3D animation is not a realm that the average Joe can pick up and run with. To produce anything that even resembles a few seconds of the latest animated blockbusters, be it Ice Age or Pixar's Cars, you can expect to spend weeks or even months designing, modelling, texturing, animating, and testing before you even get to the rendering process.
Anim8or is a freeware 3D design and animation app that tries to introduce anyone interested to the basic concepts of 3D.
Those dipping into the world of 3D graphics for the first time will be glad to hear that this program doesn't need to be installed, meaning that it is an easily portable and equally disposable option.
Open it up and you're faced with a violet screen and a couple of toolbars that contain basic icons. These are likely not to make much sense to anyone starting out and if you have a look towards where the help file should be, it comes somewhat as a disappointment that there is none.
Moving on from here, the user experience is all about trial and error, which doesn’t habitually result in stunning 3D creations.
Having experience with other software, namely Cinema 4D and 3D Studio Max, we can see a gaping discrepancy in both the limitations and usability of Anim8or.
There are several vital areas in which it doesn’t perform and as such cannot be considered as a viable alternative to any “professional” 3D app.
To begin, the navigation in the object window is clumsy and time consuming. It is imperative to have short-cuts that let you easily pan, zoom, or rotate, just as it is crucial to be able to have a split-screen view, letting you judge position of objects with far greater accuracy and efficiency.
However our greatest criticism comes from the fact that you cannot add light sources. Admittedly, light sources add immensely to the complicity of the software, with such a huge variety available adding elements like hard and soft shadows, visible light, and mixed light sources of multiple colours.
Nonetheless, a good grasp on lighting is key to creating impressive and realistic 3D graphics, and is therefore essential in all graphics apps.
At the end of the day, Anim8or is still a work in progress but will take an awfully long time to reach a stage at which it may be of use for something more than simple 3D logos.
If you do happen to spend enough time using this program to go beyond that however, you will find yourself needing to switch to a larger 3D suite and learn its interface from scratch.
We would recommend that you save yourself the trouble and start using the complete package from day one. On the other hand, if you don’t have high ambitions then this may prove to be a free solution for all your 3D needs.
- Various bug fixes