- If you're looking for a powerful 3D animation software for PC, you've come to the right place
- Our top list will present the best options both for beginners and professionals
- Creating a stunning 3D animation often involves the usage of VFX effects
- Check our 3D animation section for more top lists and guides
If you’re looking for a powerful 3D animation software for PC, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to list the best 3D animation tools that you can use to unleash your imagination.
More about 3D computer animation
Computer animation is the process of generating animated images by using computer graphics. The concept of computer animation is the digital successor of the stop motion techniques using 3D models and frame to frame animation of 2D illustrations.
In order to create an animated movie, the illusion of movement is developed, and an image is displayed on the computer screen and repeatedly replaced by the new image that is similar to it and so on.
This same technique is achieved by television and also by motion pictures.
The computer animation can be developed with a computer and with the help of animation software. The animation will make everything alive by showing its movement and 3D animation will create an image that looks real to anyone who is viewing it.
It is not an easy task to make artificial objects look real by their motion. The motion of an object is a very difficult and very complex task. Fortunately, animation software can make it much easier.
All that being said, we present you 4 of the coolest animation programs for your Windows PC.
3D animation maker software FAQs
Before choosing an animation tool (especially if you are a beginner), you’ll have to know what are the most important features that it must have. We will answer give you the answer to such questions as :
- How do I choose a 3D animation software?
- Do these tools support the 2D sketching?
- Have I the possibility to use a keyframe timeline?
- Does the 3D animation software provide a motion capture feature?
- Can I find them in free access?
- Do they have support dedicated to beginners?
- What kind of animation can I create?
What is the best 3D animation software for PC?
|Rating||Free/Paid||2D&3D supported||Keyframe timeline||Motion Capture||Beginner's support|
|Adobe Creative Cloud||4.7||Paid(has trial)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cinema 4D Studio||4.5||Paid(has trial)||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Aurora 3D Animation maker||4.5||Paid||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Autodesk Maya||4||Paid(has trial)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Mixamo||3.5||Paid (free sign up)||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Creative Cloud is a whole packaged solution for your 3D creation needs. Although the full suite might seem hard to handle, at first sight, Adobe made sure that the learning process gets aided by tons of tutorials along with a simple to use and flexible interface.
To create a high-quality 3D animation you will need a couple of products from Adobe, those being Adobe Animate CC, Adobe Illustrator and, Adobe Character Animator. That’s why it makes sense to subscribe to Creative Cloud, you will also get access to other apps that can handle anything involved in video editing as well as static graphic design.
Adobe Animate lets you create depth in animation by setting up the distance between layers across frames and also by rotating the object across the plane of the screen.
With Adobe Character Animator you can define facial features, body parts, and joint motions that contribute to a more “lifelike” visual effect. You can also link the above-mentioned characteristics to your keyboard, mouse, or camera for a faster work process.
Adobe Illustrator will make the base of your project by designing stunning 3d characters based on perspective grids and layer grouping. You can also group parts for a smooth synchronization process.
Daz3D Studio (recommended)
Daz3D is a powerful tool to create animations and scenes by manipulating model presets. It allows you to use human, vehicle, animal and object models.
You only have to choose your models, choose the accessories you want and start creating digital animation scenes.
You have to know from the start that you cannot create your own models but there are so many features in morphing and detailing models that you won’t even feel the difference between Daz3D and a 3D modeling software.
Even if the models are ‘lifeless’ at a first glance, just put into the scene the right details and it will be an art masterpiece.
While Daz3D is not the best software for newbies, it is not hard to assimilate and to get used to its features and possibilities.
Besides, you can find a bunch of tutorials on Youtube which will assist you in getting familiar with this 3D animation generator. A few days of tutorials and you will become a future 3D professional animator!
For more advanced users we have good news: you can use the models from Daz3D in Photoshop and ZBrush to customize 3D figures. You can use this feature for free by downloading free plugins like GoZ.
Autodesk Maya is one of the best 3D animation software out there. Using this software, you will be able to create and develop 3D scenes, games, people, and movies.
The software has some cool features that are not complicated and that makes the program perfect for modeling, animating and coloring.
You can use Arnold RenderView to view scene changes in real-time, including lighting, materials, and camera.
You can also create complex procedural effects and animations with instanced objects, and you will be able to make high-level animation edits with a nondestructive, nonlinear, clip-based editor.
The intuitive brush-based grooming tools give you greater control and accuracy for styling and posing hair and fur.
The developers have recently added a bunch of new features to the software. The speed enhancements will make your scenes work much faster, and now you can create ocean surfaces with waves.
You can also quickly render and manage complex scenes and generate templates for the setup of a shot for easy re-use. You are now able to fine-tune your characters and the animation more easily and quickly.
With the software, you can create branding, title sequences, flying logos, and more projects that require text. You can also import and or copy/paste SVG files into the program.
The mirror enhancements and the tool symmetry improvements will make symmetrical modeling much easier, and the sculpt and shape models are now more artistic and intuitive.
Users can accelerate their performance with the interactive workflow.
Maya allows you to work in a higher-fidelity, and a higher-performance environment to edit assets and images in a short time.
You can buy the Autodesk Maya animation software from Autodesk. There is also a 30-day free trial available.
Blender is a free open source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline including rigging, modeling, simulation, animation, composition and motion tracking, video editing and game creation.
This is a public project, and it is made by hundreds of people from all over the world, by professionals and hobbyists, studios and individual artists, students, scientists, animators, VFX experts, game artists and so on.
Blender features a built-in powerful straight path tracer engine called Cycles that offers fantastic realistic rendering: CPU and GPU rendering, real-time viewport preview, VR rendering support, PBR shaders and HDR lighting support.
Blender features a vast array of modeling tools that make transforming, creating, and editing your models very easy.
The program features the following: Full N-Gon support, Edge slide, inset, grid and bridge fill, and more, Advanced sculpting tools and brushes, Multi-resolution and Dynamic subdivision, 3D painting with textured brushes and masking, Python scripting for custom tools and add-ons.
Blender includes also a production-ready camera and object tracking that will allow you to import footage, to track it, to mask areas and to see the camera movements live in your 3D scene.
Due to its various qualities, Blender is used for various short films, advertisements, feature movies, and TV series.
With the help of the software, you can now draw 2D in 3D and drawing straight in a 3D viewport makes lots of sense and it opens unsurpassed workflow freedom for story-boarders and 2D artists.
Blender has a flexible Python controlled interface, and the layout, the size, fonts, and colors can be adjusted very easily. You can use hundreds of add-ons by the community, or you can create your very own by using Blender’s Python API.
You can also subscribe to Blender Cloud, and for $9.90 a month, you will get 100+ hours of high-quality training, all the tutorials and the open movies and the exclusive production insight and walkthroughs.
Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in other animation software, check out our wide collection of guides.
Cinema 4D Studio
Cinema 4D Studio is another top animation software that you can use to easily create character rigs and advanced character animation with numerous tools.
Cinema 4D is very easy to learn, and it’s also compelling. It really is the perfect package for all 3D artists out there who want to achieve breathtaking results as fast as possible and hassle free.
All beginners and seasoned professionals will be able to take advantage of the program’s vast range of tools and features to achieve amazing results.
The software’s reliability will make the perfect app for demanding fast-paced 3D production and a range of attractively priced software packages is available to fit every need an artist has.
You can get started with the software straightforward and quick to create cool results. The software’s intuitive and simple interface makes it very easy for beginners to jump right into the middle of the software and take control.
It never stops to amaze professional users as well, and the many tutorials and the global community are essential for bringing beginners to a pro level of use.
All the program’s new functions work intuitively, and they are exactly what users need. The Cinema 4D’s layout can also be easily customized to precisely fit a user’s needs.
The program’s stability is great, and all the new features and functions are tested before they are released.
The developers release free service packs on a regular basis, and these will optimize the software and let the creators respond to changes in drivers and operating systems as quick as possible.
Staying flexible for last-minute changes is important no matter which project you’re working on.
Cinema 4D offers numerous options for working non-destructively: parametric modeling, procedural shaders, textures and more.
And the Cinema 4D Take System lets you save and manage multiple versions of a scene in a single file!
You can buy Cinema 4D Studio from Maxon.
Aurora 3D Animation Maker
Aurora 3D Animation Maker is among the best animation software, and it features an extensive range of functions.
The software will allow users to create eye-catching 3D animations that will transform your logos or your text into original and awesome creations.
You will get the opportunity to control all aspects of your animation, including the speed of playback, the animation’s length, and more.
You can create your own movie title animations for the web and your movies in minutes. You don’t even need mastery over the basics of 3D Design.
You will have the ability to use the following features and items: Key frame animation, 3000+ Symbols and import SVG, 60+ Professional Project templates, 60+ Additional TrueType fonts, 80+ Object Style, One click to apply animated effects (10+), One click to add 3D object (200+ templates), Export Animation to HD or SD Movie, SWF(Windows), GIF animation or Image Sequence.
Using Aurora 3D animation software you can get the best results. You should know that web design is more than just choosing the right layout and graphics.
You will need eye popping visuals that will capture and hold your audience’s attention.
Aurora 3D Animation Maker allows you to create awesome 3D animations that will take your logos and your texts as well to the very next level.
The software will allow you to create limitless special animation effects and you will be able to go as far as your creativity allows you to work.
Just imagine how it would be to apply particle effects to simulate fireworks, smoke, snow, flame, or the emptiness of space.
Or use motion effects like Linear, Quad, Cubic, and Quit to add choreography like bounce and twists.
When you are absolutely pleased with your final result, Aurora 3D Animation Maker makes it easy to incorporate your animation into your web site, giving you the options to export as Video, Flash, animated GIF, or as a sequence of images.
Aurora 3D Animation Maker is one of the best cool 3D text, logo animation, 3D video title maker tool.
You can buy Aurora 3D Animation Maker from the tool’s official website.
You may not have hear of Mixamo up until now, but we’re sure that ‘Adobe’ rings a bell for you. Mixamo is a niche 3D animation software that’s part of the Adobe family.
If you’re looking for a reliable tool to create animated 3D characters, then Mixamo is the right choice for you. The best part is that there is no 3D knowledge required to use this software.
Mixamo offers a huge animation library that you can choose from. There is no need to animate each and every step that your character takes, for instance. Simply go to Mixamo’s store and get the right animation for your needs.
If we were to use just two words to describe Mixamo, those would be ‘time efficiency’.
Simply use a few markers and the tool will instantly calculate skinning weights, adjust bones and other visual characteristics.
For more information, go to Mixamo’s official website.
While the first 5 are really powerful and extremely versatile, the last one on your list, Mixamo is a great niche animation tool that you can use to create 3D character animation.
If you have any other questions about these products, or maybe you’re aware of another good alternative to them, feel free to share in the comments section below.
FAQ about best 3D animation software
- Which is the easiest 3d animation software?
We recommend Autodesk Maya as the easiest 3d animation software given the easy to navigate interface, intuitive tools and tons of available guides.
- What is the best software for 3d character modeling?
We recommend Daz3D Studio as the best software for 3d character modeling of humans as well as animals. Although it might seem hard to handle at first glance, there are plenty of tutorials available that will help you master it.
- Is Maya better than Blender?
Maya is better for large production companies, but Blender is better suited for small companies and start-ups.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.