Don’t we all love movies like Shrek, Toy Story, and more recently Frozen 2? Age no BAR, animation genre is loved by all and has a huge fan following when it comes to animated movies. Many of the blockbuster animation movies are made using the best animation software.

We see it around daily in lives be it news, advertisements, music videos, or movies, the animation is applied throughout the media industry

What is Animation?

What is Animation

A series of hand-drawn pictures in a continued action, for example, a man walking, played via film, creates an illusion of the action happening, but in reality, they are still images. With technology advancement of animation is simply mind-boggling, but the crux is similar.

This happens due to our eye’s ability to retain an image for 1/16 second and it makes the image to be moving when played in succession, the brain combines them into one moving image.

The earliest impression of animation date back to 1892, produced by a French director by Charles-Émile Reynaud called Poor Pete or Pauvre Pierrot.  There were 500 painted images and played in a clip that was 15 minutes long.

Use of Animation

The use of the animation is not limited to just the entertainment production, you will be surprised how it is applied in different industry verticals that we, in general, are not aware of.

Education

Education Animation Software

Today educational apps, like Byju’s, use animation to illustrate scientific laws, to make it interesting for the students. Animated videos, graphics, and compelling presentations are used to communicate even complex topics. It does make a lasting impression on the mind of students.

Entertainment

Entertainment

The use of animation in the entertainment industry is very extensive. Several types of animation are used in the production of movies, advertisements, music videos, etc.

As mentioned above the animation genre is very popular with kids of all ages and even grown-ups. There is a wide variety of 3D & 2D series available on streaming platforms such as Netflix, etc. Movies like Avtaar, 2012, and many more are made entirely using animation software and CGI.

Marketing

Animation adds creativity in the board room presentations to make them stand out and give you the power to make a lasting impact on your clients. Furthermore, be it B2B marketing, Emails, Television, or Website, animation grabs the attention and increases target audience engagement with the product and service.

Gaming industry

gaming industry

If you have been playing PUBG, Minecraft, Fortnite, well, all that is animation. The gaming industry’s use of animation is tremendous compared to other industries.

Additionally, every game is created within animation software and graphic simulation. Gaming animation comprises lighting, texturing, and rigging is produced by graphic artists.

Simulations

A 3D environment can be created to conduct real-life events. For example, military training drills or firefighting trainings or to predict the result of a range of activities.

Infact new channels televising the impact or the movement of the storm or tsunami is also calculated and created through animation.

Retail 

The industry that reaps the most benefits by using animation is retail. 3D animations models and videos intelligibly convey the features of products and services.

3D characters are added to the real-life environment to increase the likability and engagement of products.

Architecture and Engineering 

These industries hire graphic artists to create 3D walkthroughs of proposed or upcoming designs, this gives an idea of what it would look like after the completion of the project in real life. It gives room for correction or changes before committing to projects.

Apart from the above mentioned industrial applications, animation has excellent utilization in the event management, medical, and manufacturing industries. The advancement in technology has boosted the applicability and demand for animation.

Types of Animation

Let’s have a look at the types of Animation. To begin with there are 5 broad categories of animation

Cel Animation or Celluloid Animation

Cel Animation or Celluloid Animation

Before digitization, traditional animation was used in the industry everywhere and even by giants such as Disney. The method involves the artist to draw several hundred pictures that were later photographed. 

Traditional but not outdated, even today the artists can add their flavors and create unique videos. Have a look at this music video by A-ha’s Take on me.

2D Animation (2 Dimensional)

2D Animation (2 Dimensional)

A method of creating a movement in two-dimensional space and this can include characters, creatures, special effects, and background. 

The 2D animations are created when the individual drawings set together over time, which means there are 24 frames in one second.

3D Animation

3D Animation

3D animation is a way of the future. The 3D artists model a character digitally in software, you can move and manipulate movement. The artist poses the 3d model at several frames and the software does the rendering.

Motion Graphics

Motion graphics simply means animation with text content being the main element. The focus is on graphic design components.

Motion Graphics

Source: 99 designs

For example, if you want your company logo to spin on your website that’s motion graphics.

Stop Motion

It’s similar to the traditional style of animation the only difference being instead of drawing it focuses on clay models and a setting to manipulate and create an interaction to produce animation.

It requires a lot of effort and thus the results produced are extraordinary and based on the artist’s take. Kubo and the Two Strings was one of the best and universally watched stop-motion animation movies.

Best Animation Software

Here is a list of top 8 Animation Software.

1. Autodesk Maya

Autodesk Maya

Maya is a 3D modeling, rendering, simulation software 3D animation used widely in the entertainment industry, gaming industry, architecture/engineering, and also event management companies to produce realistic designs, characters, walkthroughs with stunning visual effects.

Acquired by Autodesk in 2005, it came to be known as Autodesk Maya. Since then it has been constantly updated with tools and plug-ins to make it into the comprehensive software it is today.

Best Features

  • Realistic simulation for liquid, fire, etc.
  • Character animation and modeling
  • 3D rendering and shading
  • Motion Graphics

Pricing

  • Available for 30 Days free trial.
  • After the trial period, it’s $205 monthly. The best value is at 3 years payment of $4,375/- which brings monthly pricing to $122/monthly.

2. Blender

Blender

Blender is an open-source 3D suite for modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, motion tracking, 2D animation pipeline, and much more. It is an ideal choice for startups and is easy to use.

Features

  • It supports a variety of geometric primitives, like polygon meshes, fast subdivision surface modeling, Bezier curves, NURBS surfaces, metaballs, text, and B-mesh. 
  • Blender creates life-like simulations of fluids, gases, fire, etc.
  • Furthermore, the software is loaded with high-quality rigging and animation tools

Pricing

  • It is available or free for all uses.

3. Unity

Unity

Unity is one of the leading real-time platforms for 3D and 2D  games, experiences, models, and designs. 54%of the top 1,000 earning mobile games are powered by Unity worldwide. It is easily accessible with both amateur developers and AAA studios. For example, games like  Pokemon Go, Hearthstone, Rimworld, Cuphead, etc have been developed on Unity.

Features

  • User Friendly with rapid debugging and simultaneous testing
  • Affordability
  • Easy to use the Scripting language
  • Huge library of 3D resources, textures, sounds, and rich animations.
  • Platform Agnostic

Pricing

  • Students/ Personal- Free
  • Plus- $40/month per seat
  • Pro- $150/month per seat
  • Enterprise- $200/month per seat

4. Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D

It is a popular motion graphic, MoGraph, 3D software platform by Maxon, Germany. Cinema 4D is also called C4D  and is widely used in the Product Visualization, Architectural, Medical, Advertising, Game industries, and Film & TV. Getting started with Cinema 4D is a cakewalk given its intuitive UI

Features

  • Custom Icons
  • Field Force
  • Particles
  • Thinking Particles
  • Caps and Bevels
  • Modeling with Bevels
  • Render Settings
  • Pro-Render vs Physical
  • Subfields
  • Nodes

Pricing

Cinema 4D version is free to use for students and teachers. To know more about annual and monthly pricing have a look at image below.

Cinema 4D pricing

5. Vyond

Vyond

Vyond was launched in 2007 and it was then called GoAnimate in 2007, and since then has been used by small to large enterprises for attractive and cost-effective video production. It is a multi-purpose platform that creates compelling animated videos and is also a great marketing tool for preparing presentations and marketing videos.

Features

  1. Vyond’s marketing video creation platform offers-
  • Contemporary: Customizable 2D animation built around basic business concepts.
  • Business-Friendly: 2D animation with hundreds of templates, characters, and actions.
  • Whiteboard Animation: Classic whiteboard animation with compelling drawings.
  1. The editor is easy to use with the drag-and-drop option.
  2. Large library with ready to use characters
  3. Global Edit
  4. Expanded Timeline

Pricing

If you choose annual plans there is a saving of 40% or more based on the plan you choose. Below mentioned price is on a monthly basis and single-user plan.

  • Essential – $49
  • Premium – $89
  • Professional – $159
  • Enterprise – Contact for Custom Pricing Plan

6. 3Ds Max Design

3Ds Max is a platform that offers excellent and flexible tools to create high-quality designs with full creative authority. Artists can create 3D designs, modeling, animation, and rendering solutions for architects, designers, civil engineers, and visualization experts.

Features

  • Create brilliant fantasy worlds in games
  • Conceive high-quality structural renderings
  • Model intricate interiors and objects
  • Put life into characters with animation and VFX

Pricing

  • 30 Days Free Trial Available
  • Monthly- $205
  • 1 year- $1,620 (Only $135/Month value)
  • 3 year- $4,375 (Only $122/Month value)

7. Adobe (Character Animator)

If you want to create a cartoon character and animate it with your performance then Adobe Character Animator is the best animation software to choose from. You can match its expression with your face and all that happens in real-time. The high-quality makes it possible to stream our animation live.

Adobe (Character Animator)

Source: Adobe  

Features

  • Works best with fully rigged characters (a.k.a. puppets) that are originally built-in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, and no need to use Photoshop or Illustrator. 
  • Characterizer is powered by Adobe Sensei AI technology
  • Import a character directly designed built in Photoshop or Illustrator.
  • Physics: Squash and Stretch deformation, Damping control

Pricing

 $79.49/month or $52.99/month for annual plans paid monthly

8. Cartoon Animator 4

Cartoon Animator 4

Previously known as CrazyTalk Animator, Cartoon Animator 4 is a 2D animation software created for both abilities of entry and productivity. Transform images into animated characters and control characters with your expressions, along with lip-syncing from audio and much more.

Features

  • Auto-rig standard character types
  • 360-degree version for fluid perspective
  • “Smart” IK systems-ways to switch within IK effector-based animation with FK systems.

Pricing

  • Cartoon Animator 4 $199
  • Facial Mocap (FM) Pro $229 
  • FM Bundle $299 
  • Essential Bundle $369
  • Core Bundle $99

Conclusion

Ready to begin your animation journey, well, we wish you the best. Now, all the animation software mentioned above is best for beginners as well as for professionals. Various YouTube tutorials are also available to help you get started. You can begin with free trial versions of the animation software and then decide to pay for them.

If you have tried any of this software and or if you would like us to add any other animation software to the list, let’s know in the comments below. We truly appreciate your feedback.