9 programs to create your own 3D animations

9 programs to create your own 3D animations

It is possible to be creator of your own adventures! 3D animation programs allow the best of Hollywood studios from the comfort of your home

3D animations occupy a piece of our hearts. But truth be told: how incredible would it be not to be able to create our own stories? For great wills, there are no obstacles. All you need is an idea in your head and the tools. And they exist, from beginners to professionals, the world of animation is just a step away.

Some companies have recently made editing programs available for 3D animations. And before, something that was considered elitist and worthy of big Hollywood studios as Pixar, Disney and Dreamworks started to share space with the first independent efforts of creators with access to these same tools. If 3D animation is the future, we can all be part of it.

3D animations: a brief history

3D animation is not a recent phenomenon. His first successful attempt was with Toy Story in 1996. But things took time to warm up. After all, if the 90s is considered the Golden Age of animation with the second Boom Disney, the birth of Studio Ghibli and the efforts of Fox in this segment, we can consider that the years 2010 opened the door to 3D animation.

With the fourth chapter coming, the Toy Story franchise was a pioneer in the 3D segment, grabbing an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.

With the appearance of princesses of Disney totally redesigned in 3D technology to the revival of old favorites with Incredibles 2 (2018), there is much to be explored and encouraged in this new chapter that begins. No wonder, with the fourth chapter of the franchise Toy Story already scheduled for June 21, it is not surprising how much animation of the Pixar mess with our imagination.

A good example of this is the Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (2018), an absolute success of public and critics, being the big undisputed winner of the last season of awards in the category Best Animation.

The results of the web head on the big screen were so satisfactory that Sony committed itself to investing in the entertainment industry and its creators

Such was the animation of Sony with the results obtained with the franchise that the panel of the Japanese company at CES 2019 was dedicated to the values ​​recognized around the need to supply creators, whoever they may be, with the best working tool. That said, let’s get to know them:


This is the most complete software for 3D animationsMaya is the favorite program of animation studios

Why not start with that program that is a reference? This is the case Maya, owned by Autodesk and which is currently the industry standard for computer generated 3D animations, games and effects used in live entertainment and TV shows.

THE Maya it is always being updated and has so many features that it is the perfect program for those who are striving to become professional animators. It is, without a doubt, the software of choice for many filmmakers, as it allows for a wide range of shading and lighting effects.

Maya cost can be a disadvantageMaya’s rich detailing and range of features is ideal for professionals in the field and for students eager to master even more features

Another point in its favor is that it is easily customizable and you can integrate it software and third-party extensions. It’s a lot of efficiency. But not everything is perfect. Starting with its price. So if you are a student or are not going to use all your resources, it is quite possible that it is better to think about other options.

Maya costs $ 1,995 and is available for Mac OSX and Windows.


Mastering Lightwave is hardMastering Lightwave requires a lot of study

Lightwave is a very professional 3D animation software. It is mainly used to create animations and special effects.

THE software comes with many features and requires a lot of learning before you master it. But this is not an obstacle. The results are worth the effort. The best part is that it comes with a 30-day free trial and is compatible with all the latest operating systems.

The quality of the animations is also of a high standard and the speed with which you can create animations is noteworthy. However, it is not cheap.

Lightwave costs $ 995 and is available for both Mac OSX how much Windows.

3D Studio Max

Maya's cousin, this is the most expensive program on the listThis software started in design and reached the cinema

This is another wonderful software 3D animation Autodesk, the owners of Maya. Although it is more popular with designers and industrial architects, it slowly moved into the world of films and video games. It is more suitable for the development of 3D games, unlike the Maya, which is better for animations.

However, it is one of softwares the most expensive 3D animation on our list and only major studios can probably afford it. 3D Studio Max costs $ 3,495 and is available for Mac OSX and Windows.


Blender is a good alternativeFree, Blender is ideal for beginners and the curious

You are less likely to see this software in large studios, but if you are working on a limited budget or simply making 3D animations for your projects, Blender it is exactly what you need.

It is perfect for creating simple drawings, as well as other small 3D animation projects. How is a software simpler, it doesn’t match the tastes of the Maya It’s from Lightwave in terms of quality and resources, but it’s a good software by itself.

Best of all, Blender is free and is available for both Mac OSX how much Windows.


Smart Body is a good alternative for beginnersDeveloped by a University of California, Smart Body promises to facilitate the capture of movements

Another who plays on the softwares free, the SmartBody it is the type of program indispensable and we can tell you why: it helps to capture movements. Is there a more necessary resource than that?

Developed by USC Institute, this program is all about action-oriented 3D animations such as: locomotion, direction, object manipulation, lip synchronization, contemplation, non-verbal behavior and redirection. You can manipulate spaces and make your characters perform from simpler actions like waving to more complex ones, for example, having a glass of water.

It is worth remembering that this program has a powerful built-in scanner, which makes everything even more effective and, why not, fun. SmartBody is free and available for Mac OSX, Windows, Linux, Android and iOS.


Limited but effective, Terragen is for those who want beautiful sceneryTerragen is focused on landscape detailing

THE Terragen it’s not exactly free, but it’s part of the price team that fits the budget. What he does? 3D landscapes. The most beautiful and detailed 3D landscapes. Not 3D animations, but 3D landscapes. But that’s it.

This is the type of program that is worth purchasing if you want rich detail in your project and it is worth the price. If you are still in your first steps as an animator, it is possible that this will be your next first big investment.

Terragen costs $ 345 and is available for Mac OSX, Windows and Linux.


Poser is all about charactersNo The Sims, Poser lets you create your own characters

This one is also another program with only one objective. Here you can create a variety of characters with detailed 3D animations worthy of major Hollywood studios. With a friendly price that varies for beginners and professionals, what counts here is democracy.

The program already provides a standard housing for you to start working, and from there, the sky is the limit. $ 129 in the standard version and $ 349 for the Pro version. It is available for Windowif Mac OS.


Mode hitchhikes on 2D toolsFocused on visual effects, the mode is a good outlet for 2D animators

mode was developed targeting professionals in the VFX (visual effects) and design industries. Compared to some other software of 3D animations, the mode it is relatively easy to learn. Its highlights are surface modeling of polygons and subdivisions, a particle mechanism and procedural animation.

Some of the animation tools are designed to attract artists who are used to 2D animation software. For example, the spacing chart that allows you to manage the main poses and intermediaries to create animations quickly.

Mode is available by $ 1299 and is compatible with Mac OSX, Windows and Linux.

What software caught your attention the most? Any favorites? Are you missing any? Share with us in the comments.