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    re-emerging 3D animator- what to recommend?
    Canon DSLR Moderator M. Gilden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Just north of NYC
    Hey guys- I'm an ex-animator that has somehow turned videographer over the last 15 years.

    What do you guys recommend for someone who'd like to get back into the game?

    I know thats a very broad question, so I'll give you a little more background:

    I got into video back when I was a teenager about 15 years ago. I was fascinated with the idea of mixing CGI with live video, and landed some projects to try my hand at it.
    Since I was still in school (and tried to avoid using pirated apps for anything I was getting paid for), I stuck with what I could afford: Caligari's Truespace.

    ::ducks flying tomatoes::

    Ok, I know TS isn't the greatest 3D tool, or even a good one to today's standards, but it was the only one I could get my hands on legally, and it served my purposes well. I knew my way inside and out (starting with version 2, and used it all the way up to 5), did mostly architectural and prototype animation like watches for a jewelry company, architectural walk-throughs, and how-it-works sort of breakdowns for commercial spots.

    I never did people or animals or any fancy rigging, partly because the projects didn't call for it, but mostly because anything organic was extremely difficult to do with TS's limited toolset.

    After that, I started getting more involved with compositing/editing (after effects/premiere), then more straight-up editing without any visual effects (premiere, sony vegas, etc), to finally owning my own camera (first a DVX, now a Canon DSLR) and suddenly find myself involved in production more than post.
    I recently got a new laptop and began installing all my software suites, when I suddenly realized I don't even have any animation tools on my computers anymore! (I mean, aside from After Effects which I use regularly for intro/title animation, but nothing in real 3D).

    This was very sad for me as I entered this industry as an animator, and have somehow lost my enthusiasm for it.

    So, that being said, I want to come back. I started looking around at newer applications (not interested in the new Truespace, honestly- want something that offers more useful tools and a better workflow), but the UIs all seem so foreign to me. I'm pretty proficient in After Effects, and really knew my way around TS well, but I tried my hand at Blender (since its free) and found the interface so backwards and confusing.

    Is there something out there that someone with my skillset could pick up and understand rather quickly? Hopefully, something that isn't all that expensive... I recently saw a post here for Messiah being on sale, but I'm not familiar with it.

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    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Persist with Blender. After awhile, everything clicks.

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    Junior Member timmyg101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Shanghai, China

    Pick the 3d software you feel more comfortable with, Blender is free and is good, has been proven by studios as production worthy.

    If you have time, try to download Maya personal edition or softimage, they can be used for small projects and testing stuff. (if you want to work in a studio environment, these are good to learn)

    For 2d and video or just traditional animation, a good cel program, or good use of photoshop CS5 (use the video strip) and after effects can make cool 2d animation.

    good luck!
    Last edited by timmyg101; 02-22-2011 at 10:08 AM.

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