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Seeking recommendations for good 3D animation/renderer software

It is my intention to make an animated movie with animated actors and environment, pretty much in the genre of Toy Story and other 3D animated movies we see nowadays with no real people in it.

I know Autodesk Maya is one of the best in this genre. Problem is, it's price is also one of the steepest. I've looked into Carrara 8 and iClone 5, and they both seem more affordable, but I don't want to shell out money until I'm sure the software I pick is:

1) Powerful and versatile;
2) Easy to use

Can anyone help me with this basic choice? Thanks.
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elepil
Asked:
elepil
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1 Solution
 
aadihCommented:
Take a comparative look here:

http://3d-animation-software-review.toptenreviews.com/ >
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elepilAuthor Commented:
I already saw that through Google search. I'm looking for feedback from people who can do more than Google searching as I can do that myself.

Perhaps someone who is actually using 3D animation software can respond?
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aadihCommented:
Sorry.
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MereteCommented:
Sorry I have never used those tools never even heard of them, but if I may steer you over to the people in the know, CG Society
They have a free membership and a yearly membership of around 50 dollars.
I have found them to be the ultimate site for anything to do with 3D and video since they do most of the work in all featured videos you see on the big screen.
CGtalk is the place to ask.
Merete
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elepilAuthor Commented:
I'll keep those in mind, Merete, but to have to pay $79 for an annual membership just to ask my question might be going ahead of myself. Thanks for responding anyway.
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MereteCommented:
No worries elepil but you could have browsed for free and there is a free account and the pro.
I have never made a full 3D animation movie so cannot accurately give you advise.
CG Society could and that fee for a year is very reasonable, if you find that too expensive you may have reconsider your dream.
No tool will give you 100% guarantee if you have not the know how /experience/training knowledge to use it understanding the technical side.

But back to the topic of your animation video with the quality of Toy Story, do you realize it takes an enormous team to put that together with many many tools. They actually create rigs to build the characters on.
There is the hundreds  thousand of drawings, then there is the background drawing images. The rigging
Translating the movies into 3-D involves revisiting the original computer data and virtually placing a second camera into each scene, creating left-eye and right-eye views needed to achieve the perception of depth.
CG Society actually did the animations and graphics for Toy Story 1/2 and three
http://www.cgsociety.org/index.php/CGSFeatures/CGSFeatureSpecial/toy_story_3

Take for example DreamWorks Animation used 80 million compute hours creating croods
That’s not the end of the impressive stats, though.
The Croods contains the work of 400 animators, which translated into 250TB of data that then needed to be edited down into the final release. Each character took 6 months to perfect and has 2,500 control points for feature manipulation.

The software that was used was as you said, from all the Adobe ranges, Photoshop/ Adobe After Effects to Maya, Autodesk add ons,   such as Autodesk Mudbox
Avid for editing,
 the Foundry Nuke for compositing  using the green screen
and possibly Inferno for motion graphics. Also Abode Photoshop, and Adobe After Effects.

You'll be happy to know that there is a really good 3D program similar to Maya called Blender that is totally freeware, and you can download from here
www.blender.org
Blender
http://www.blender.org/features-gallery/
Blender Animation Toolkit
http://www.blender3d.org/e-shop/product_info_n.php?products_id=157
Mixamo is your online source for animation and character creation - all Blender ready
http://www.mixamo.com/landing/blender_animation_2
Basic Blender Tutorial How to Make 3D Animations
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR4EFyxpMIw
Blender Portable 2.67b (3D modeling, animation, rendering) Released
http://portableapps.com/news/2013-05-31--blender-portable-2.67b-released
You can find lots of tutes on youtube
Big Buck Bunny animation (1080p HD)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSGBVzeBUbk
Blender tutorial
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSGBVzeBUbk

MovieStorm
http://www.moviestorm.co.uk/hub/docs
How can I create a short animation video?

3d software
Go!animate is very popular
http://goanimate.com/
Ok I've said enough.
Hope it inspires though
Regards Merete
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elepilAuthor Commented:
Thanks, Merete. In the days past the last time I corresponded with you, I've been doing research, and your current response pretty much covered everything I've found and more. Thanks again.
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MereteCommented:
Thank you elepil, it was a pleasure watching the animation/s made from Blender.
I wish well .
Regards Merete
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