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In modern-day art forms, 3d animation is a highly revered discipline. It stands for three-dimensional animation. Basically, a three-dimensional space is used for animating characters and backgrounds in this kind of artwork.

If you are someone who has just ventured into the field of animation, you will need some efficient tools to help you get started. Fortunately for you, we have shortlisted some of the best 3d animation software that can help you. This software is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers. So, you can easily pick the right one according to the computer you use.

Being a beginner you may not want to spend a lot on animation software. Keeping that in mind, we have included only the best free 3d animation software for beginners in this list. This means you can get your animation basics cleared without having to burn a hole in your pocket.

Now without any further ado let's get down with our list of animation software for all you beginner animators.

Best Free 3D Animation Software for Beginners

  1. BLENDER
  2. WINGS 3D
  3. K3-D
  4. SOURCE FILMMAKER
  5. TOONTASTIC 3D
  6. KEYSHOT
  7. DAZ 3D
  8. CLARA.IO
  9. HOUDINI APPRENTICE
  10. AUTODESK

BLENDER

The list of best free 3d animation software cannot be complete without including Blender in it. Why is it so? This is because Blender is an open-source animation program with a vast array of features and functions. Some of these features are available only in the paid versions of the advanced animation software.

Blender

You can host video games, feature films that are animated, visual effects, and much more such applications on Blender. Every entity of the three-dimensional pipeline like, video editing, motion tracking, rendering, simulating, compositing, animating, rigging, and modeling are supported on Blender.

Blender has a built-in path-tracer engine that makes the process of rendering very realistic. With its tools for modeling, you can effortlessly create, edit or transform your 3d models. The rigging tools available in Blender are so advanced that now this software is used for creating feature films, advertisements, TV serials, short films, etc. For beginners, there are plenty of tutorials available online providing the basics of animation.

FEATURES:

  • Cycles and production path tracing lets you create amazing rendering. 
  • Its modeling tools lets you perform retopology, sculpting, modeling, and curving.
  • Digital production pipeline is empowered by the various digital sculpting tools.
  • It has been used for animation and rigging of many famous feature films.
  • Compositing, masking, object and camera motion tracking features are available.
  • There are powerful simulation tools like Bullet and MantaFlow.
  •  Each tool on Blender can be customized and scripted using Python API.
  • It has a customizable interface, shortcuts and window layouts.

WINGS 3D

Wings 3D is a powerful software for animation. This open-source software is suitable not only for beginners but also for professionals who create animations for commercial use.

Wings 3D has a customizable interface so that you can make changes that suit your animation style. It also supports materials and lighting. In addition to that, it also has an AutoUV mapping facility that is inbuilt in the software.

Wings 3D

For the purpose of adding 3d effects, there are several modeling tools available on Wings 3D. As a beginner, you will get solid support from a community of animators. You can use the forum for sharing ideas or learning new tricks of animation from other users of the software.

FEATURES:

  • User interface is simple and context sensitive.
  • There are selection tools and mesh modeling options.
  • AutoV feature lets you add textures to your models. 
  • Apart from English, Wings3d can be translated into several other languages.

K3-D ANIMATION SOFTWARE

K3-D is a 3d animation software free for beginners. A procedural engine is available for the content created on this software. Apart from 3D animation K3-D also features polygonal modeling. What makes K3-D a versatile and powerful animation software is its visual pipeline architecture that is combined with some flexible plugins.

K3-D ANIMATION SOFTWARE

K3-D is highly intuitive and consistent animation software. There are easy-to-use tools for the purpose of animation, curves, patches, and NURVS. It also features a parametric workflow. This animation software is compatible with Windows and Linux OS.

Thanks to its intuitive interface you can add amazing 3D effects to your animations. It has an advanced undo feature that lets you remove any changes that you make. Beginners can try this software for free.

FEATURES:

  • You can use the undo/ redo feature without any limitations.
  • Your documents can be created and edited in real time OpenGL.
  • There is an open API for various scripting languages. Python and K3DScripts are also supported. 
  • To get maximum productivity there is an option for modeling, animating and interacting with the animations.
  • Option to use third party plugins to get extensibility during runtime.
  • Spline based animations can be controlled with the help of a uniform interface.

SOURCE FILMMAKER

Source Filmmaker is a 3d animator that lets you animate within a game engine. In order to do this, it makes use of all the assets that are present within the game.

This animation software effectively renders the power of a gaming PC. You can create the exact animation in the movie that you can view in the game. It is a powerful 3D animation software for beginners.

SOURCE FILMMAKER

The lights, cameras, props, and actors used in this software give the feel of a real movie set. You can use any feature you want for your animated movies. For making a movie into a single system this software lets you manage the entire workflow.

FEATURES:

  • It provides a virtual movie set that has its own props, cameras, lights and action.
  • You can easily share your movies to the web like any other file.
  • There is a work camera that can be used to preview changes without disturbing the scene camera.
  • It offers three user interfaces for creating films.
  • This software lets you get into the fundamentals of keyframing and character rigging.
  • Automation is really easy with the help of numerous tools available on this animation software.
  • There are also tools for reading WAV files and lip syncing the animations of characters.

TOONTASTIC 3D ANIMATION SOFTWARE

If you want to create amazing 3d animations as a beginner you must try Toontastic 3D. In addition to storyboards, you can also add photographic images to your 3d animations. Further, there is also an option for adding customized music to the animated videos.

TOONTASTIC 3D ANIMATION SOFTWARE

Toontastic 3D is also preferred by the young animators due to its simple and easy use interface. This is a pretty good software for expressing your story in an animated form. The one demerit with this software is that you can only use a limited number of characters using this software. Other than that it is a fun animation software for beginners to get started with animation.

FEATURES:

  • There are 3d drawing tools that let you design your own characters.
  • You can even add yourself into your movies with the help of photos and custom characters.
  • There are a number of songs that you can mix with your soundtracks.
  • You can export your videos to your photo library and shore with others.
  • It has an idea lab full of stories, characters and settings that you can use in your videos.

KEYSHOT

Keyshot is one of the easiest to use 3d animation software for beginners. Compared to Blender it has pretty simple features and functions but can still create some amazing 3d graphics and animated movies.

Keyshot

The HDRI lighting control and texture mapping on this software are really impressive. As a beginner you will be able to use even the most complex features of Keyshot with a lot of ease. It serves as a solid platform for beginners to get started with animation. This software can prepare you for much more sophisticated animation projects.

FEATURES:

  • You can learn and start using Keyshot in no time.
  • Its simple workflow based interface helps you get photographic results in minutes.
  • There are tons of advanced features for the experienced 3d renderers.
  • It helps in speeding up your product development process with a wide 3d file format. 
  • You get high quality visuals for your objects that go beyond the physical appearance.
  • You can use the power of NIVIDIA GPUs or CPU for rendering.
  • Linear scaling is available for high level performance.

DAZ 3D

Even though Daz 3D is a free animation software, it is packed with a large number of assets and models that can be used for animation. Most animators prefer Daz 3D for creating animated short movies or films. For beginners it can be a great alternative to the more advanced and expensive animation software.

DAZ 3D

One of the most important features of Daz 3D is that you can edit the motion capture data as per your needs. You can view all the poses for your models in the form of nodes in a grid. All you need to do is shift your mouse across these nodes to apply the poses to your models. Moreover, you can assign poses to your models in the timeline. The program will then automatically create movement in them.

Daz 3D has the most straightforward animation features. You can even buy or sell props, poses or models in this software since it also acts like a marketplace.

FEATURES:

  • The characters here are very detailed.
  • It features a hexagon delete accessory, 3d guides, snapping, and pivot point manipulation.
  • Daz 3D figures can be easily transferred.
  • The human figures are extremely realistic.
  • There is a lot of articulation and organic bends.
  • It also has an interface for facial recognition.

CLARA.IO

This software for 3D animation can be used on Windows and Mac computers as it runs on your browser. With regards to 3d modeling, it has features like looping, cutting, beveling, slicing, and extrusion. You can create animated movies on Clara.io with its keyframe animation feature. The frames are calculated automatically using interpolation and states are also defined for each keyframe.

Clara.io

Major feature films have used Clara.io for the purpose of pre-visualization. Even though it is a browser based software its rendering features and 3d animations are really exceptional. You can use this software to embed your 3d models or animations on your website.

FEATURES:

  • Every user is given a profile page where they can list their gallery and public images.
  • You can highlight any specific scene with its view page functionality.
  • There tons of downloads and a 3d modeling library available.
  • A simple workflow for uploading your final works.
  • The user interface is task focused.
  • It has flexible viewpoints.
  • The lightings are based on the images.
  • It provides navigation for embedding.
  • Its modeling performance is similar to that of a desktop.

HOUDINI APPRENTICE

This software is the free version of Houdini FX. It lets you create a large number of 3d animations as well as rendering. This animation software is suitable not only for beginners but also professionals or casual animators. The parent software that is Houdini FX has been used in many major feature films. The level of versatility with Houdini Apprentice is just exceptional. You should definitely give a shot to this free version.

HOUDINI APPRENTICE

FEATURES:

  • This is only for the non commercial projects.
  • It needs a different pipeline than the commercial versions of Houdini.
  • Houdini apprentice has its own file formats for the purpose of saving assets and scenes.
  • It is limited to 1280x720 while rendering.
  • You cannot use it with third party renderers.

AUTODESK

Autodesk has a free version for 3d animation. However, it is free only for non-commercial animated videos. This means that if you are a beginner it can be a great stepping stone for getting started with animation. Out of all the animation software in this list you will find the best features in Autodesk.

AUTODESK

Being a powerful software, Autodesk will require you to have a system that can handle its advanced features. Also the learning curve of this software could be a little steep for absolute beginners. If you set aside these factors there is no major reason for you to not try this powerful animation software.

FEATURES:

  • Without making any changes to the existing drawings you can add reviews and feedback to a DWG file.
  • The “Count” command automatically counts blocks and geometry.
  • You can share a controlled copy of your drawings with your team or colleagues wherever they are.
  • Your CAD drawings can be pushed as PDF files to Autodesk docs.
  • You can pull away the drawing monitors to view them side by side or on more than one monitor too in the same instance.
  •  It offers faster performance while 3d animating or plotting.

CONCLUSION

We have come to the end of our list of the best free 3d animation software for beginners. These software are guaranteed to clear your animation basics so that you can take up more serious animation projects in the future. You can also go ahead and have a look at our list of some of the more advanced animation software for beginners.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best 3d animation software for mac?

Ans. Out of the software mentioned above we would recommend you to go with for animation on a mac.

Which 3d animation software is best for beginners?

Ans. As a beginner you can try out software like Blender, Keyshot or Autodesk.

What software to use for 3d animation?

Ans. You can use any of the software mentioned above for 3d animation. However, our recommendation would be Blender, if you want to use advanced animation features for free.

What 3d animation software does Pixar use?

Ans. Pixar makes use of RenderMan for animation and visual effects rendering. Its major aspects are its scalability and versatility.

“What we love most about animation is, it’s a team sport, and everything we do is about pure imagination.”