Free Computer Animation Software And Tips
Let's say you want to begin dabbling in computer animation, but do not have the dough to dish out for classes or programs like Maya, there are countless options available for little or no cash. Warning, though, computer animation is a vicious beast requiring some patience and a lot of taming. Even easier programs can lead to hours of frustration because of buggy-ness or computer error.
You can check out a variety of free software options at About.com HERE. posted by animatorAdrien-Luc Sanders.
The image above, part of World Order #5, a piece for percussion ensemble, video, and tape to scheduled for performance November 5th at KSU, was made in Bryce. Bryce is inexpensive and is excellent for creating landscapes and simplified objects. One of the benefits of Bryce is its compatibility with the DAZ Studio software. DAZ is free to download. It is a basic animation program with some control over your characters' movement, facial expressions, etc. You can opt to purchase objects and characters straight off of DAZ for a minimum cost (especially if you join the Platinum Club), but there are many websites that offer freebies that can be used in both DAZ and Bryce (and the competitor, Poser). I have read a lot of positive feedback with Poser, but since I just sank a busload of money into buying a new computer, I am waiting on purchasing the software, which currently goes for about $250.
Here are some websites with animation FREEBIES:
I personally like www.sharecg.com best, but each has something to offer.
If you are new to downloading free CG from the internet, I highly recommend you read this tutorial on Integrating Third Party Products into DAZ . This article helps clear up how to properly set up freebies in your CONTENTS folder in order to access them through the program.
A few quick tips:
1) Save, save, and SAVE again! And before you embark on a radical change to your animation, save it under a different name.
2) Remember that RENDERING (essentially the process of computing all the information to create an animation) takes a lot of time.
3) Check your animation before rendering a full version of your piece. You can do this with wireframe, rendering versions without textures/shadows, etc., and rendering out video at smaller resolutions and sizes.
4) Figure out what your computer can handle and work within those limits. You will learn more through working on hours of simple animations, than working forever on making sure that two seconds of a highly reflective object shines right because your computer cannot handle all the additional information of refraction/reflection, etc.
5) Learn all of the vocab - refraction, render, texture, material, object, etc.
6) Get used to thinking in 3D. (I still mess up the axis sometimes).
7) You can save time by replacing 3D objects with 2D objects for objects that do not need dimensionality (this can be done in Photoshop).
You can learn more with these articles:
DAZ Studio Review
DAZ Studio Review
This is a video made in DAZ that was composited in Final Cut Express.