Animation has become one of the most popular forms of graphic expression. It is seen in film, television and video games, as well as in amateur-made animations posted online at sites like YouTube. If you want to get involved in the growing animation community, you will need to obtain some of the software used to produce these animations. There are several categories to choose from, depending on cost and complexity. It is best to learn the basics before laying out big money for the top programs.
1. Download one of the basic freeware animation programs like Daz Studio. Daz Studio is not a modeler or texturer, but it can load premade figures you can buy or get for free on sites likes Daz3D or Renderosity. With it you can learn the basics of posing figures, lighting and rendering.
2. Download one of the more advanced freeware packages like Truespace or Blender. With these programs you can learn to make your own figures, texture them and rig them for animation. You can also learn the particle dynamics, which allows you to do things like add water, fire or rain to your animation and have it interact realistically with the figure.
3. Download one or more of the free learning or student editions of the major 3D packages. Maya PLE is free and fully usable except for the watermark on rendered images. Another good one to download would be the Vue Infinite PLE. This is a 3D world generating program that has been used in several recent major motion pictures.