Beginner's guide to 3D animation software

Desktops

by Jimmy Nicholls| 26 June 2014

Tools to suit any budget or hardware.

If you fancy yourself as the next Pixar hotshot, it can be hard to know where to start. Software packages can set you back more than a grand, and the array of options can be overwhelming. In that vein we present you with an overview of what is out there, helping you get started in 3D animation.

1. Maya

Maya

Price: Free for students or £2,170
Platform: Windows and Mac

Touted as the industry standard for 3D animation, Maya is an excellent tool for anybody with an interest in animating professionally. Maya boasts an extensive range of features for modelling and animating, including many filters and effects for the enthusiast to master. If you have seen it done before, chances are Maya can do it.

2. Lightwave

Lightwave

Price: Educational version £120 or full version £880
Platform: Windows and Mac

Though weak at character animation, Lightwave is a strong contender when it comes to visual effects, and the price is friendlier than many others on this list, especially if you are buying as a school. It is also well integrated with other tools, in particular ZBrush, and allows you to use motion sensor devices in your animation.

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