Animation Software that the Aspiring Animators Should Consider Learning
Is there a must-learn software that will help you create the highest quality animation? Of course there is more than one. But the real question is, which software you would be most comfortable with. There are many options out there, but given the time and energy being invested in learning a software, choose the one that will give you an edge over others. Achieve mastery in that tool.
For those who are considering working on animation software, the top four contenders are Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, Blender, and Houdini.
While the first two are advanced software used by professionals, Blender is free and perhaps the best choice for a beginner. Netflix’s ‘Next Gen’ was created in Blender and to quote the director Joe Ksander: “Artists, not tools, yo.”
If you wish to make a career in the animation industry, you may have to use the software that is being used in the studio you join. In such cases, knowing the fundamentals of one software can come handy as the workflow is almost the same across all. Flexibility can help you a long way. Below is a list of popular animation software, and why you should consider learning them.
Modeling, Animation, Rigging & Simulation
Autodesk Maya is the most commonly used animation software! The latest versions have brought in huge improvements. While Maya is an ecosystem, its UI setups can be divided into Modeling, Rigging, Animation, FX, and Rendering. If you choose this software, you get access to plugins, scripts, learning materials, and tons of materials online as large and small studios across the world have been using this software for years now.
Contrary to the belief that Maya is hard, it isn’t. It takes a while to learn, but once you get the hang of it, you can work faster. Thorough knowledge of Maya could be your first step to a career in animation, game development or VFX.
Autodesk 3ds Max
It is an out-of-the-box software for poly modelling. It gives you a more direct and in-control feeling. As compared to Maya, 3ds Max is said to be more user-friendly. It is widely used in the creation of commercials and games than movies. A lot of indie studios are opting for 3ds Max rather than Maya.
Houdini comes into the picture if budget is a concern. Maya is expensive than Houdini. However Houdini has an edge over Maya for dynamic simulations and time efficiency. It has been used for movies like Pacific Rim and the Harry Potter series.
It is an open source software. If you are a beginner, Blender is a good place to start. It supports asll aspects of the 3D pipeline including modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing, and video editing.
Nuke is the industrial standard for compositing. It is versatile, customisable, and user friendly. It comes with hundreds of creative nodes including rotoscope and vector paint tools that allow you to master digital compositing. The deep image compositing tools help you to work with images of various opacity, colour and camera-relative depth. The machine learning tools save your time, especially when creating sequence-specific effects. You will not need to explore others if you master this node-based software.
Arnold is an advanced renderer and is used for feature-length animation and visual effects. It is capable of great photorealistic renders. Arnold’s plug-ins are available for Maya, 3ds Max and Houdini.
If you are looking for a single solution when it comes to animation software, the best consideration would be Autodesk Maya as most studios are interested in hiring professionals with expertise in this software. Once you know Maya, you can adapt to any program within a short period of time.
Customer engagement concepts have been constantly evolving. The surest way to have your customers’ attention is with the help of an eye-catching image. Studios make their movie posters impressive, and ad agencies create attention-grabbing ads. These designs guide businesses toward the intended audience. They work not only for social media but also for all areas of digital marketing.
When it comes to the best types of social media designs, it is the one that communicates the underlying motive and not the one that just hooks up with the current trends. However, there are some basic design principles that you can follow to develop impressive visual content for social media.
Perhaps the most important principle of good design is the most obvious one: make sure the text is easy to read. Don’t overdo it with fancy typefaces that might look pretty, but ultimately will lessen legibility.
Visual hierarchy is the use of stylistic elements like colour, type size, and positioning to convey the relative importance of information on a page. This simply means that the text or elements of higher importance are usually bigger than the rest, and stands out in the design.
Colour is an invaluable tool for creating contrast and balance. But it is important to be aware of how certain hues or pairings influence perception. Some colours such as those in the red and yellow families can stimulate and energize, while others such as those in the blue spectrum can convey calm and trustworthiness.
Much like colour, typography conveys mood and tone, sometimes more powerfully than the copy itself. When choosing a font, think about the desired tone of your words.
Distribution may come at the end of your content workflow, but it is important to be thinking about where your visuals will live every step of the way so that you can tailor your graphics to the sizes and preferences of the respective social media platforms.
The fundamental building block of a brand is consistency. It takes five to seven impressions for people to begin to identify with your brand. This means that repetition of key brand ingredients — logo, colours and typeface — is essential. If your graphics look and feel cohesive and related, then users can form a clearer association of your brand in their minds.
Authenticity and Efficiency
Show your differences and uniqueness from fellow competitors first hand. Your designs should be unique and in sync with the requirements of the website or brand that you are designing for. Authentic designs are always appreciated!
If you are an absolute beginner to designing, Canva and Adobe Spark are great tools to start with. However, if you intend to be a professional graphic designer, it is important for you to join a career course in visual content development, and gain the skills set that the companies are looking for.
Unlike the olden days, creativity is now swiftly transitioning itself to digital. And in this era the price of software, hardware, and related camera equipment to capture creativity is relatively inexpensive. So much so that anyone with aptitude can learn VFX by joining a career course with a reputed VFX institute. The VFX industry is gaining traction and is becoming competitive for those who want to make a career in it.
In this article, we will discuss the two major questions that most VFX career aspirants ask, “Is it absolutely necessary for me to join a professional VFX institute to learn visual effects? What skills must I gain to become a VFX professional?”
Should You Join a VFX Institute?
In simple words, yes! Today, most recruiters value skills over qualifications. Even though one can learn VFX and CGI using free open source software like Blender, there are loads of other benefits that an institution provides. To know the intricacies of the field, one has to be involved with others who have mastered the game, and for whom it is not just some hobby. Rarely will you find others with whom you can collaborate at such a high level, for free, for extended periods. VFX training institutions are one of the few places where you can connect with others with similar passions and goals.
Apart from that, when you join an institute, you follow an industry-relevant curriculum, get assistance and advice from experienced faculty, develop social skills, gain hands-on experience through projects, and create your own demo reel. Most reputed institutions offer placement assistance thus boosting your chances of landing a job immediately after the successful completion of your course.
It is true that VFX and design are skill-based industries. Your portfolio and reel speak for you. Companies will look at your past experience, your showreel and will probably talk to people who have worked with you when they are considering you for a job vacancy. Venturing out alone as a VFX artist without any job offers at hand could be overwhelming and exhausting. When you are a part of a training institute, you will get ample guidance during every step of your journey to a VFX career.
What VFX Skills Should You Gain?
As for the skills needed, start with the basics such as digital illustrations, storytelling, and anatomy study. As your course progresses, you will start learning more complex concepts such as character design, audio-video editing, rotoscopy, matchmoving techniques, compositing, pre-visualization, and VFX filmmaking. Consider learning some of the most in-demand software such as Nuke, Blender, Houdini, and Autodesk Maya.
Dhruvil Panchal, an electric engineer by profession always had a passion for art. But as per our societal norms, he had followed the conventional route of completing his Diploma after his 10th and then engineering. But his heart was always in art. After working for 2.5 years, he was not satisfied as he felt something was missing in his life. This led to his search to find the best way to quench his way for art.
As he was searching he came across Arena Animation Sayajigunj. With apprehension, he approached them to know more. The counselors there were very supportive and guided him on the various options available to him. Dhruvil was convinced that he had come to the right place to further his career. But his family, will they accept this decision of his? He was thinking about how he can make them understand that this is something he needs for his peace of mind. When he discussed this with his father, his father asked him to go ahead with the same. With the support of his family, Dhruvil started his journey with Arena Animation Sayajigunj. There he learned the basic and advanced level of VFX and animation under the guidance of the expert and experienced faculties of Arena Animation Sayajigunj. They encouraged and guided him on his journey to reach the pinnacle of his success.
Dhruvil got an option to showcase his skill when he participated in the National level Digital Art with the concept of Batman in his younger years which fetched him the first prize. His recent exploit is when he received second prize in World Art Day Competition defeating 3783 students participated from Pan India and winning XP Deco 01 V2 Worth Rs. 9499/-.
Dhruvil is associated with Xcitech technology that uses VR 360 in the field of Real Estate, Education and Medical. His aim is to use VFX and Animation to bring about a new revolution in the field of education. We are sure that he will surely reach there.
Just like any other form of art, Animation too is varied. As a career field, there are different types of animation and styles as there are animators in this industry.
Setting up a list or stating the types of animation based on some defined criteria would be a major flaw and also insufficient as the variations are too flexible. Nevertheless we have tried to compile all possible variations of animations based on the technique that are being used and the comparison of the styles between them. The following list should not be accounted as an absolute reference for animation types; it is more like a general idea to see the bigger picture.
1. 3D Computer Animation
3D Computer Animation or 3D Animation is the process of generating three dimensional moving images in a digital environment. This is the most common and popular animation style today, and is used in movies, games, ads, architectural visualization, medical simulations, and more.
Manipulation of 3D models is carried out with the help of software. However ‘animation’ is a broad term and there are many more aspects to it, each offering a wide range of career prospects. There is modelling, rigging, lighting, texturing, rendering, and animation, and there are sub-fields to these too. Involvement of sophisticated software makes 3D animation technologically intense. As you know, technology does help artists redefine their craftsmanship.
While there are various other animation styles that you may consider, as a career aspirant, a 3D Animation course may interest you the most.
Check out the trailer of Pixar’s Oscar award winning 3D animated movie here to understand this style better.
2. Traditional or Cell Animation
This was once a huge milestone in the history of animation, but is almost obsolete since it is time-consuming and expensive to produce.
Images are drawn or painted by skilled hands, one frame at a time, on the celluloid sheets (cels) to be photographed and exhibited on film. One of the major obstacles of this to seamlessly transform into a film was the timing of the frame with the sound. Every frame had to match with the background score/dialogues or else could appear as a major distraction. Hand drawing of hundreds of frames with precision is such an energetically draining task.
Image credits: Disney Enterprises, Inc.
3. 2D Animation
Conventionally, 2D animation was the same as cel-animation. However, with the introduction of computers, 2D animation got a technical upgrade. Today animators create scenes and characters a 2D space with the help of digital technologies and tools available to them. Compared to drawing multiple images, using computers is far less time-consuming and effective.
2D animation is most commonly seen in educational videos, editorials and advertisements today. However, there are a few entertainment series and games that continue to use 2D Animation style. ‘F is for Family’ and ‘Rick and Morty’ are a few examples of 2D entertainment series.
Today, you can be a 2D animator even if drawing isn’t your strong suit. Traditional animation, on the other hand, requires very strong drawing skills.
4. Stop Motion Animation
Physical objects are manually manipulated in small movements in between individual frames so that they will appear to exhibit motion when the series of frames is played. Any kind of physical objects with the capability to twist and turn can thus be animated. Puppets with movable joints (puppet animation) or figures (claymation) are most commonly used. The key here is not the sound but to make small changes from frame to frame to make the illusion of motion as smooth as possible. Isn’t it time taking? Perhaps more than traditional animation. But this animation style is extremely adaptable as one can get as creative as they want. Plus it is easy to impress film critics and audience alike using this.
Take a look at the behind the scenes of animating Shaun the Sheep Movie with animator Andy Symanowski.
5. Motion Graphics
Commonly called Mographs, it is less of animation and more of graphic designing. Motion graphics can be both 2D and 3D, and you will find commonly in commercials, explainer videos, sporting events, news, and other television productions. Previously, before the advent of computer editing, it was a time-consuming process that was limited to high-budget productions.
Check out this simple motion graphics animation video.
The depth of understanding an artistry is what defines an artist. With the current evolution of computer there are may be many more variants piling up in this list.