3d Animation Software Description

3D animation software can model complex forms and actions.

3D animation software is the program or suite of applications used by animators to create three dimensional images, movies or cartoons. The software may vary in specific features or platform, but most animation software contains the same basic applications and methods.


3D animation has applications in an increasing variety of media. Live action films use special effects animated with 3D software. The action in computer animated films such as “Toy Story” and “Shrek’ is created entirely with animation software. 3D video games also rely on these programs to animate the characters, items and backgrounds within the gamespace.


3D animation software needs to take a project from the conceptual stages to the final product. To accomplish the myriad of steps comprising an animation project, the software may include sketching, modeling, motion capture, rendering and exporting features, allowing artists and animators to have complete access to each element of production at each stage.


Autodesk Maya is a fully featured, professional grade animation program, boasting several feature films produced using the software. Houdini, 3DS Max and Softimage XSI are also commonly used professionally in the animation industry. While these programs are expensive and have a steep learning curve, less fully featured programs such as Amorphium and Xara 3D offer more user-friendly options.


Due to the highly technical nature of many 3D animation programs, entire educational curriculums have emerged for learning their use. Two- or four-year degrees in animation, computer animation or design usually include classwork centered on animation software.

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Hobbyists and amateurs looking for animation software can purchase a basic application for less than $100. Professional grade software can cost up to several thousand dollars, and the computer systems required to run them add considerably to that cost.