10 Best 3D Animation Software (Paid & Free)

Ever since the advent of the animated film “Fantasmagorie” in 1908, animated story-telling has forever changed people’s imaginations. From legendary cartoons like Tom & Jerry and Looney Tunes to Japanese animations like Graves of the Fireflies and Spirited Away, animated videos have become a significant part of our pop-culture.

With a wide range of paid and free 3D animation software available today, allowing absolutely anyone with a basic knowledge of 3D animation programs to make visually stunning animations, the world of marketing stands revolutionized.
These software can help you with stop-motion animation, motion graphics, CGI, typography, and a whole lot more.

Video animation plays a key role in business development. According to Business Wire, 85% of consumers made a purchase after watching their promotional video. Therefore, it’s imperative for marketers and video makers alike to make use of the best 3D animation software to bring life and engagement to their videos. So, we’ve put together a list of the top five free and five paid 3D animation software that would surely contribute to your professional endeavors.

  • Part1: Best Free 3D Animation Software (Total 5)
  • Part2: Best Paid 3D Animation Software (Total 5)

Part 1: Best Free 3D Animation Software (Total 5)

Image Credits Features Pros Cons

Description

K-3D is a dynamic 3D animation software for video makers and artists alike. It comes with a sleek combination of plugins ranging from the node visualization pipeline to parametric workflows. If you already know about animation processes, then it will be a breeze for you to incorporate K-3D into your work.

This offers tremendous possibilities to animators compared to any other conventional modifier stacks. It’s highly customizable and has a user-friendly interface.

Features Pros Cons

Description

Blender is another incredible open-source 3D animation studio. It features a plethora of 3D animation, including texturing, video editing, body sculpting and simulation, 3D modeling, skinning, rigging, compositing, and more. It’s also compatible with hosting applications 3D architecture designing, visual effects, 3D animated films, among others.

Features Pros Cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • Limited updates.

Description

Daz 3D is a specialized 3D animation software that can be used by both freelancers and professionals. You can buy custom 3D models and templates on its marketplace or you can modify the already available preset models. Moreover, this software also features a diverse range of tools to make changes and modifications to your animation, making it perfect for creating explainer videos. Not only that, but you can also make your own model with various configurations and allow the software to animate automatically.

Features Pros Cons

Description

Wings 3D is one of the best free 3d animation software for beginners that allows you to make all types of animation easily. It can be used for a wide range of tasks of varying complexities. If you don’t have a big budget but want to do 3D animation, then this is one of the best software you can opt for. It has a diverse range of features that can come in handy in making some really cool 3D animations. However, the interface might be a bit clunky, as compared to other software on the list.

Features Pros Cons

Description

Clara is a cloud-based free 3D animation software that is ideal for handling complex animation projects. It’s run on a web browser but it’s capable of doubling up as a 3D animation movie maker. The software doesn’t require you to animate every frame manually. By using interpolation, you’d be able to fill the frames between the keyframes. Moreover, you can also embed your 3D animation into websites.

Part 2: Best Paid 3D Animation Software (Total 5)

Features Pros Cons

Description

Maya is an award-winning 3D animation software that excels in customizable user-interface. The software has been used for numerous feature films and TV shows, including Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, Spider-Man along with South Park, and Game of Thrones. Recently it helped First Man The Movie to win the “Best Award for Visual Effects”. One of the prominent features of Maya is that it allows you to accomplish complex tweaks seamlessly. Moreover, it also offers an auto-rigging tool that automatically works on winged and four-legged 3D models.

Features Pros

  • Save the animators’ time and effort
  • Auto-simulates anthropologic and quadrupeds characters.

Cons

Description

Houdini is a node-based 3D animation software that makes the life of a 3D animator so much easier. Since its procedural nature, it automatically makes minor adjustments and saves the animators time and effort. Whether it may be terrain maps or hallways of a mansion, you can animate almost anything with the procedural modeling approach. It also features an auto-rigging tool that also prevents the hassle of manually animating anthropologic and four-legged 3D characters.

Features Pros Cons

  • Limited native content.
  • Limited functionality of modeling tools.

Description

Cinema 4D is known for its usability and reliability. The learning curve isn’t steep as compared to other 3D animation software. The software features a Body paint tool that allows you to make changes and view the textures simultaneously. Moreover, it also features the LOD tools for object simplification as per their camera distance and various other aspects — resulting in enhancing the overall rendering speed. The software is packed with a wide range of intuitive tools to animate characters splendidly.

Features Pros

  • Export any project
  • Thousands of animated characters

Cons

Description

If you’re looking for the fast and smoothest keyframe animation software, then Motion builder is the most optimal option. It expedites the process of the keyframing of biped and humanoid characters. With a tool called Human inverse kinematics, it immediately rigs humanoid characters. Not only that, rigged 3D models supports almost all the major 3D animation software tools

Features Pros Cons

  • Limited user community
  • Lack of updating sculpting tool

Description

Modo is one powerful 3D animation software for professionals to fully explore and incubate ideas without the need to follow an extended procedure. It has one of the most interactive navigation, toggling hotkeys, and modeling that enhances the overall user experience. The software offers fast and efficient rendering.

Final Words

There are loads of 3D animation software available, and every company has a different nature of business. Therefore, it’s imperative to choose the right software that completely fulfills your requirements. For example, if you have a highly professional requirement then go for the premium ones, otherwise, free 3D animation programs would suffice.

Originally published at https://buzzflick.com on November 17, 2020.

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