animation sofware - recommendations

in Mac Software edited January 2014
We're looking for software to do 2d & 3d animation, cartoon type stuff etc. with high school kids.

Can someone please recommend something.

I've drawn up a shortlist but please suggest something else if you think it would be better.

Strata 3d Pro

Artlantis 4.5

Vue 4

Cinema 4D


3ds Max (I know this only runs on Windows but don't hold that against it)

Toon Boom studio

Poser 5

Much appreicated.


  • Reply 1 of 12
    leonisleonis Posts: 3,427member
    Don't spend a whole whack of dough on 3D software if you are a beginner.

    For the stuff you are going to do you really don't need Maya, 3D Max, or XSI.

    They are way overkill

    Toon Boon is only for 2D cell animation stuff by the way
  • Reply 2 of 12
    cakecake Posts: 1,010member
    Animation:Master comes to mind.

    Powerful, cheap ($299), but a steep learning curve for beginners.
  • Reply 3 of 12
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    toon boom may only be for 2d, but they offer impressive class bundle pricing, and also offer discounts for wacom tablets if you get them simultaneously.

    so i'm thinking you need to get the toon boom class bundle, plus one of the 3d apps.

    i don't think strata offers inverse kinematics, which is, well, utterly insane if you ask me. it's a shame because they've always had good boolean, timeline, and metaball features (and one of the best renderers for the price).

    lightwave is a great app, but huge and pricey. there's also electric image universe, though i don't know much about it.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    ericgericg Posts: 135member
    You should give Moho a try (for 2D animations)
  • Reply 5 of 12
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member

    Originally posted by ericg

    You should give Moho a try (for 2D animations)

    What happend to Flash for 2d animation?

    Anyways I'd recommend the following:

    Beginner to -intermediate:

    Eovia Carrara (NOT "Basics")

    Electric Image's Amorphium 3 (Includes subdivision modeling)

    Intermediate to advanced:

    Maya (A bit steep)

    Cinema 4D, great package, very expandable
  • Reply 6 of 12
    Don't forget you can get the Maya Learning edition for free. For $20 you can also get an intro DVD. Very cool package.
  • Reply 7 of 12
    ericgericg Posts: 135member

    Originally posted by Placebo

    What happend to Flash for 2d animation?

    Still using it but Moho has bones

  • Reply 8 of 12
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    I could use that...character animation in Flash was always a pain.
  • Reply 9 of 12
    Thanks. Keep discussing it and I'll keep grooming off the suggestions!

    It's all a bit overwhelming!
  • Reply 10 of 12
    buckeyebuckeye Posts: 358member
    Get the Maya personal learning editions for free (or $20 with the DVD) as suggested. It won't be for everyone, but the adventurous ones will benefit tremendously. Many different 2D looking television shows/movies are being done in Maya (South Park) or XSI (Spirited Away). Over the next few years more and more movies/shows will create 2D looking shows with 3D packages because of all of the options that they offer.

    Flash is also a cheap tool with a relatively easy learning curve. It is also being used professionally for TV shows like Kid Notorious, Gary the Rat, and Mucha Lucha. So, I would recommend it for people wanting to learn 2D only computer animation.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    I'd say Cinema4d if you can afford it. The main reason is that it is a very intuitive app, so you can spend more time on the principles of modeling, animation, etc., rather than the details of how to make a particular application work. At the same time, it will not (I think) feel limiting as students become more advanced.

    For the record, I have used ElectricImage (old version), Cinema4D, Lightwave and messed around a bit with Maya (PLE) and Blender.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    Well, the 'modular' pricing of Cinema allows you to get the main package cheaply. If you're into '2d', the Cinema4D site has a new 'Cel Shader' plug-in from the Maxxon boys as well. And there's the fantastic 'Body Paint 2' which takes the pain out of 3D map making.

    Lightwave. A great all-in-one package at a good price. Newtek regularly have sales and deals on it. Version 8 is imminent. Has one of the best 'cel shaders' in the business as standard.

    Sounds to me...that you don't want to blow a huge amount of dough right now.

    So? Get the demos of Cinema, Lightwave, Maya etc and play with them and make up your own mind. (I like Lightwave, Leonis likes Cinema, some swear by Maya...)

    Maya, well, as a beginner, you may want to learn what many consider to be the 'best'. The personal learning addition is free. And Leonis says you can get a learning DVD with it for only $20. Sounds like a bargain.

    Poser. Great if you want to create character animation. Very easy to do so!

    Animation Master. VERY CHEAP. But some of the work on the website is impressive. For only a couple of hundred squid.

    Strict 2D?

    Flash. Very capable package...(but creaks with larger graphics and a lowly iBook...keep those graphics optimised) Download the demo and go through the tutorials.

    Some comic artists think flash is the 2nd coming... I can see how they think that.

    Go to (to see some great links to comic work created from flash...)

    Sounds to me like you need Maya learning edition to get started in 3d. And the flash demo from macromedia's site to get started in 2d.

    Lemon Bon Bon
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