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Animations are important for storytelling. Whether you’re in the gaming, entertainment, retail, architecture, or engineering industry, you can use animations to create attractive visuals for marketing your products or services. Animated videos also find an application in the e-learning industry to help visualize concepts and make learning easier for students.
Creating animations, however, is a time-consuming and complex process, and the complexity varies based on your desired animation type (e.g., 2D, 3D) and quality. Several underlying functions, even in simple animations, are effort-intensive. These include generating character skeletons, creating transitions, and assembling animated frames.
That’s where animation software comes into the picture. It offers features such as prebuilt templates, automatic light and color scheme adjustment, motion capture, and rendering to help automate the process of creating animations.
In this buyers guide, we explain the features and benefits of animation software as well as the considerations and market trends you should keep in mind when purchasing the software.
Here's what we'll cover:
- What is animation software?
- Common features of animation software
- What type of buyer are you?
- Benefits of animation software
- Market trends to understand
What is animation software?
Animation software is a software tool that automates the process of creating animated feature films, cartoons, GIFs, whiteboard animation videos, and other media. It allows design artists to create an animated video frame by frame, either from scratch or by using a prebuilt template. It also lets them import media files from other applications to add music or additional effects to their animations.
The software automates functions such as rendering videos, adding transitions, adjusting the background, syncing the audio, and creating bone structures to help reduce the time and effort required to create animations. It’s used in various industries including education, entertainment, advertising, marketing, manufacturing, and medical.
Common features of animation software
It’s easier to select software when you know what its common features are. Let’s look at some of the common features of animation tools.
|2D and 3D modeling||Access 2D and 3D animation features such as rigging, vector animation, bone tools, animation curves, automatic weight calculation, auto-meshing, and inverse kinematics. Use prebuilt templates to speed up the process.|
|Animations and transitions||Create animations from scratch, or use prebuilt templates. Add graphical and media objects, modify the appearance of the objects, and synchronize them with the audio. Use built-in transitions or create your own. Define the sequence of transitions, or use autogenerated transitions.|
|Media imports||Import pictures, videos, graphics, audio, and other media. Customize the media, adjust its quality, add audio and transitions, modify the size, and much more.|
|Prebuilt templates||Choose from a collection of prebuilt templates that you can edit, rearrange, and add your own branding to. Change the text, font, color, size, and other parameters as required.|
|Rendering||Assemble all animated scenes (2D animation or 3D graphics) in a sequence of individual frames to generate a video clip. Convert keyframes or simulated models into their final appearance by adding lighting, effects, transitions, textures, and more.|
|Video editing||Edit video backgrounds, color schemes, fonts, text, frame hierarchies, and more. Edit any imported media to fine-tune the characters, motion animation, lighting, etc.|
What type of buyer are you?
Before evaluating animation program options, you should assess the kind of buyer you are. The majority of buyers in this market belong to one of these categories:
- Buyers looking for a professional-grade tool: These buyers include professional animation artists who need advanced software to create high-quality content. They need an animation app that can help create virtual reality scenes, animated films, motion graphics, animated characters, and graphical environments. These buyers should opt for an advanced animation tool that supports 3D modeling, rendering, character animation, bitmap drawing, and simulation, among other features. These advanced features will help them develop high-quality, professional-grade animations, which may be difficult to achieve with a regular tool.
- Buyers looking for a tool suited to beginners: These buyers include animators or artists who’re just starting out. They need an animation maker that has basic functionality and will help them learn the ropes of designing animations. These buyers can opt for a free or low-cost animation tool that provides educational materials or training on creating animations. 2D animations, vector graphics, prebuilt animations, motion tracking support, and built-in character templates are some recommended features for this buyer category.
Benefits of animation software
Here are the key benefits of choosing an animation platform:
- Reduced time: Animation software tools help reduce the time it takes you to create animated media. Features such as prebuilt animation templates, character templates, and built-in transitions automate the process and make it easier to develop high-quality media, such as 2D animation, 3D animation, motion graphic, and stop motion animation.
- Better quality: An animation software tool helps improve the output quality by letting you adjust lighting, shades, background colors, visual effects, and more. You can edit the animations for enhancing keyframes, scenes, or characters. You also have an option to highlight details; enhance the color schemes; and add music, audio, or voice-over to further enhance the animation quality.
Market trends to understand
Here are the latest animation software market trends that you should be aware of:
- Collaborative cloud-based workflows are improving communication among teams. Producing animated movies requires as much teamwork as any other activity. Collaborative cloud-based workflows help ensure animation projects and related files can be easily shared within the team as well as with other departments. They allow for more efficient and easier access to resources, which facilitates collaboration. They also support digital communication via features such as instant messaging and live chat.
- Increasing use of artificial intelligence in animation production. Artificial intelligence is being increasingly used as middleware for animation tools. The process of creating animations is time-consuming and involves a steep learning curve. Artificial intelligence technology can speed up the process by introducing a middle layer that automates much of the groundwork that goes into creating animations. It can, for instance, develop the skeleton of characters for human motion simulation to reduce the time and effort required to create animations.
Note: The application selected in this article is an example to show a feature in context and is not intended as an endorsement or a recommendation. It has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.