We've collected software that will help you create 3D animation for free.
At some point in your artist career, you might want to go beyond creating 3D objects and start animating them. There are many animation apps on the internet, but if you're not ready to pay for the functionality yet, this list is for you.
We are not going to include free trials here, only totally free apps that will help you make outstanding animation.
When you start researching 3D, Blender is the first free software that you see. It has everything you need to create cool projects from start to finish, and animation is, of course, included, "whether it's simple keyframing or complex walk-cycles".
Blender's animation feature set offers:
- Character animation pose editor
- Non Linear Animation (NLA) for independent movements
- Forward/inverse kinematics for fast poses
- Sound synchronization
- Rigging tools
Blender gets updated pretty often, so you'll always have access to the latest animation tools.
Let's start with Plask, a browser-based AI motion capture tool and animation editor for anybody interested in the field. The tool can turn even a webcam video into an animation.
The free plan includes:
- Extract motion 30 sec (900 credits) daily. 900 credits included to get started easily
- 1 GB of storage for assets
- Single-person motion capture
- Foot lock feature
- Import motion data from FBX, GLB, and JSON file types,
and video from MP4, MOV, and WEBM file types
- Export motion data in FBX, GLB, and BVH formats
If you like it, you can get a MoCap Pro, which adds faster, unlimited extract motion up to 60 minutes monthly, 5 GB storage for assets, and multi-person motion capture.
Next is Daz Studio, a 3D scene creation and rendering application, which also has tools to make animations and even a short movie. It streamlines a lot of the highly technical and skill-saturated areas of development to make it simpler than you might expect. There are plenty of preset animations you can use already in the app, so you just need to place the blocks across the timeline.
Daz Studio also has its own shop with thousands of assets (some of them are free). All you have to do to use all of its tools is register.
Let's move on to D5 Render, a tool that builds a streamlined real-time rendering workflow for DCC software like 3ds Max, Blender, and Cinema 4D. While not exactly an animation program, it has tools to create keyframe animation.
There are more than 1100 animated models of vegetation, characters, animals, and vehicles, so ou can choose one to make your work easier.
It's time for more niche apps. Boats Animator is a free, open-source program that lets you create stop-motion animation. Developed by Charlie Lee, it has an intuitive interface and caters to animators of all levels.
It supports high-resolution capture from webcams, including 1080p and beyond, instant playback for your captured frames, and tools such as onion skinning, gridlines, and aspect ratio masks.
Now, if you enjoy cartoon animation or want to teach your kid how to make one, Toontastic 3D is for you. This creative storytelling app from Google allows users to draw, animate, narrate, and record their own cartoons. There are no age restrictions, but the developers especially recommend it for children aged 6-12.
The program works on phones, tablets, and some Chromebooks even offline. Users can share their creations with others and see what their friends have made.
This one is a bit tricky as it has not been updated in a while. K-3D is free-as-in-freedom 3D modeling and animation software, which combines flexible plug-ins with a visualization pipeline architecture. It has an intuitive design and a node-based visualization pipeline. As it's open-source, you can look at the code and maybe create something similar one day.
We hope it was useful to you. When you're confident with your animating skills, you should also try free trials of other software. After all, great projects don't always come from free tools.
What are your favorite animation programs? Share your ideas and don't forget to join our 80 Level Talent platform, our Reddit page, and our Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.
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