Once the domain of large studios, you can now create computer animation at home.
You can create your own computer animation at home very easily. For the beginner, there are simple packages that let you put together stories using predrawn and animated elements. For the professional, highly sophisticated drawing and animation packages allow quality results.
A professional looking to create high-quality results may need to invest a lot of money in a high-powered computer, a graphics tablet such as the Tabby, a large-sized VDU, etc. Specialist software offering modeling, lighting, rendering etc. can be hugely expensive. A beginner might require less sophisticated software and equipment. Freeware software, trial versions and limited licenses are some options.
You will need appropriate computer hardware. Animation can be fairly demanding in terms of computing power. Houdini, for example, requires a 32- or 64-bit AMD or Intel processor. Your computer will need sufficient RAM and a video card capable of handling the demands of an animation package. Check the system requirements of software. You may also require specialist peripherals, such as a graphics tablet.
Professional software can be very expensive, running into thousands of dollars. Examples include Houdini Master, which allows users to create 3-D models and animate them, and costs almost $8,000 as of 2010. A student version may be a cheaper option: Maya, another major package, offers a 13-month student license for $150 as of 2010. Free open-source animation software is also available. This costs nothing but may be limited.