Programmes

An Animator’s Survival Tools

One of the most repeatedly asked questions by a budding animator is- “What software should I learn?” The question sounds rather ordinary. However, to become a professional Animator and getting into your dream job, it is very essential to gain wide exposure to the culture you are stepping into.

For many years now, the rapid growth of technology has magnificently facilitated the development of the Animation Industry. Considering drawing to be not everybody’s cup of tea, today we are no longer limited to just the traditional hand-drawn animation. There was a time when everything was 2D and had to be hand-drawn on paper. Times have changed. Nowadays the majority of animated films are created using emerging 3D technology.

Depending upon the project, most animation production studios use multiple software. Each software has a unique concentrated workflow. The use of multiple specialized software has contributed tremendously in increasing the work efficiency and enhancing the final production quality. However, choosing the right toolset amongst the myriad available options in the competitive market could be overwhelming as a beginner.

In the present time, we have observed drastic developments in the Animation Industry, leading from proprietary software to open source. Numerous open-source software have emerged as effective replacements for costly proprietary and commercial products. This is a boon for the independent and freelance animators who don’t necessarily wish to shell out on hefty license charges to create stunning animations to make a living. However, open-source or freeware software do not always meet every need. Depending on one’s needs, free software might do the trick often but paid software always will. One of the major purposes why large animation studios use proprietary software is the hands-on support & services.  In general, you pay for a more customized product and get the support system that goes with it – regular upgrades, improved functionality, continuous innovation, greater scalability, ongoing training, support, etc. Additionally, by paying, you also buy the right to say- “I’ve got a problem with your software, and I’d like your assistance in fixing it”. For a learner, the good news is that most of the proprietary software company provides an unpaid educational student license. Let us list out a choice of the top most favored software used by animators and studios worldwide in the animation industry today.

Proprietary Software
MAYA
3DS MAX
CINEMA 4D
HOUDINI
ZBRUSH
MARVELOUS DESIGNER
SUBSTANCE PAINTER
MARI
ARNOLD
V-RAY
KEYSHOT
UNITY
UNREAL
ADOBE CC
MOHO
TOON BOOM HARMONY
TVPAINT
CHARACTER ANIMATOR
NUKE
DRAGONFRAME
STOP MOTION STUDIO
AUDITION
SOUND FORGE

Open-source Software
BLENDER
K-3D
OPEN TOONZ
POWTOON
GIMP
KRITA
PENCIL 2D
SYNFIG STUDIO
CREA TOON
DAVINCI RESOLVE
NATRON
FUSION
AUDACITY

Whether one is working on Vfx/Game project, in a Film/Series, 2D/3D animation, AR/VR, TV commercial/Explainer Video, etc., most studios and individuals use from the above mentioned software to one extent or another. One doesn’t have to go crazy trying to learn each and every software in the list. It is important to understand that good skills will get you far, regardless of the software you use. As a beginner, getting into the software and technology may seem like a daunting task; however, with dedication and determination one can undoubtedly master the emerging bond of art and science in animation.

Author:
Hirock J Roy, Assistant Professor, Animation and Motion Graphics, Unitedworld Institute of Design (UID)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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