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looking for a good program to get started with

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looking for a good program to get started with

i'm looking to start trying some 3d animation, and am in need of some easy beginner programs to use. please note that i have no experience in the field, but have a passion for the it. Any books to recommend?

actually, any suggestions on how to get started would be helpful. thanks.

Anim8or is a good entry-level freeware program. Another freebie you might look into is Blender. Again, not a ton of support, but it's free...

Animation:Master is a pretty good program to start with, and there's a huge community of users. It's also the least expensive program out there.

Also, if you're a student (high school, college), you can get top-end programs like Maya and Lightwave at steep discounts from sites like .

Blender has a pretty good support forum in, plus there are full user guides online. Hash has good animation tools but a unique modeling system, but also comes with fully rigged characters to play around with. AM is pretty easy to use as well, most things can be done with a right click, whereas blender relies heavily on key commands. Blender, it is rumored, will have many more character animation features in the next version, so that is something to think about. Once you get past the initial lingo of the programs things get much more universal, so I'd say Blender is good, AM if you can blow a few bucks. if you are a student.

Actually, there's no reason to start with anything but what's used in the industry right now.

Depending on what you're after, there are softwares that're more common.

For game design, Maya and 3DS Max are the most used for real-time in-game graphics. Both Maya and 3DS are also used for game cinematics, but Softimage XSI is also in there quite a bit.

For film, you're good with Maya or Softimage XSI. Softimage is more commonly used for stop-motion.

But, if you're just starting, I'd strongly recommend taking up Maya. It's one of the most intuitive softwares on the market today and the learning manuals are a great deal easier to follow and learn from. A great book that will take you from knowing literally nothing about 3D to being a solid intermediate animator is "Introducing Maya 6 - 3D for beginners" by Dariush Derakhshani. Excellent book.

Once you've gotten your feet wet, and you know the basics of everything or most, then you can check out . A great site with Quicktime tutorials, and most of them are fantastic...all the tricks of the trade.


you can also try learn with

it is a open source [free!] 3d software to learn with.

Visit my site

thanks guys. i downloaded the maya software. now i just have to pick up a book or two.

maya learning

If you want to use Maya, a good place for learning is:

they have a lot of good free video tutorials. It's a good place to start with Maya.

Animation Master, a complete 3D animation package for only $300 USD? Sounds too, too good to be true so I went on an info quest to find out more. I've read on the web that Animation Master has quite a few problems with stability---frequent crashes---and that the folks at Hash don't take kindly to negative feedback on the company's web site, so posts at the company's web site are censored. Hope it aint true, but this info gives me pause.....

From what I see and the stuff they have produced, their packages is light years behind Maya and XSI. Just get the free Maya PLE and learn it

Make no mistake - Animation Master is primarily a hobbyist package. A very full-featured hobbyist package, but...

That said, stability is on par with every other 3D package I've ever used. I've used A:M in the past, and have never had trouble getting tech support when I needed it. Yes, they don't allow negative posts in the forum on their site - not many corporations do that I'm aware of.

Plenty of noteworthy professional animators choose A:M when it comes to working on personal projects specifically because of it's ease of use and the ability for an individual to complete a project without an IT department at hand. So if you want to produce a short or learn 3D basics without coughing up 4 figures worth of cash, A:M is a good choice.

If your goal is to work at a CG company, then you're probably better off downloading Maya.

No, I'm not a Hash employee - just a guy who's actually used it rather than relying on opinions from the web... :D

:) Thanks to the web we can read both the positive and the negative of Animation Master. Heck, we can read about the good and the bad of any and all animation programs. No program is perfect, but some are better than others.

Might as well start with what the industry uses. Personally, I'd start with Maya, which has a free student version you can download. There are several good Maya learning books that will take you step by step through the process of creating models, rigging, lighting, and camera.

By the way, all posts in here are posts on the WEB! ;)

thanks for the response. you wouldn't know the link for that download would you?

You can get Maya PLE here. You'll also want to check out this page, which provides some useful tools to get started.

Starting in 3D is never easy, and Maya is not one of the easier programs to use when you have no 3D experience. Take it slow, don't expect too much right away, and be sure you understand the fundamentals before moving on to more advanced concepts. It'll save you lots of time in the long run.

You should also sign up for the forums at CGChar. This is a community very knowledgeable about 3D and character animation. It's an invaluable resource as you're learning.

I'd actually recommend not using Maya - but try it out and see if I'm wrong.

If your goal is to get into animating characters as quickly as possible - and I'd assume this is the case from the context of this forum - then I'd recommend something along the lines of Hash AnimationMaster.

Keep in mind - this is not industry software, and iot is limited in more complicated issues (cloth deformation, shading/rendering, particles, etc.) But it is a package that you can use quickly to learn 3D animation. If you then have a good reel, any house will train you on Maya and - very important - you will have the technical assistance in rigging and rendering to keep you from going insane.

In case anyone suspects I'm being biased, I don't use Hash myself, I use messiah:animate.

I've got a copy of Maya PLE and I just haven't put the time in to learn it yet. I've been using a free program called Anim8or. Not what you'd call a lot of tech support outside the forum at the site, but it's easy (too easy) and intuitive. Yeah, that means it's problably even more limited than Hash, which I have yet to try, but it's not bad for getting some basic work done. Combined with a few other softwares, you can get some neat stuff done, and learn.

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