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Article: Top 5 Best 3D Animation Software That Professional Use

Top 5 Best 3D Animation Software That Professional Use

Created by Jose Arias - Jota -

Nowadays, one of the popular animations among professional designers and animators is 3D animation. It is because 3D animation tends to have high demand and is helpful for both professional designers and animators. Furthermore, the are many animation software for making free 3D animation. Even though some animation software still needs payments.

Another thing that makes 3D animation popular is that the industry is growing so fast. For example, many videos, movies, VFX, motion graphics, and others use 3D animation programs. If professionals or beginners want to make 3D animation, some recommended animation software can be used. For instance, you can use Blender, Autodesk Maya, Cinema 4D, ZBrush, and Daz Studio. 

That 3D animation software is the most popular among professionals and has high quality to create 3D animation. Moreover, creating 3D animation videos using that animation software is simpler and easier. It is because that software has many tools and features to make professionals able to create amazing 3D animation movies and videos. If you want to know further about that animation software, let’s check it out below. 


1. Blender

The first recommendation for the best 3D animation software used by professionals is Blender. Blender is a free and open-source program that you can use to create stunning and amazing 3D animation videos. Since it is free, you do not have to pay anything for using this program. Although it is free, it does not mean that Blender has low quality. 

This animation software is really helpful in creating video editing, animation, modeling, rigging, composition, simulation, and even video games. Blender is suitable for people, including beginners, students, animators, game developers, and even professionals. 

A complete and complex toolset in Blender supports professionals’ work during the process of making 3D animation. Additionally, it is also a good platform for professionals who want to do modeling more easily. 

Blender also has a Cycles, which is a default path tracer engine. This engine can help professionals to get VR rendering support, HDR lighting support, and realistic rendering outputs. Furthermore, this animation software is also equipped with scripting language so you can add text, effects, and custom libraries to your animation. Besides, it also has sculpting tools and 3D Painting tools that support professionals’ work in creating amazing videos. 

Created by Roquied


Animation Toolset in Blender

As an introduction, Blender has a complete toolset that will support you in creating realistic animation. Examples of the toolset in Blender are character animation pose editor, sound synchronization, forward/inverse kinematics that functions for fast poses, and Non-Linear Animation that helps to create independent movements. 

Rigging in Blender 

By using Blender’s rigging, you can transform a model into a posable character a lot easier. The rigging tools that are offered by Blender are easy weight painting, b-spline interpolated bones, mirror functionality, bone layers, skeleton, automatic skinning, envelope, and many others. 

Constraints in Blender

What is contrast? It is a way to control an object, such as scale, ‘target,’ location, and many others. If you want to control an object, you can use the constraints of the targetted object. Furthermore, you can also create constraints’ settings, such as armature’s bone. 

Shape keys

You can use shape keys to deform an object into a new shape of animation. The shape keys are also called “blend shapes” and “morph targets.” The shape keys are mostly used for the facial expression of the character. Furthermore, shape keys are also generally used for refining and tweaking a skeletal rig. In particular, refining and tweaking are useful for modeling muscles and organic soft parts to add more control. 

You can also apply shape keys to an object that has a curve, mesh, lattice, and surface. Furthermore, there is also a ‘Motion Paths’ that can visualize the motion points as paths of frames series. If you want to remove or create motion paths, then you have to select the bones. Then, you can click the ‘Calculate Path button’ to show the path if needed. Meanwhile, if you want to hide it, then click on ‘Clear Paths.’ 

Created by Timur Dautov


What Can You Animate in Blender?

First, you can make an animation of walk cycles using Blender. Walk cycles are one of the important parts of character in 3D animation. However, walk cycles are super hard to make for beginners. If you want to make good walk cycles, you have to break the walk cycles into keyframes. Practices are also necessary to create good walk cycles. 

The second animation that you can make is quick water animation. You can make quick water animation using Blender because it is packed with complete features and tools. Furthermore, the rendering engine and powerful physics of Blender make professionals able to create an animation of realistic water easily.

Another animation that you can make is realistic animated trees. As its name, you can make realistic trees in the form of 3D animation. To make a realistic tree, you can use one of the add-ons in Blender, which is called the sapling tool. If you want to use these add ons, visit the ‘User Preferences’ options and turn them on. By using the sapling tool, you can easily create realistic trees. 

There is no limit to the type of tress that you want to create because Blender is well equipped with controls of sides, branches, height, and many more. Professionals can also possibly make a forest by cloning the trees. 

In addition, professionals can also make rolling dice animation using Blender. To create rolling dice 3D animation, of course, you need to follow the guidelines and do the step-by-step. The rolling dice animation in Blender is amazing because this animation software has advanced features and tools to create realistic dice rolls. Moreover, the physics engine of Blender can create rolling motion in a simulated table. 

Created by Jing Zhang


2. Autodesk Maya

Autodesk Maya was initially released using IRIX operating system. However, in August 2006, IRIX operating system did no longer supported this animation software. Then, Autodesk Maya released a new version, which is version 6.5. that was available in unlimited and complete editions, but these editions were only available until August 2008. After that, Autodesk Maya was changed into a single suite. 

You can create 3D animation, presentations, and games using this animation software. Autodesk Maya is also an animation software that can be used for generating 3D assets for movies, television, and architecture. 

Autodesk Maya also provides many video effects to make professionals’ projects more interesting. Furthermore, this animation software is loaded with interactive features and tools that help professionals in creating 3D animation projects and presentations easy way. 

If you want to do modeling, texturing, animating, lighting, and rendering, Autodesk Maya is a perfect choice. It is because this animation software has a video-based editor which is non-linear and non-destructive, so it can help professionals to create realistic and high-quality 3D animation. Besides, this animation software also has perfect cloth simulation with accurate outputs and results. 

Moreover, AutoDesk Maya always has the newest tools because it is updated periodically, so it supports professionals’ work. For example, the latest updates of the program are improving the software workflow. The best feature of this animation software is that you can export and import files easily, especially SVG files. Overall, this 3D animation software is worth buying for any 3D animation project. 

Professionals can save their scenes into many types of formats, but the default format is .mb. Since Autodesk Maya exposes a node graph for architecture, the scene elements are also node-based. Therefore, each node has different customization and attributes to the visual representation of the scenes.  

Created by Mike Pearson


Autodesk Maya Achievements

Autodesk Maya got the first award in 2003. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gives Technical Achievement for Autodesk Maya on March 1, 2003. This award was given because of the great development of Autodesk Maya. 

After that, this animation software got another award in 2005. This animation software also got an award from Academy Award for Technical Achievement. It is because this animation software invest subdivision surfaces. Furthermore, Autodesk Maya also got another Academy Award for Technical Achievement on 8 February 2008 for their fluid effects system.  

Tools and Features Available in Autodesk Maya

A the top of the screen, you can find a menu bar. This menu bar can adjust this animation software and will change based on the method of your work. In this menu bar, there is a ‘Status line’ that contains several shortcut commands. 

Below the ‘status line,’ you can find a quick access toolbar which is also called a ‘shell bra.’ In shell bras, professionals can add some tools based on their needs for working. Next, there is a ‘Manipulating toolbar’ at the left side that contains the move tool, selection tool, and many others. 

Furthermore, Autodesk Maya also has a ‘perspective viewport’ at the center of the screen. This menu can preview professionals' work before exporting it. Moreover, there are also several tabs on the right side. An example of the tab is ‘Channel box,’ which can present the parameters of the current select object. 

Besides, the channel box also allows professionals to create changes in the parameters of the selected object. If you find of difficult to understand all of these tools and features, it is okay because you will easily use this animation software once you start working using Autodesk Maya.

Created by Pé Grande Animation


3. Cinema 4D

Cinema $D is also the best 3D animation software that is often used by professionals, such as animators and artists. It is popular because it has the best animation effects and tools. Furthermore, Cinema 4D also has good quality in results. Besides, it also provides fast outputs. 

Additionally, many beginners and professionals use this 3D animation software because it is user-friendly, which means it is easy and simple to use. Therefore, this animation software is highly recommended for beginners who want to create amazing 3D animation projects. If you find difficulty in using this animation software, do not worry because Cinema 4D already provides tutorials and illustrations in their community. 

The tutorials and illustrations can help professionals to easily understand how to master this software. Furthermore, this animation software also provides tools to create realistic images so that it supports advanced renderers to do their works. 

The software also supports motion graphics, modeling, and any 3D animation purposes, because it is a feature called MoGraph. Last but not least, this software is also able to make great accuracy of hair simulations. 

Created by DIMA FLOOD


The Cinema 4d Learning Curve

Besides all of the great tools and features mentioned previously, Cinema 4D is also well-known for its quick and smooth learning curve. Many professionals gave their opinion that Cinema 4D is the easiest 3D software to learn and produce results quickly. On the other hand, professionals fall in love with this 3D animation software because it has a clean, sleek, and intuitive interface, so it is very user-friendly even for beginners. 

When professionals are first using a new program, it is natural to feel nervous and scared because you are not used to it. The way to overcome this is to implement your previous knowledge and experience when using similar software. 

After that, professionals just need to develop those abilities. Another important thing is to never stop learning and be patient when learning new things. With these tips, professionals will quickly master Cinema 4D.

Created by Martin Girardeau


4. Daz Studio

Another great and complete 3D animation software is Daz Studio. It is recommended for creating animation and projects. Another great news is that this software is free. However, before professionals can use this software, you need to register first. 

Professionals can create rendering using this software as well. Additionally, professionals can add some details, models, scenes and manipulate the models to fulfill professionals' needs. In general, this 3D animation software is made for professionals who are used to 3D animation programs. 

Daz Studio is an animation software specially designed for manipulating images and ready-to-use models. Apart from that, Daz Studio also has features and tools for creating other 3D content. These features and tools are made for professionals who want to pose human figures and non-human figures of 3D animation. It is comfortable to have animation software that can support professionals' various needs. 

Daz Studio started providing tools and tools for 3D content by selling 3D human (and some non-human) models as well as other 3D content by providing several popular basic models for free. This continues to be done by Daz Studio from time to time. This animation software also sells models for clothing and properties for the same purpose.

Finally, in October 2017, this animation software added the 'dForce physics engine' to the free offering options. The dForce physics engine is the system used by this software to simulate draping due to wind, gravity, or colliding with another object.

Created by Olivier Caron


5. Zbrush

In the era before animation software like ZBrush, professionals only used 3D animation software that was so complex that the work became more difficult just to create a detailed object. However, Zbrush comes by taking the concept of traditional sculpture from clay balls. ZBrush also helps professionals to simplify and speed up their work.

Professionals can make sculptors using real clay, such as pushing, scraping, pulling, squeezing, and so on. This 3D software comes with 30 kinds of brush tools in its initial version, which is now definitely better updated. 

With these various brush tools, professionals can perform various processes and controls to get satisfactory work results. Moreover, ZBrush also allows professionals to create details in their 3D works, from wrinkles on a person's skin to scales on fish or other animals.

Zbrush is an animation software that focuses more on modeling and texturing projects. However, professionals can also use this software to produce animation projects. Not only 3D animation projects, but this animation software also helps professionals to make a model in 2.5D. The model also has been well equipped with brushes that will fulfill your needs. 

Created by Netrave Crypto

Moreover, creating sculptures is possible when you use this animation software. Professionals can also import those sculptures into other 3D animation software. Rendering is also available in Zbrush, which can help professionals to make polygon fibers, trees, plants, and many others. 

Thos most favorite and best feature of Zbrush is that it provides Polypaint Function. What is polypaint function? So, with this Polypaint function, professionals can paint the object that professionals want without having to create a texture map of the object first. Thus, professionals can save more time and energy to produce extraordinary works.

In conclusion, there are many types of programs and 3D animation software available in the market today. Several animation software is indeed simpler, but others are more complex. Several animation software is available, but other software needs payments. 

Therefore, all decisions are in the hands of professionals to choose which animation software they want and best meet their work needs. Keep in mind that every 3D animation software has tools and features that you can not find in other animation software.

Created by Amin Akhshi


Final Words

Well, those are the top 5 best 3D animation software that is used by beginners and professionals. Each animation software has its advantages and disadvantages, so you need to determine which one is the most suitable for your needs. 

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1 comment

I really appreciate your work. the whole point very easy to understand. Please keep us up to date like this.

Freelance Motion Graphics Designer

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