
      • Extensive UVW mapping tools enable direct manipulation of texture mapping coordinates.
      • Use the xView Mesh Analyzer to test or query for flipped or overlapping faces, unwelded vertices, missing maps, and object and Material IDs.
      • Up to 99 UV sets for texture layering.
      • Navigate and manage all rendering-related assets in a scene with the Material Editor.
      • Access the streamlined texture workflow for a material/map browser with support for drag-and-drop assignment and hierarchies with thumbnails, and to combine an unlimited number of textures.


    • Texture Baking
      • Render to Texture functionality bakes each object’s material and lighting into new texture maps.
      • Output per element allows generation of specific characteristics, such as diffuse color, height, normal, lighting, and mental ray ambient occlusion.

    • Material Design Workflow
      • Design and edit simple-to-complex shading hierarchies with the Material Editor.
      • Material and Map Navigator displays libraries of textures, images, and image swatches.
      • Great library of 3D procedural maps includes falloff, dent, marble, particle age, cellular, noise, particle motion blur, planet, stucco, wood, smoke, and waves.

  • 3d animation in 3ds Max

    • General Animation and Keyframing
      • Animate almost any parameter in your scene with an extensive range of keyframe and procedural animation tools.
      • Auto key and set key modes allow different keyframing workflows.
      • Intuitive and fast controls for keyframing such as copy/cut and paste helps to create animations easier.
      • The ability to view and adjust the animation paths directly in the viewport.

    • 3d Character Animation with Biped
      • Character Studio is an integrated set of animation tools that offer fast and intelligent biped and crowd animation functionality.
      • Animate bipedal characters with Footstep gizmos that represent and control the placement of IK constraints for locomotion.
      • Automated bipedal and quadrupedal character skeleton creation.
      • Add external objects to the biped with Xtras via FK chains that can be attached to any point, are parentable to any biped element, and can be animated in position and rotation.
      • Retarget the existing biped character animations onto bipeds/quadrupeds of differing structures.
      • Hands and feet can roll and rotate around points other than their base pivots with the intuitive FK/IK blending and IK pivot animation.
      • Control the physical forces acting on a character with biped spline dynamics tools. These tools can calculate biped airborne trajectory, knee bend on landing, and overall balance.
      • Use the Biped clip network interface for setting up transitions between motions and defining a sequence of movements.
      • A powerful copy-and-paste system stores, shares, and retrieves poses, postures, and tracks on whole bipeds or sets of objects therein, facilitating animation blocking and hand posing.
      • Edit, analyze, and modify biped animation based on high-level criteria, such as acceleration, spikes, and noise.
      • The integrated crowd system controls biped characters or any 3ds Max object, based on intelligent behavioral interactions, like goal seeking and avoidance.
      • Use Motion Flow with the crowd system to determine the animation behaviors the crowd-driven biped can choose from.
      • Script or write behaviors as C++ plug-ins. Move between behaviors based on any scriptable or programmable criteria using cognitive controllers.
      • Apply high-level tools for asset sharing, animation layering, and nonlinear editing.

    • Character Animation with Skeletons and Inverse Kinematics
      • Use all animation tools—including Expressions, scripts, list controllers, wiring, and other animation tools with utilities specific to bones to build rigs of any structure and custom controls.
      • Create custom skeletons for characters using 3ds Max bones, IK solvers, and rigging tools.
      • Reduce animation time with four powerful plug-in IK solvers:
        • Limb is a lightweight, two-bone inverce kinematics solver optimized for fast real-time interactivity and perfect for working with character legs and arms.
        • History-independent solvers offers smooth blending between FK and IK animation and use preferred angles for more control over the positioning of affected bones.
        • History-dependent IK solvers solve within joint limits and create machine-like animation.
        • Spline, is a flexible animation system with moveable nodes, efficient animation of skeletal chains such as tails and spines, and handy twist and roll controls.

    • Mesh Skining and Animated Deformations
      • You can create animated deformations with relax, displace, ripple, wave, bend, squeeze, skew, stretch, spherify, noise, twist and freeform modifiers.
      • Animated deformers work on all geometry types, including particles and can simulate fluidic effects and add life to creatures.
      • World Space modifiers operate at the top of the modifier stack and bind objects to animated world conditions such as forces, fields, surfaces and deflections.
      • Use the Skin and Phisique modifier to achieve smooth and precise control of mesh deformation as skeletal joints move, even in complex locations like shoulders.
      • Control skin deformation using direct vertex weights, volumes of vertices defined by envelopes, or both.
      • Apply the rigid bind skinning option to animate low-polygon models, or as a diagnostic tool for regular skeleton animation.
      • Use capabilities such as weight tables, paintable weights, and saving and loading of weights for easy editing and proximity-based transfer between models.
      • Modifiers, such as Skin Wrap and Skin Morph, can drive meshes with other meshes and make precise weighting adjustments in tricky areas.

    • Animation Layers and Motion Mixer
      • The nonlinear animation mixer supports biped and 3ds Max objects. Store libraries of motions for use with the animation mixer, and apply and retarget motions to single objects, entire characters, or specific sets of objects and tracks within characters.
      • Muting and soloing capabilities offer control over each animation sequence in isolation or in the context of other animations.
      • Animate biped and 3ds Max objects in layers, so you can target tweaks on even the densest of animation data without compromising the underlying keyframes.
      • Move intelligently and smoothly between motion clips based on the clip patterns.

    • Curve and Dope Sheet editors in Track View
      • Edit animation track-by-track by instancing via copying and pasting controllers.
      • Use curves to edit keyframe animation along the timeline track by track to more easily visualize the interpolation. Use limiting, curve modifiers and curve drawing tools for editing animation curves.
      • Edit keys in groups and ranges or individually with the Dope Sheet.
      • Scale, translate and slide individual keys or groups of keys in both time and value.
      • Organize complex animation into discrete entities for easier editing with Track Sets.
      • Precisely control dense animation using soft selection falloff and Reduced Keys that maintain the integrity of the original animation.
      • View animation before and after the current frame to evaluate object motion.
      • Load sound tracks into Track View for easy synchronization with target animation.



Posted: January 16, 2010
3d artist gallery Andyba
Autodesk Maya - 3d Animation Software
http://www.autodesk.com/maya/


Autodesk Maya animation overview:



Autodesk Maya, also known simply as Maya, is a software dedicated to the development of 3D graphics, special effects and animation. It arose from the evolution of Power Animator and the merger of Alias and Wavefront, two Canadian companies dedicated to computer graphics. Later Silicon Graphics, now SGI, the software giant, absorbed Alias-Wavefront, which eventually was absorbed by Autodesk.

Maya is characterized by its power and possibilities of expansion and customization of its interface and tools'. MEL (Maya Embedded Language) is the code that forms the core of Maya, and thanks to which you can create scripts and customize the package.

The program has several tools for 3d modeling, 3d animation, render, clothing and hair simulation, dynamic, fluid simulation, etc.

Maya is also the only digital 3D animation software credited with an Oscar thanks to the enormous impact it has had in the film industry as a tool for visual effects, with a widely used due to its high scalability and customization.

History of Maya 3d animation software

Maya is the culmination of three 3D software lines: Wavefront's The Advanced Visualizer in California, Thomson Digital Image -TDI, Explore in France and Alias Power Animator in Canada.

In 1993 Wavefront purchased TDI, and in 1995 Silicon Graphics Incorporated, SGI, purchased both Alias and Wavefront, due to pressure from Microsoft's purchase of Softimage earlier that year, and combined into one working company, the development of a single source code package.

In the mid-1990s, the most popular pipeline in Hollywood films was a combination of tools: Alias Studio for modeling, Softimage for animation, and PhotoRealistic RenderMan for rendering.

This combination has been used for numerous films such as Jurassic Park, The Abyss and Terminator 2: Doomsday. The merged company is called Alias-Wavefront. Took Alias Wavefront years after the merger to release Maya. Both Alias and Wavefront were working on their next generation of software at the time of the merger.

Alias had taken a Macintosh, "Alias Sketch!", And moved it to the SGI platform and added many features to it. The codename for this project was "Maya", the Sanskrit word for "illusion."

Maya was developed in close collaboration with Walt Disney Feature Animation, during production of Dinosaur, and the GUI was all customizable as a requirement of Disney so they could establish their own GUI and workflow based on decades of experience in animation.

This had a large impact on the openness of Maya and later also helped to become the industry standard software, since many facilities implement extensive proprietary customization of software to gain competitive advantage.

It was then decided to adopt the architecture of Alias 'Maya', merged with the Wavefront code.

In the early days of development, Maya used Tcl as a scripting language. After the merger, there was debate between those who supported Sophia, Tcl and Perl.

Sophia was much faster than the others and won. However, once error checking was added, ended up being equally slow.

After his release in 1998, Alias Wavefront discontinued all previous animation-lines including Alias Power Animator, encouraging consumers to upgrade to Maya.

It succeeded in expanding its product line to take over a lot of market share, with leading visual effects companies as Industrial Light and Magic and Tippett Studio switching from Softimage to Maya for animation software .

Alias-Wavefront later renamed to Alias. In 2003 Alias was sold by SGI to the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and the private equity firm Accel-KKR. In October 2005, Alias was sold again, this time to Autodesk, and on the 10th of January 2006, Autodesk completed the acquisition of Alias Maya, which is now known as Autodesk Maya.

Till the release of Autodesk Maya 2010 it was available in two versions: Maya Complete ", a basic version that included the modules for 3d modeling, 3d animation, render, dynamics and particles and "Maya Unlimited" - the most advanced version, which had all the modules from "Maya Complete" plus those of Fluids, Hair, Cloth, the new nCloth etc. In 2008 the Unlimited version was priced similar to most programs of this type, but tended to be significantly more expensive earlier.

When Autodesk bought Alias in October 2005 it pledged to continue the product line. At the time of purchase what users were asking was whether Autodesk Maya was to merge with other 3D software like 3D Studio Max. A subsequent interview clarified that they would remain as separate products. The acquisition was completed on 10 January 2006. Duncan Brinsmead development chief of Alias, now working in Autodesk, has developed with other developers the "Nucleus", a particle system, aimed at the dynamics of Soft Bodies, designed as multiplatform and multisoftware, later with opportunities to integrate with 3D Studio Max.

The most important feature of Maya is that it is open to third-party software, which can completely change the appearance of Maya. Maya can be transformed into a highly customized version of the software. Apart from its power and flexibility, this aspect was why only Maya was interesting to large studios that could write lots of custom code for their production, using the development kit that was included.

Autodesk Maya 2010 is available for the following operating systems: Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X and has the following features:
  • 3d modeling in Maya
  • 3d model Texturing and Shading in Maya
  • 3d animation in Maya


Dynamic simulation and particle effects in Maya:
Posted: January 16, 2010
3D news
Autodesk Softimage 3d animation software
http://www.autodesk.com/softimage/
Autodesk Softimage, known as Softimage XSI before it was was purchased by Autodesk from Avid, is a professional 3D computer graphics and animation program for 3d modeling, texturing, 3d animation, dynamics simulation and rendering of 3D objects. It finds its application mainly in the film, television and post production as well as in game development.

The animation software under the Softimage brand first came to the attention of a wider public, after the virtual dinosaurs in Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" were created with its help in 1993. Following the introduction of a new software architecture in 2000, the product under the brand Softimage XSI was expelled, the oprevious version was called Softimage 3D. In October 2008, the Softimage product line from Avid was acquired by Autodesk for 35 million U.S. dollars. Since then the product is called Autodesk Softimage.

Autodesk Softimage Mental Ray is used as the default rendering engine. But other renderers like 3Delight, luxrender or Indigo can be used through plug-ins, .
Studios

The following studios are using Autodesk Softimage in their production pipeline.
  • Capcom
  • Digital Domain
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • Industrial Light and Magic
  • Lionhead Studios
  • Ubisoft
  • Valve


Autodesk Softimage boasts a vast array of tools to increase the efficiency, improve the production time, and help the 3d artist get the most out of film, next-generation computer games and television pipelines.

  • 3d modeling in Softimage
    With the world's fastest subdivision surface modeler and intuitive tools that make 3D modeling feel like sculpting, Softimage's non-destructive environment lets the 3d artist focus on his art. A Gigapolygon core architecture that can push millions of subdivided polygons interactively lets the 3d artist scale any creations to unprecedented levels of detail. With Softimage, the 3d artist'll never have to wait for the 3D software to catch up to his imagination.

    Blazingly fast subdivision surface modeling
    Softimage has the world's fastest subdivision surface modeler, powered by the Gigapolygon core 3 so it is possible to work in real time at any mesh resolution. It is possible to continue to use all polygon mesh modeling tools on subdivided meshes - even animated characters - and move points directly on the subdivision surface. Enjoy working without speed, editing or geometry restrictions-Softimage can subdivide triangles, quads and n-sided polygons with all subdivision types, including mixed subdivision types for triangulated meshes.

    The Tweak Component Tool
    Tweak Component Tool is a all-in-one manipulation tool for fast and free 3d modeling. It allows to move, rotate, scale or translate points, edges and polygons - all with a single key. It is possible to also loop and range select any component or even slide any selection to exactly match its neighbour's position.

    The Softimage Gigapolygon Core 3
    The gigapolygon core in Softimage is the engine that moves millions of polygons in real-time and allows the 3d artist to non-destructively sculpt them without losing UVs, shapes, weight maps and skinning information. It offers a built-in advantage for next generation games and film pipelines that increasingly require finely sculpted, massively detailed characters and environments. The gigapolygon core allows Softimage to load this dense information into memory, reducing it in a way that retains definition so It is possible to edit it in a manageable way.

  • Animating in Softimage
    Fast, flexible animation is the heart of Softimage. Streamlined workflows make it easy to pose and keyframe highly detailed characters. the 3d artist get more keying done while watching any character in the viewports, without having to open another editor. Real-time playback means It is possible to see what the 3d artist're doing without waiting for animation previews. A clean, responsive curve editor and dopesheet make it easy to manipulate animation. Easy animation layering and mixing simplify the process of breaking animation into parts and moving it around.

    Face Robot
    Face Robot toolset delivers a complete and automated solution for facial animation and rigging. With the new automatic lip-synching in Face Robot now you can quickly create facial animation with an audio file. You can control the phonemes and visemes with function curves via a dedicated view.



    Completely non-destructive character set-up and rigging
    Softimage makes life easier by allowing modeling, texturing, and even rigging changes to take place on already rigged and animated characters without the re-construction of bones, bone weights or shape animation. Easily add new details to rigged or shape-animated characters without the hours of tedious rework, even in mixed pipelines.

    Powerful animation mixing with the Softimage Animation Mixer
    The mixer is the heart of Softimage's animation power, offering both high-level control and low-level precision. Mix anything - animation clips, composite clips, constraints, expressions, shapes, textures, etc - and even sync audio using the mixer's intuitive clip-based editing interface. Easily handle motion capture sequences using motion matching, marker placement, offsets and frequency-based transitions. Transition a walk to a run without slipping feet, or link one character's animation to another's in just a few clicks. Only Softimage can non-destructively animate, blend, offset and re-use any motion source.

    Accelerated Animation Tools
    Animation layers give the 3d artist an interactive and non-destructive way to add keyframes on top of existing animation, so It is possible to work with motion capture data without wading through highly dense FCurves. New Character Key Sets let the 3d artist easily set keyframes on predefined sets of parameters for a faster animation workflow. Updates and enhancements to the dopesheet and Fcurve editor, improve the artist's workflow across the board. Fast, flexible and intuitive, Softimage is the leading character animation solution because character animation is the heart of Autodesk Softimage.

      Animation Shape Manager
    • Dedicated environment for creating, managing, and animating a library of shapes.
    • Supports nondestructive editing of the original base shape, creating hybrid-blended shapes, or viewing shapes with additional deformers such as envelopes.
    • With the Shape Manager there is no need to create separate geometry for each shape (“morph targets”).

      Animation FCurve Editor
    • The Softimage F-Curve Editor can handle thousands of curves and keys at the same time.
    • Includes the standard F-curve manipulation tools, plus a high-level editing mode that lets you manipulate high-density curves (from motion capture, for example) using a simplified “sculpting” curve.
    • Snapshot mode lets you preserve a curve’s original shape while you’re editing it, so you don’t have to commit to your changes until you’re satisfied with the result.

      Animation Dopesheet
    • The Softimage dopesheet shows your animated sequence (or the entire scene’s animation), frame by frame, and helps you analyze its overall motion and timing.
    • Cut, copy, paste, scale, or ripple keys using one interactive tool.
    • The dopesheet is ideal for quickly blocking out and retiming animation.


    MOTOR - Motion transferring and retargeting
    MOTOR is an intelligent and dependable solution for transferring motion from one character rig to another . Preserve keyframe timing while transferring motion between character rigs of all sizes and proportions. Build reusable libraries of animation by importing and retargeting motion capture data onto arbitrary Softimage character rigs.

    Softimage Hair and Fur
    Create long, luxurious, and truly realistic hair and fur with dynamic effects-all rendered using mental ray. Softimage hair offers a range of specialized tools for creating hair, including the innovative proportional grooming tool. Use any native Softimage deformers, including lattices and curves, for precise, natural hair styling with complete control over the animation.

    Integrated Syflex Cloth
    Syflex is an incredibly fast and stable simulation engine that lets the 3d artist create a broad range of cloth and flesh effects directly within the Softimage interface. Extremely simple to learn and use, Syflex makes it easy to create digital cloth.

  • Shading and Texturing in Autodesk Softimage
    From stone and metal to skin and scales, to cartoon ink and paint, Softimage's Quick Shade technology and texturing tools help the 3d artist get the look the 3d artist want-fast. An interactive texture editor lets the 3d artist unfold UVs and place texture maps precisely. The powerful render tree and texture layer editor make it easy to build complex materials. A fully integrated customizable shaderball engine renders preview thumbnails wherever the 3d artist needs them.

    Quick Shade - Advanced Rendering Workflow
    Quick Shade technology takes the state-of-the-art Autodesk Softimage shading and texturing toolset to a new level. A generalized shaderball engine, gives the 3d artist step-by-step previews of any materials wherever the 3d artist need them, while the new material manager offers a dedicated view to create, assign, edit, and manage the materials that bring any scenes to life. Softimage's shaderball is completely customizable and fully integrated; from the render tree, to the texture layer editor, the new material manager and material panel, to the separate shaderball windows.

    Film-quality normal map generation
    Going far beyond normal maps, the Softimage "Ultimapper" tool can generate all kinds of cinematic-quality maps from arbitrarily complex models in just a few clicks, while taking full advantage of the sophisticated rendering possibilities of mental ray. Ultimapper can generate normal, ambient occlusion, difference, light, and albedo maps with an instant mental ray, DirectX, or OpenGL preview directly in the Softimage viewports.

    Rendering in Softimage
    A shared-memory architecture with the award-winning mental ray renderer built right in makes Softimage the best 3D animation package for cinematic-quality multi-pass rendering. It is possible to delve into powerful shaders in the render tree and set up breathtaking photorealistic lighting with just a few clicks. The Gigapolygon core and shared-memory architecture mean that It is possible to render more detail using less memory than in any other package. And integrated frame buffers allow the 3d artist to render a single default pass that outputs many common channels to separate files.

    Paint and Composite in Softimage
    Softimage's built-in compositor is designed to edit textures and image-based lighting in real time. Based on Avid's Matador, Media Illusion, and Elastic Reality, Softimage Illusion is a fully integrated, resolution-independent 2D paint and compositing module. With over 130 film-quality effects and more than 60 programmable brushes for 2D raster and vector painting, It is possible to use Softimage Illusion to rough out final shots, touch up any textures, morph, warp and rig images, create custom mattes and tweak the results of a multi-pass render – all without switching apps.

  • Collaborating while working in Softimage
    A successful production is a team effort, so Softimage features the industry's best collaborative environment. Delta referencing technology offers lightweight, production-level referencing so multiple artists can work on assets without getting in each other's way. Crosswalk interoperability features seamlessly transfer assets into and out of other 3D animation packages.

    Crosswalk-Bi-Directional Interoperability
    Reliable interoperability is the most important part of a mixed-tool pipeline-and that's exactly why Softimage developed Crosswalk. Crosswalk is an ongoing initiative to help seamlessly transfer Softimage content into and out of any previously established 3D pipeline. It is possible to transfer assets using the latest dotXSI and COLLADA standards, and take advantage of enhanced import/export tools to get assets in and out of Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya pipelines. Spend less time moving any characters and more time animating them.

    Delta referencing
    Delta referencing technology is a breakthrough approach to collaborative 3D animation, offering studios the first core architecture for production-level referencing. This new lightweight referencing system allows production teams to store 3D assets, and the changes made to those assets, in external files that can be assembled dynamically to produce characters, props and environments. Artists can modify assets and then update them non-destructively, for true collaborative workflow.

  • Save time by reusing existing attributes in Softimage
    Working with multiple characters often involves tedious manual tasks that the 3d artist need to repeat for each character. Softimage saves the 3d artist time where it matters most with tools to transfer character setups and animation across rigs. GATOR transfers any surface attributes - including UVs, weight maps, skinning, and shape animation - from one character to another. MOTOR is the world's first system for moving keyframe animation across characters, regardless of their proportions or control structures.

    Iterative workflow in Softimage
    Softimage offers the best iterative workflow of any 3D package. Non-destructive tools let the 3d artist add new details to rigged or shape-animated characters whenever the 3d artist want, without tedious hours of rework. Full mental ray integration means It is possible to generate full-quality previews directly in an Softimage viewport for hassle-free client-attended review and approval sessions. And with Softimage's built-in compositor It is possible to preview the results of multi-pass renders without switching environments. Change is good.

    GATOR - property transfer that just works
    Using the Softimage Generalized Attribute Transfer Operator ("GATOR"), It is possible to easily transfer any surface properties between models, regardless of complexity or topology. It is possible to transfer any attribute-including materials, textures, weights, and shape animation-even between rigged character models. Gator can also be used to combine models, allowing completed, textured, animated models to be merged without losing important characteristics.

  • Scripting and development in Softimage
    Commitment to standard scripting languages and development tools makes Autodesk Softimage a Technical Director's dream come true. While other packages force the 3d artist to learn obscure and limited programming languages, Autodesk Softimage offers flexibility to use the best language for the job. Softimage 6 offers integrated C#, an object-oriented programming language popular with next-gen 3D game developers, and support for Python v.2.5 and .NET compliant languages.

    Programmable realtime shaders
    Softimage features comprehensive support for .FX shaders, with real-time previewing, enabling artists to work with the exact same shaders that run in the game engine.

    The completely programmable display architechture integrated in Softimage ensures precise visual correspondence between any work in Softimage and on any target platform, eliminating unnecessary revision cycles. The dedicated XGS display SDK allows nearly any custom drawing process to be added to geometry views.

    Develop custom tools for Softimage with the Integrated Tools Development Environment (TDE)
    A Technical Director's dream come true, Softimage lets the 3d artist use the best language for the job, offering integrated C#, and support for Python v.2.5 and .NET compliant languages. A Tools Development Environment (TDE) gives developers a dedicated environment for customization and plug-in development. With a completely programmable realtime shader pipeline, a dedicated framework to host custom applications, and a rendering SDK that makes it possible to integrate 3rd party renderers, Softimage is simply the most customizable 3D package available.

    A single unified development environment, the TDE allows TD's to create, manage and deploy all of their tools, plug-ins, and workgroups. The TDE contains multiple script editors, each with syntax help, breakpoints, and external debugging links. Its tree-based Add-On manager can create self-installing shaders, events, and plug-ins from development wizards, using standard scripting languages or directly in C++. Develop in the TDE and enjoy the refined workflow that Softimage artists have enjoyed for years.

    Softimage Interactive Creative Environment - ICE
    ICE is a visual programming platform that allows users to extend the capabilities of Softimage very quickly and intuitively using a node-based dataflow diagram. The ICE environment represents Softimage functionality using a collection of nodes, each with its own specific capabilities. Users can connect nodes together, visually representing the data flow, to create powerful tools and effects that can be packaged and distributed for reuse. This allows artists to create complex 3D effects and tools without scripting. ICE is powered by a parallel processing engine that uses multiple cores in a CPU, providing highly scalable performance. If a user is not obtaining a desired effect using the internal Softimage feature set, the user no longer has to wait for someone to write a plug-in or for the next version of Softimage . The user can simply open it in ICE and modify it for the desired effect.



Some history:

In 1986 in Montreal, Canada, a company by the name of Softimage Co. was created by a group of dreamers. They wanted to revolutionize still a very young computer animation market. Since the beginning of its creation Softimage has been a perspective of new and creative thinking. One of the owners of the company was Daniel Langlois – film director and a member of the National Film Board of Canada. Daniel was the person who knew exactly what the needs were of the 3D Graphics market.

In the year 1988, two years after the opening of Softimage Co. a brand new product was introduced by the name Creative Environment, later renamed to Softimage|3D, which operated on the Silicon Graphics IRIX environment.

One of the goals of Softimage was to introduce a product which was practical to both the artist and the planner, and not for technicians and programmers.

For the times, the program was considered very broad. The package offered the user modeling, animation and rendering possibilities under one creative interface. A big step for Softimage occurred in 1993 at the SIGGRAPH Conference, at which they featured the products effects and capabilities on the film "Jurrasic Park". This was the first large scale preview of the software features.

Throughout the next years the program has undergone a couple of changes. One of which was the introduction of the module ACTOR, for which Daniel Langlois the founder of Softimage received an Oscar for Scientific and Engineering Award from The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

In this Module for the first time the world has seen the light of Inverse Kinematics. Other modifications which were introduced were the modules for simulations and dynamics. These were channels that gave the user capabilities to animate objects by the movement of the mouse, microphone recording and even the use of the system motion-capture.

The PC received a large amount of power when the Pentium processor was introduced, and this step really gave a boost to the industry of computer animation. Softimage was the first program to rewrite its code for the Windows NT Application system. Soon after Microsoft purchase of the company, the NT conversion was deliberately rushed. This move greatly decreased the price of a single license. Before the conversion to the NT system, the price of the package was as high as 150 thousand dollars.

The need for 3d graphics software was now expanding towards many markets, some being video/composition and film editing. At this moment Softimage decided to take a new path: to create an environment for work, and integrate the entire process of production into one available application. The entire idea was to create a package that was expandable and but in the same time very bound and stable. Example: You wouldn’t have to wait until the finish process of modeling to start animating. The exchange of libraries was to be possible at any time of the production, providing the animator more freedom and possibilities.

At this moment Softimage Co. was creating Digital Studio which later was renamed to Sofimage|DS. The long awaited step for the company was the very late release of Softimage|XSI (Production name Sumatra).

At which point Softimage was purchased by AVID, which raised the stakes for the high-end 3d animation.
Posted: January 16, 2010
drop007
Autodesk Motion Builder 3d Animation Software
http://www.autodesk.com/motionbuilder/

Autodesk Motion Builder overview:



The modern day movies and video games cannot have their stunning effects and fiction characters without 3-dimensional animation. Huge teams of computer graphics artists stand behind the breath taking scenes and live action. They use various computer programs to create realistically appearing and behaving characters and environments. The Autodesk Motion Builder 3d animation software is one of the instruments used in modern day 3d entertainment products.

This program is relatively new on the market, but it is one of the most popular products of Autodesk, one of the leading American software producing companies. Motion Builder is designed and engineered in Montreal. It is a product of the Media and Entertainment division of the company. The software has been used for the making of a number of box office blockbusters, including 2012 and Avatar, which won the 2010 Oscar for visual effects. Still, this 3d animation program is more widely used in the development of video games. Some of the most popular products that have been created with the use of the Motion Builder are Wet, The Beatles: Rock Band, Uncharted2: Among Thieves, Assassin’s Creed 2 and Killzone 2.

The Autodesk Motion Builder 3d computer animation software is designed to aid fully the pipeline production of 3-dimensional animation images. The program creates high quality realistic characters and environments. Motion Builder has a number of different applications. It can be used for the creation of high-volume animation and performance animation. It is a useful instrument in virtual cinematography which is now on the road to replacing standard motion picture making. The program can be used effectively for pre-visualization as well.

There are a number of notable features and tools that make the Autodesk Motion Builder a superb 3d character animation software package. It is worth exploring them in greater detail. The latest version of the software, Motion Builder 2011, comes with a more effective Real-time engine. It incorporates all of the tools for modeling, animation and editing. They are functionally set so that 3d animation management becomes more efficient. A statistic, provided by the developer Autodesk, claims that the animation output of a single artist, using the program, is increased by some 250%.

The Motion Data Editing and Cleanup is another notable feature of this software by Autodesk. It makes is possible for graphic artists to import live files from any industry medium effortlessly and quickly. In turn, they can use all the features and tools of Motion Builder to do any cleaning up and editing work. Generally, all kinds of data manipulations can be performed so that the animation is prepared for improvement and completion.

The dynamics feature allows computer graphics artists to create full-body 3-dimensional kinematic characters. One of the most notable tool sets of this module is the character simulation one. Artists can make all kinds of simulations to give the modeled object a realistic behavior and motion. These can be done in line with or separately from the actual animations. These simulations can be blended with keyframing and motion capture data so that a fully integrated kinematic character is developed. The Rag Doll solver tool makes each simulation more realistic. Artists can also use joints to attach different objects and make secondary animation.

Pre-visualization is another key feature of the Autodesk Motion Builder 3d animation software. The high quality display allows for the preliminary viewing and editing of different shots. Artists and directors can see all objects and make simulations to find the best keyframe and camera angle. This feature makes it easier for stunt specialists to incorporate their creations into the shots more effectively. Since all elements can be edited and improved with this preliminary tool, they are ready earlier in the production process. This is productively effective and cost efficient.

The pre-visualization and layout work of graphics artists is made easier with Motion Builder’s Story tool. It is virtually a nonlinear environment, in which many different media types can be put together. This timeline editor makes it possible to tweak, modify and incorporate composed animation tracks. The tool can be used with digital video, audio and camera tracks as well.

The Autodesk Motion Builder 3d animation software is fully suited for virtual cinematography thanks to all the technological features and tools it possesses. This is a major advantage of this program that makes it stand out among its competitors. Motion Builder allows directors to direct motion computer graphic characters alongside live actors. The shots are fully integrated so that the scenes appear perfectly realistic to movie watchers.

Other renowned features of this 3d animation software program are its full pipeline integration and customization options. The Python scripting language allows for easy and effective coding. Computer graphics artists can use the Open Reality software kit to create custom tools in the form of plug-ins. This can make Motion Builder fully suited for use in any pipeline. In turn, this gives its performance maximum efficiency. The program supports Qt user interface. This allows for the capabilities of the Open Reality kit to be exploited to the fullest.

The Autodesk Motion Builder 3d animation software can be used effectively in conjunction with all other 3d animation programs from Autodesk. This is possible thanks to the native FBX support of the program. This is another feature that makes this product stand out among its competitors. The integrated use of Motion Builder allows for greater productivity and cost efficiency. These are major benefits for both big and small studios. Computer graphics artists can interoperate Motion Builder with Maya, 3ds Max, Mudbox and Softimage. This is certainly an advantage given that these are award winning products with superb industry reputation based on their performance.

The Autodesk Motion Builder 3d animation software is functional and effective. It is developed on the basis of innovative technology, which is expected to become more advanced in the future. The program can be used separately, but it will produce better results when combined with the other Autodesk software products for creating 3d animation. Motion Builder has proven that it is among the top programs in the industry.
Posted: January 16, 2010
Katie Chiesa
NewTek LightWave 3d Animation Software

http://www.newtek.com/lightwave/

The development of 3d technology has led to new heights in many industries. It seems, however, that the entertainment industry and movie making, in particular, have really achieved unprecedented superiority. One of the programs that have made this possible is a 3d computer animation software by NewTek called LightWave.

Its first predecessor was created back in 1988. The Modeler could make 3-dimensional images. The NewTek team gave it the name LightWave, which was inspired by the popular at the time Intelligent Light and Wavefront programs. The program was first released in 1990 as part of the Video Toaster package. The latest version of the software LightWave 10, released only recently, incorporates patented innovative technologies that make it one of the most sophisticated programs available at present.

The NewTek LightWave 3d animation software is designed for use in the creation of all types of 3-dimensional animated images. It is successfully used by architectures, engineers, interior designers and graphic artists working in various industries. The technology makes the creation of 3d buildings, interiors and product presentations easier and more productive.

LightWave’s main purpose is the making of 3d animated shots for motion pictures. It has been used for the creation of a number of award winning blockbusters. These include Titanic, the winner of the Visual Effects Oscar award in 1997, Star Wars, Finding Nemo and Avatar, the 2010 Art Direction and Visual FX Oscar winner. The software’s use in the creation of TV films is even more abundant. Some of the productions made with it are 24, Start Trek, Lost, winner of the 2005 VMX Emmy award, and the Battle Star Galactica TV series, winner of the 2007 and 2008 VMX Emmy award. LightWave was also awarded Emmy for Technical Achievement. This happened twice - in 1993 and in 2003.

It is worth finding out what features make this 3d animation software program so popular and successful. LightWave has two main components - Modeler and Layout. The former is the modeling feature of the program, as its name suggests. It includes all tools for creating realistic 3-dimensional objects. Layout is the actual animation system. It allows computer graphics artists to tweak the different output parameters and to create living and breathing characters. The keyframe is incorporated with the use of various tools. With the Layout component of the program artists can also use multithreading, ray tracing and global illumination. The Hub process is used for the incorporation of Modeler and Layout data.

The two components are equipped with a wide range of sub-features that make the NewTek LightWave 3d animation system a fully functional program. The dynamics include hard body dynamics, soft dynamics and cloth. The first feature is used for the creation of hard bodies, such as buildings, for instance. It can also produce realistic hard surface cracks, brakes and collisions. The soft body feature allows artists to create substances, materials and characters. Cloth is used for producing realistic dynamics of clothing items.

The Hypervolex feature makes it possible for computer graphics artists to create 3d particles and particle effects. The so called metaballs mimic perfectly the shape, movement and behavior of liquid drops. Sprites are used for the creation of fire effects while the volume shading tools can make clouds. LightWave comes with a range of material shader tools for texture editing. They can create realistic metal, plastic, transparent and even skin surfaces.

The latest version of the NewTek LightWave 3d animation software features the innovative patented CORE technology. It allows for the program to be used with Windows, Mac and Linux which is a significant innovation. It has full Python scripting integration for improved coding.

The technology is integrated in the both the Modeler and Layout modules. The modeling is now made more productively efficient, easier and faster. The MDD tool, which supports Autodesk Geometry Cache, makes it possible for deformations and transformations to be moved effortlessly from one application to another. This makes the use of the dynamics, effects and animation features more effective. COLLADA, on the other hand, allows for the faster transferring of lights, camera data and object placement between applications. The import and export of UV maps is improved with the ZBrush Interchange and the OBJ UV support.

LightWave 10 has a wide range of other tools which can be used for the creation of even more realistic film shots. The software has InterSense VCam support. It enhances the use of this virtual camera system by providing real time interaction with large 3d scenes. This allows artists to have better and more effective control of visual effects. The SpriteGen tool makes the creation of spite images completely automated. The program supports the 3Dconnexion line of 3d mousse for improved interaction with models and control cameras.

The innovative rendering features of the NewTek LightWave 3d animation software put it one step ahead of its competitors. The Viewpoint Preview Rendering (VPR) tool gives a truly realistic view of objects and environments. These images have interactive light and nodal shading options. The VPR tool makes the difference between LightWave and its counterparts. The program comes with CG Hardware viewpoint shading enhancements in real time. Artists can get an OpenGL view of Stereoscopic Anaglyph, Ambient Occlusion, HDRI background images and Bloom. The linear workflow mode supports various tools for the creation of more realistic lighting.

The CORE technology of LightWave 10 and its successful integration with the other two major elements make the program one of the most innovative at present. The previous fame of the software, owned to the superb intuitive workflow, is now greater thanks to the innovations. They make pipeline working more productively efficient than ever before allowing teams of graphics artists to create better animations faster.

There have been a lot of suggestions for the combination of the Modeler and Layer modules. This is now achieved to a great extent with the introduction of the new technology element. It can be safely said that the latest NewTek LightWave 3d animation software has surpassed its predecessors and most of its competitors significantly.
_________________
Will animate for food.
Posted: January 16, 2010
Sid Conner
Cinema 4D Computer 3d Animation Software
http://www.maxon.net/en/products/cinema-4d.html

Graphic arts have come a long way. It is now easier than ever before for a 3-dimensional computer image to be created. Still, this would be impossible without the specialized software programs. The Cinema 4D computer 3d animation software has been around for almost 2 decades, ever since its first release in 1991, with the name of FastRay. It has come a long way now. The newest version, Cinema 4D R11.5 has a wide range of features and tools. This program has numerous capabilities to produce 3d paintings, images and animations.

The company creating the Cinema 4D animation software, Maxon, was founded back in 1986 in Germany. The successful release of the program led to its continuous development over the years. In 1996 the software became compatible with Windows and Macintosh. This practice is still continued. The latest version of the program, released on September 1st 2009, is created for use with Windows 7 and Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Maxon expanded to the United States and the United Kingdom back in 1998. It has been present in various industries in these two countries ever since.

The Cinema 4D computer 3d animation program has various applications thanks to the wide range of modules and plug-ins integrated in it. It is used in many different industries. The program helps graphic artists design 3d animation characters and environments for motion pictures. It has been used for the creation of different shots in hit movies, such as The Polar Express, Van Helsing, War of the Worlds, Chronicles of Narnia, The Golden Compass, Spider Man 3 and Beowulf. In addition, Sony Pictures Imageworks are one of the biggest users of Cinema 4D in the film making industry.

This software program is also widely used in architecture and engineering. This includes both technical and mechanical engineering. The 3d images and animation created with the use of Cinema 4D are used for the modeling and presentation of various products. Various companies that are leaders in their industry use the program for their work. Some of the most notable names are BMW, Siemens VDO and Henkel.

The Cinema 4D is a computer 3d animation application that uses integrated modules and tools. They allow computer graphics artists to make the most out of the intuitive interface and the logical workflow of the program. This software can be used successfully in many industries due to the additional integration of specific modules. Still, it is worth paying attention to the most notable features of Cinema 4D R11.5.

Modeling is the first phase of the work of any computer graphics artist. Cinema 4D makes the creation of all kinds of 3d images easy and quick. This is possible thanks to the wide range of polygon tools in the software. Artists can work on each part of the model separately while getting constant feedback on the proportions of the image and its integration in 3-dimensional space. The modeling feature allows artists to work as if in an actual crafts workshop. The knife tool allows for the cutting of holes whole the Stitch and Sew tool makes the closing of holes between objects easier. The Brush and Magnet tools are used for painting. The objects are smoothed and made more realistic with the HyperNURBs tool.

The 3d painting module is now fully integrated in the Cinema 4D computer animation package. The RayBrush technology makes it possible for artists to paint 3-dimensional objects realistically. The main advantage of this program is the ability to paint with a single stroke of the brush. This is possible with the use of various tools, including Clone, Sponge, Smear, Burn and Dodge. The Projection Painting tools allows for the more realistic painting of different textures. Artists can use it to paint it across seams and multiple objects with complex UV coordinates. The software program is closely integrated with Adobe Photoshop to produce high quality digital matte painting, which is heavily used in the movie industry.

The material system in Cinema 4D allows for the creation of totally realistic objects. Effects such as luminance, reflection and diffusion can be easily added with the Baker tool. It makes work easier because it has the ability to create normal maps from displacements. This is a truly unique feature. With the UV editing feature graphics artists can add texture to an object. Basically, the model and its material are coordinated so that the entire object becomes realistic. The Hair tool, in particular, makes it possible for the creation of fur, grass and other surfaces, while MOCCA is used for cloth stimulation. The lighting feature comes with a complete range of gaffer’s tools for realistic lighting and shading. The PyroCluster tool is used for the creation of some and fire effects.

Rendering is one of the features that the Cinema 4D computer 3d animation software is renowned for. The program is compatible with all types of image files and supports Hyper Threading and Multicore technologies. The Net Render module allows artists to allocate the rendering workflow to multiple computers in a singe office. With Multi-Pass rendering the different layers are quickly integrated to produce the final image. This features allows for better control over rendering actions.

Animation is the most important feature in any 3d animation software. Cinema 4D makes it simple to keyframe an object and give it speed thanks to the Power Slider tool. The F-curve mode allows for more precise adjustment of the keyframe interpolation. The Timeline tool allows you to follow and control each moving element of an object. The node-based XPresso graphical expression editor allows artists to put everything together.

The Cinema 4D computer 3d animation system is famous for its ease of use. Even beginners with no previous practical experience will find it easy to work with this program. The multilingual interface is completely customizable. The control layout allows for super easy and convenient use. The innovative content browser makes management faster and more efficient. Even though the program’s features and tools are standard, its functionality, based on improved module integration, makes it stand out among its competitors.
Posted: January 16, 2010
Ted Town
SideFX Houdini 3d Animation Software
http://www.sidefx.com/

It is hard for anyone to imagine a blockbuster without 3d animation special effects. Their creation involves creativity and hard work as well as the use of specific software programs. The SideFX Houdini 3d animation software is one of the most popular programs used in the modern-day movie making industry.




The very first program was created some 17 years back. Ever since then the technologies used for the different features and tools of the software have been constantly evolving. The recently released Houdini 11 is the most innovative program that will certainly bring better entertainment in the movie theatres.

During its 17 years of presence in the movie making industry, the SideFX Houdini 3d animation software has been used in the production of over 5000 shots in 200 films. It is not possible to mention all movies created with the help of this program given that the list is quite long. Some of the most notable titles include Minority Report (2002), The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions (2003), Spider Man 2 (2004), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Casino Royale (2006), Beowulf (2007), The Dark Night (2008) and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2009). The software was also used for creating the special 3d animation effects in movies from the Harry Potter, X-Men, The Chronicles of Narnia and Pirates of the Caribbean series. Houdini has 2 awards from the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences.

The SideFX Houdini computer 3d animation software package has a full range of features that allow computer graphics (CG) artists to create the special effects we all love. Modeling is the first step for creating 3d animated characters and environments. This feature allows CG artists to create squeaky clean standard geometry. The remodeling is aided by the tracking and recording of the modification this software provides. The animation brings the created characters to life. The procedure motion editing environment (CHOPs) of Houdini allows artists to adopt different methods for building motion, including the importing of key framed motion. These advanced-motion editing tools are among the software’s most highly valued instruments.

The character creation is perhaps the most creative feature of the SideFX Houdini 3d animation software. It can be used for the creation of all sorts of fantastical creatures. It is also used for the making of cartoon characters that can take extraordinary forms and make physically impossible movements. Artists can create the characters as digital assets by combining geometry, body structure and facial poses. The Auto Rig tools allow for the engineering of the character in 3d. The addition of realistic muscles and skin has never been easier.

The dynamics are an essential feature of the Houdini software. They make the computer graphics realistic. This program includes Rigid Body, Fluid and Wire and Cloth dynamics tools for making every feature in the shot appear natural. Artists can use the particle-based and volume-based stimulation to create water splashes, smoke, fires and even hurricanes.
Lighting is an equally important feature for creating realistic 3d animations. The artists can create the right light and shades using node-based material workflow interactively. Houdini allows for the control of lighting over series of shots. The volumetric feature allows for the generation, manipulation and rendering of both scalar and vector fields.

All created characters and environment are put together with the use of the SideFX Houdini 3d animation software special feature supporting production-ready Mantra rendering. Computer graphics artists can also employ Pixar’s Renderman tool that is supported by the UI of the software. Integrated support for mental ray and Maxwell is also provided. Houdini allows artists to do some of the compositing work themselves. This is quite useful during the lighting and rendering processes. With this software layered images and effects can be composited perfectly.

It is very easy for computer graphics artists to use the Houdini 3d animation software because of its simplified and straightforward system of operation. The node-based workflow allows for digital assets to be created by connecting sequences of operations. This is done with the use of the special Digital Asset Technology. Houdini allows artists to do a large part of the scripting and programming on their own. The software supports a variety of API scripting languages. Python support is integrated. VEX is a high-performing easy to use scripting language which is also included.

The SideFX Houdini 11 3d animation software promises even more and more innovative features. The most notable innovation is the FLIP fluid solver. It allows for the more effective use of the particle and volume creating tools. More importantly, it is up to 70 times faster for maximum precision and realistic shots. The innovative dynamic fracturing tools make the effects from hits, blows and explosions even more awesome. These instruments use a specific Voronoi-based algorithm for creating super realistic fractures.

The volumetric, lighting and rendering features of the program are also improved. Artist can employ OpenGL effects interactively. These include GPU-assisted volumes as well as a range of lights. Support for various maps is available. The user interface of Houdini 11 boasts with a wide range of new features. The network rendering comes with H Queue for both Windows and Mac. The software has a new point cloud surfacer and functions. The fluids, fur and cloths created with Houdini 11 will be more impressive and realistic.

These features of the latest SideFX Houdini 3d animation software version definitely make it stand out among its competitors. The integration of and support for various external programs and tools make Houdini fully functional. The larger number of better features allows computer graphics artists to improve their creations in many ways. The more effectively integrated operation makes the work faster, more efficient and more productive.

The SideFX Houdini 3d animation software is famous for its flawless particle animation system. In the past, its intuitive animation tools were not particularly sophisticated, but this has changed. The innovative features and instruments in the latest versions of Houdini make it more effective and productively efficient than even before.
Posted: January 23, 2010
3d artist gallery Andyba
Messiah Studio 3d animation software.
http://www.projectmessiah.com/

Project Messiah, also known as Messiah Studio is an award-winning 3D animation and rendering software created by the pmG Worldwide. It runs on the Windows 32 and 64 bit systems. It has no 3d modeling tools and is an application totally dedicated to 3d animation and rendering.

Movies and computer games have become more stunning, fun and interactive with the use of 3d animation. The creation of these breath taking shots would be impossible without the use of special software programs. The Messiah Studio 3d animation software has gained a reputation for being an equally performing, but more accessible alternative to the major products on the market. In fact, it started out as a plug-in for LightWave 5.5 and 7.5. However, things have changed and this program is now fully functional on its own.

The developers of the Messiah Studio 3d animation software, pmG Worldwide, started their separate operations back in 2000. Their first project, Messiah Animate, was the predecessor of Messiah Studio. The original software made it possible for data to be transferred to it from all its major competitors, LightWave, Cinema 4D, Maya and 3D Studio Max. The first Messiah Studio program became available in 2001. It integrated successfully Messiah Animate and Messiah Render to provide improved and innovative animation features and tools. The latest version of the software is 4.0. It is compatible with Windows and Mac computer operation systems.

The Messiah Studio 3d animation software has been honored with numerous individual awards ever since its creation. The program is a holder of the Computer Graphics World Innovation Award and the Golden Pixie Award given by Animation Magazine. The software was used for the creation of various box office hits. These include movies from the Harry Potter and X-Men series, Ghost Rider, Syriana and The Triplets of Belleville, which had an Oscar nomination. Messiah Studio was also used for the creation of the Toy Story promo package by Axis Animation and Disney. Their work was awarded Best Animation Gold.

This 3d computer animation software package has a wide range of features and tools. They make it applicable to the work of various professionals across the movie, video game and commercial making industries. The program covers the three major stages of creation of 3d animation - modeling and rigging, animation and rendering. With this software computer graphics artists can complete the full production cycle of characters and environments.

The advanced deformer tool of the rig feature makes all body deformations possible throughout the modeling stage. The Point Animation module works on the basis of the most advanced innovative techniques in modeling. It allows artists to transform their ideas to actual creations. The flexible bone system makes component coordination a much more productive task. The modeling of a character is easier and faster. Computer graphics artists can use armatures to create 2d buttons, interfaces and general utilities for creating a more realistic object more quickly and effectively. The armature tool saves time and increases productivity.

The flexible expression system allows graphics artists to rig and modify objects with better precision and keep track of their work. The menu selection and auto completion features make it possible for more complex rigs to be made without a lot of effort and hours of hard work. With the AutoRig V3 tool the artists can put the finishing touches to the model they have created. All element dimensions, the size and eight and the center of gravity of the object are easy to fix and to enhance. The result is a fully realistic model which has to undergo a few more changes to become live.

The Messiah Studio 3d animation software comes with a number of effective modules and tools that allow artists to animate the modeled objects effectively. The program has a real-time playback feature. This speeds up the animation process even when the model already has all its dynamics. The Point Animation module is designed to make the fixing of objects as easy as a kid’s game. The entire body and any of its elements can be intuitively tweaked with the use of natural sculpting brush tools. The quality of all interpolations is excellent. They are not linear and they do not overshoot. They are smooth and simply perfect.

The animation productivity tools come in the form of simple scripts for faster and easier use. Any computer graphics artist can make their character interact with the environment more naturally. The curves will be smooth, non linear and natural. The artist can also re-time their animation productively. The use of the Red / Cyan 3d glasses creates a more complete view form of the animation. The artists can use the silhouette mode to add the finishing touches to the object to make it perfect.

Messiah Studio covers all aspects of the rendering process. The adding of dynamics is more productively efficient with this software. Artists can use the hair creation tool first. Then they can apply all other dynamics and shaders. The advanced skin materials and the effective translucency shading feature make it possible for characters and environments to become even more realistic in 3d. The program comes with flexible nodal shaders that make experimenting with, managing and controlling materials and surfaces more effective. Artists can use a variety of types, such as the Doll Eye procedural eye shader and the particle cloud shader, to create breathtaking objects and effects.

The Messiah Studio 3d animation software comes with advanced caustic and glass dispersion rendering features. These make the transparent surfaces and their behavior more realistic than ever before. The global illumination feature and the volumetric lighting, in particular, allow computer graphics artists to create perfectly naturally looking environments. The contrast between light and shades makes the whole shots more believable.

One of the features that make Messiah Studio stand out from its counterparts is the excellent expandability of the software. Its original design as a plug-in has allowed the developers to make it fully functional for integration and customization. The SDK has all the tools necessary for the creation of UI mods and plug-ins. The developers claim that the scripting language is easy to understand and use.

It can be safely said that the Messiah Studio 3d animation software has good productive efficiency and functionality. It is not surprising that it is abundantly used in various industries in numerous countries around the world.
Posted: January 23, 2010
3d artist gallery Andyba
Blender 3d animation software.
http://www.blender.org/

Blender is a software platform, dedicated especially to the 3d modeling, 3d animation and three-dimensional graphics ingeneral. The program was initially distributed for free but without source code with a manual available for sale but subsequently became free open source software. Currently supports all versions of Windows, Mac OS X, GNU / Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD and IRIX.

Here is a Blender Reel that shows what can be done in Blender 2.5+



History of Blender 3d animation software

In 1988 Ton Roosendaal co-founded the animation studio NeoGeo in Netherlands. NeoGeo quickly became the largest 3D animation studio in the Netherlands and one of the leading animation houses in Europe. NeoGeo created award-winning products winning European Corporate Video Awards 1993 and 1995 for large corporate clients such as multi-national electronics company Philips. Within NeoGeo, Ton was responsible for both art direction and internal software development. After careful research Ton decided that the current 3D tool in the NeoGeo studio was too old and cumbersome to maintain and upgrade and needed to be rewritten from scratch. In 1995 this rewrite began and was destined to become the 3D authoring software we now know as Blender. As NeoGeo continued to refine and improve Blender, Ton realized that Blender could be used as a tool for other artists outside of NeoGeo.

In 1998, Ton decided to create a new company called Not a Number (NaN) derived from NeoGeo to further market and develop Blender. The foundation of NaN was the desire to create and distribute a free 3D creation suite, that is compact and platform independent. At that time, this was a revolutionary concept as most commercial modeling programs costing thousands of dollars. NaN hoped to bring modeling and animation tool to a professional level to the public at large. The NaN's business model involved providing commercial products and services around Blender. In 1999, NaN attended its first Siggraph conference in an effort to more widely promote Blender. The first Blender Siggraph convention in 1999 was a huge success and gathered a huge interest from both the press and attendees to the convention.

On wings of a successful Siggraph in early 2000, NaN secured funding of € 4.5 million from venture capitalists. This large inflow of cash enabled NaN to rapidly expand their operations. Soon NaN boasted over 50 employees working around the world trying to improve and promote Blender. In the summer of 2000, Blender v2.0 was released. This version of Blender added the integration of a game engine to the 3D suite. At the end of 2000, the number of registered users on the website surpassed 250,000 NaN.

Unfortunately, NaN's ambitions and opportunities did not match the capabilities of the company or with the market realities of that time. This oversizing of the company led to a restructuring to create a smaller company with new funds from investors. Six months later, the first commercial product NaN, Blender Publisher was launched. This product was targeted at the emerging market of interactive media web-based 3D environments.
Blender's interface allows for high customization.

Due to disappointing sales and the ongoing difficult economic climate, new investors decided to terminate the activities of NaN. Shutdown also included discontinuing the development of Blender. While there were clearly shortcomings in the current version of Blender, with a complex internal software architecture, unfinished features and an uncommon user interface, there was always enthusiastic support from the community and customers who had purchased Blender Publisher in the past. Ton could not justify the disappearence of Blender 3d into oblivion. Since restarting a company with a sufficiently large team of developers was not feasible, in March 2002 Ton Roosendaal founded the nonprofit Blender Foundation (Blender).

The first objective of the Blender Foundation was to find a way to continue developing and promoting Blender as an open source project based on the user community. In July 2002, Ton managed to get the NaN investors a "yes" to the Blender Foundation to carry out its plan to Blender as open source. The "Free Blender" campaign sought to raise 100,000 EUR so that the Foundation could buy the rights of the source code and intellectual property of Blender as the NaN investors and subsequently release the Blender open source community. With an enthusiastic group of volunteers, among whom were several former employees of NaN, was launched the campaign "Free Blender". To the delight and surprise of everyone, the campaign reached the 100,000 EUR goal in only 7 weeks.

On Sunday, 13 October 2002, Blender was released to the world under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). Blender development continues to this day driven by a team of volunteers from various parts of the world led by Blender's creator, Ton Roosendaal.
Posted: January 25, 2010
contractkiller
Carl wrote:
I would add blender 3d to this list. It has all the tools that the software you listed have and even more. The fact that it is free doesn't mean it is not up to the industry standard.


I disagree somewhat Carl, it may well be up to producing industry standard animation, but on the other hand it isn't as advanced nor user-friendly as other packages are, or have industry standard support. While it is free, this is not an excuse for the program's weaknesses. It is good for learning all you need to know and also creating good work. I also have great respect for Blender as I have used it for many years, but after working in the games industry I really feel it's lack quite keenly now I am using it for personal work.
Posted: January 29, 2010
UVlas
Contractkiller, You have definitely not seen the new user interface in Blender2.5 alpha. They have redesigned everything and added a lot of functionality.
Posted: February 23, 2010
3d artist gallery Andyba
Indeed Blender2.5 has custom hotkey definitions now so it will be much more popular among professionals, and is definitely worth mentioning among the high end 3d animation software. It's in Alpha yet and many tools are missing but what I have seen is enough to include it in the list.
Posted: July 24, 2010
UVlas
Now that Blender 2.5 BETA is released it became the best free 3d animation program. I am just wondering what will happen when the big guys will develop everything there is to develop and the open source programs like blender will catch up? Will anyone buy the expensive 3d graphics software when there are programs with the same animation tools and usability for free?
Posted: August 05, 2010
3d artist gallery Andyba
UVlas, there will always be something new to develop.
In the far future there will be programs that will read your mind with a special device and you will be able to create with your imagination alone. Smile
But until then there will always be some new animation tools to invent and develop. Smile
Posted: August 28, 2010
omi
A_K wrote:
Hi johnmartyn
Is iKITMovie an Animation Industry Standard in 3d Animation? Can it be used in the production of animated movies like Shrek and Ice Age? Or may be it can be used in The creation of animated special effects for movies like the Lord of The Rings, Avatar and Transformers? I don't think so. So if you have nothing to say about Industry Standard 3d Animation Software - don't.

You are correct iKITMovie is not even a 3d animation software it uses camera to record the stop motion animation. Smile
Posted: August 28, 2010
johnmichael
This is is an interesting post..i like this and want to update it from time to time..
Posted: January 27, 2011
imandehearty
yup...I obtain more knowledge from here.. It's really interesting to see how technologies develop nowadays. We could create a really specific motions etc..
Posted: February 04, 2011
tramadol rss feed
Very informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.
Posted: February 12, 2011
EuraForsetht
Excellent learn, I simply passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on that.
Posted: February 28, 2011
CG forums guest
blender is alright but Autodesk is letting students (like me) get a 3 year licence for free just register. but to do that you need to be 13 yrs and above. [im 14 Smile]
Posted: April 24, 2011
olegylas
I HAVE SOMETHING GOOD FOR YOU TALK TO ME IN PRIVATE!!!
Posted: May 24, 2011
blitz3dservice
Anim8or is free 3d animation software that includes modeling, character design, and animation. It reads and writes 3ds (3d Studio) and Lightwave files and creates .avi output. Check it out!
Posted: June 02, 2011
baalnazzar
UVIAs --> Of course there is no sense in payng for something you can get free. That's why it's good that there is powerful free soft like Blender. Blender existence makes that other developers cannot be lazy and take money for no or little innovation. It force them to create something worth paying and introduce improvements that were planned for later or they'll loose clients. Free and powerful soft is a strong competitor and that's the beauty of this I think Smile
Posted: June 21, 2011
Giliam86
I was amazed by the features of the 3D animation software though I was just wondering to make a career in 3D animation so I think MAYA is the best 3D animation software ever I used.
Posted: June 24, 2011
Martinezzzz
Somebody know wich programs are used to make animation like Kung Fu Panda and Ice Age?!
Posted: July 21, 2011
renzki321
if i click vertex alt the points will turn to color yellow. i can move the vertex. please help me thx help me to disable this mode thx.
Posted: July 23, 2011
rianurdhwa
I am a beginner
how modeling of effective and low polygon
Posted: July 24, 2011
rianurdhwa
Martinezzzz wrote:
Somebody know wich programs are used to make animation like Kung Fu Panda and Ice Age?!

I dont know
Posted: September 10, 2011
dfrankcom
r00ki wrote:
Which are the best 3d animation programs?
I need to find 5 industry standard 3D animation software for an assessment at college and I am having a bit of trouble finding them.

If anyone knows which are these computer animation programs it would be greatly appreciated.

cheers


I don't know too much about 3D animation but I use anim8or and it is great for a free program. I am amazed with what I can do with my limited knowledge. If your more experienced that I am, I think that you should check this out.
dfrankcom
Posted: September 19, 2011
georgpaul49
Very cool informations, thx.
i learn much.heheheh
Have fun
Posted: September 30, 2011
paulelliott
hi! glad to be here! getting interested in animating. this discussion would be a great help in my studies.
Posted: October 16, 2011
whitemammoth
Thanks for good info about this software
Posted: October 25, 2011
georgpaul49
Autodesk is the best, but to expensive!
I make my movies with Carrara8 Pro.
It cost with all Plugins ca.1000 Dollar.
The Quality is very good.
I love Carrara8 pro.
Have fun
Posted: December 04, 2011
xyzman24
Wow this is very interesting. I will definitely be passing this all along to my friends interested in becoming professional 3d animators!
Posted: May 18, 2012
rockenrolla
hi,

is there any animation software that could render animations not frame by frame? (what i would like to do is just click a button then automatically create a rendered animation.) cause what im doing is create my animation in 3dmaxs then render my animation frame by frame then combined those frames on adobe after effects.

THANKS Smile
Posted: May 21, 2012
terryray
If you are interesting in 3D Animation, Realluison provides easier 3D software called iClone5 that is easy to use and easy affordable costs ( around $150 exactly price not sure ). The iClone5 can work with MS Kinect to create animation without fram by frame. You can use your Autodesk software to create project and import to iclone5 to create animation.

They are also Microsoft official Kinect for Windows of partners and recommended custom solution providers.
Posted: July 11, 2013
animation studio
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Posted: November 29, 2013
new23D
3D news,
Hi, I was wondering if you might have some suggestions on what CG animation software is available for commercial use and affordable.

I am a freelance artist and have been hired to create CG animation for a client.
Unfortunately, I am no longer a student (thus can't access the student software) and even if I had the student software, I'm pretty sure it doesn't allow for the creation of commercial animation.

So, I'm stuck.
I need to find a reasonably priced CG Animation software that will allow me to animate and render character animation for work.

Is there a more affordable software substitute for Maya or 3DS Max?
Posted: November 29, 2013
BlenderNewb
new23D, try Blender. It has decent character 3d animation tools.
Here is a blender animation workflow video:
Posted: March 29, 2016
dollardinaj
r00ki, "d to find 5 industry standard 3D animation software for an assessment at college and I am having a bit of trouble finding them.

If anyone knows which are these computer animation programs it would be greatly appreciated.

cheers "


Hi rooki you can use 3d studio max for pc and you use just for fun to make animation on mobile then you can use fx guru software. Which make me easy to animation. Here my video tutorial for mobile