All the razzmatazz of 3D animation is made possible by software that enables 360-degree movement of objects in 3D space. There are many different types of software from leading vendors of the industry that is used in 3D animations ranging from the quite simple fare to very sophisticated stacks. So what are the leading software packages used in 3D animations today? Well, there are several – used for creating, editing and giving special effects – but presented here is a list of the 10 leading the field.
Autodesk 3ds Max is the top pick among 3D animation modeling software with several advantages like powerful rendering and 3D modelling tools for professional-quality 3D engineering animations and models, as well as for virtual reality visualisations. This software, with efficient and flexible toolset, also enables better 3D animation content in less time.
Autodesk Maya is one of the most popular 3D animation software suites for 3D animations that facilitates creating of expansive worlds, complex characters and dazzling effects that bring very realistic and believable objects and characters to life with engaging animation tools. Maya software also allows shaping of 3D objects and scenes with intuitive modeling tools.
Blender is an open source software suite for 3D animation, which can also be used for 3D engineering animations. It is very versatile and suitable for a wide range of applications like animated feature films, visual effects, art, interactive applications, video games, and architectural visualisations. The best thing about Blender is, it is free and hence popular with professionals as well as hobbyists!
KeyShot is considered as one of the fastest and easiest to use 3D animation software available for rendering and other applications. This software is trusted by users thanks to its speed, ease of use, scientifically accurate materials, and advanced material editing capabilities, especially for 3D product animation. In just a few steps, one can create amazing visuals from 3D models to use throughout the product development process.
Adobe Substance Painter stands out of the rest of the pack for the simple reason that it is complex! This is not really a 3D animation software but is used for texturing and a product from the Adobe stable that complements not just other Adobe animation software but also those from other vendors. To those at home with Photoshop, Substance Painter opens new vistas with amazing possibilities for creative use of paints and textures with limitless possibilities to enliven 3D engineering animations.
Adobe Dimension makes it easy to build brand visualisations, product mockups, packaging designs, spatial designs and other creative work. This 3D animation modeling software helps create photorealistic images with depth, texture and the right lighting. It can import 2D designs from Photoshop and Illustrator and materials from Substance, and refine them further in Photoshop to create high-quality images and 3D interactive content.
Adobe Photoshop is described as the world’s best imaging and graphic design software. Considered as a must for just about every creative project, it can be used for photo editing and compositing to digital painting, animation and graphic design and is ideal for 3D product animation. Its versatility means one can use it on the desktop as well as the iPad, lending great convenience whether it is designing posters, packaging, banners or websites.
Adobe Illustrator, first released in 1987, has been updated periodically and is now part of Adobe Creative Cloud suite of software. The Illustrator is widely used by graphic designers, web designers, visual artists, and professional creators of 3D engineering animations throughout the world to create high quality artwork. Illustrator includes many sophisticated drawing tools that can reduce the time need to create illustrations.
Every digital creation needs editing and Adobe Premiere Pro is among the best video editing software in the field. With its suite of creative tools, integration with other apps and services, one can edit the footage to convert into sleek video or presentation, which is especially relevant for 3D animations. The best part is Premiere Pro works seamlessly with other apps and services, including Photoshop, After Effects, Adobe Audition and Adobe Stock.
As the name indicates, Adobe After Effects is used in the post-production process of 3D animation as also other film making, video games, etc., to provide digital visual effects and motion graphics. After Effects can be used for keying, tracking, compositing and animation. This 3D animation software also functions as a very basic non-linear editor, audio editor, and media transcoder.
As mentioned at the beginning, there are many different kinds of software available for 3D animation of products, engineering systems or even for making an explainer video of the product from various vendors. Many of these are sharing common features, though a few boast of exclusive features. Some of these are free for use, others are available on monthly cloud based fees or outright purchase. Most have a trial period offer. The choice depends on individual preferences.