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WitchLord

Software for creating 3D model animations

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I'm looking for an easy-to-use program to create animation sequences for game models, e.g. walk cycle, death animation, crouch, run, etc. Note, that at this moment I'm only looking for a good software to do the animation sequences. The modelling part is already covered with Art of Illusion, or Anim8or, which are excellent free softwares. These programs however seems to be focused on doing movie animations, instead of creating animation sequences for game models. I'm not an animator myself, so the easier the program is to use the better. I have looked at some of the programs on the list here: http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=202348. And I'll continue to search until I find the perfect software (or perhaps I'll just write one myself [wink]). Basically I'm just looking for recommendations. What software are you using to create the animation sequences? Thanks, Andreas

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3ds max character studio/biped is excellent for those types of things.

Making a loop is easy in any software, though. Making the animation is what is difficult, and requires a tremendous knowledge of any program to get it working well and a tremendous knowledge of animation principles to get it looking well. Animation is really not for the light-hearted or those who don't plan to work with it. If you only need a couple animations, turbosquid.com has a couple dozen free animations in FBX format from Kaydara's motionbuilder. Good luck getting them into Maya or any software on your existing skeleton. If you need a bunch of animations, there are a handful of motion capture libraries you can buy for a couple hundred bucks, in BVH format (using 3ds max's character studio/biped).

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Personally, I use Maya. I've contemplated sitting down and diving into MotionBuilder, but I haven't taken the time. Thus far, Maya has fullfilled all of my needs with its capabilities, though those needs have been relatively little so far.

I'm about to dive hardcore into a FPS doing rigging and animating in Maya and exporting out to the X format over the next five weeks as a lead animator in a class project, so I might be able to give you a little better opinion at the end of that.

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A bit of a warning to all, Maya's .x exporter is WEAK. Extraordinarily weak. I suggest either exporting from max's .x exporter (exporting as .fbx in maya and importing in max), or even better, use Right Hemisphere's Deep Exploration for .x export. I doubt you can even get Maya's .x files to load in your game engine.

I also use Maya for animating. However, its game development support is weak, because it is based on OpenGL and is hard to deal with formats based on DirectX. Which is why max is preferred for alot of game studios, and has a more powerful .x exporter (both the official microsoft one and Panda .x exporter). I really prefer Maya over 3dsMax in all aspects except when I am using Biped and working with Motion Capture data.

But the bottom line is, all animation software is created for 'movie' animations. I'm not even sure what that means, TBH. Use whatever you are most comfortable in. And if you're not comfortable in anything yet, I do suggest Maya for animation, but Max for its ease of rigging and export for games.

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Ah, if only I could afford software such as 3D Studio Max and Maya. If I had that kind of money, I might as well pay a professional animator to do the animation for me. [wink]

I agree that animation is not easy to do, and once I get that far in my project I'll probably ask someone to help me with the animations, but for now I just want to be able to create my own rough animation sequences. Mostly because I want to learn how it works.

Unless I can find the perfect software, I think I'll just continue to use AoI or Anim8or, together with my own little model viewer, which I'll extend to allow me to manipulate the animation sequences and join sequences from various files into one. Perhaps someday I'll even release the model viewer to the public. It might be useful to other low-budget developers that cannot afford professional software like Max and Maya.

Also, thanks for the tip about TurboSquid. I may actually end use some of the available resources from there and other sites like it.

If anyone else has tips for easy to use software to make animation sequences, then please let me know.

Regards,
Andreas

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