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Author Topic: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!  (Read 2040 times)

wolfsong73

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Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« on: September 11, 2016, 05:43:49 pm »

Hi all,

Just joined up on the forums here, and decided to pop in to say hi!, and to ask a question.

So.. Hello!

So, I used Anim8or originally some time ago, years at this point. Decided to come back because I remember it being a very simple (not in the bad way) and to-the-point application. A lot of other 3D apps nowadays are getting very bloated and over-engineered (in my opinion). I just finally said "okay, enough" to a stint with another one, from a fairly well-known company, whose developers seem to place more importance on "doing everything differently", than on creating an intuitive and approachable app. Not going to name which, 'cause I don't want this to be a "this vs. that" type of post.

Anyway!

I'm looking for a small, no-nonsense program that lets me jump in and start getting things done. I remembered Anim8or being one of the few out there designed around that kind of approach.

So, as for my question...

I was looking through some threads, and saw that there's a 1247 build available, but it seems to be a dev build, not a final one. Is that recommended? Or would it be better to jump back in with the one linked on the Download page?

Thanks and I'm looking forward to jumping back in!

Take care!

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Steve

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Re: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2016, 06:01:08 pm »

Hi, wolfsong73! Welcome to the forum. I retired a couple of years ago and now have a lot more time to work on Anim8or. There are a lot of things I want to do with it for the "next release" so I wasn't sure when I'd get that done. So I decided to post updates on what I was developing so that I could both get feedback on the design and bug reports along the way.

In my opinion this has worked out quite well. The builds that I post from time to time are quite stable. The main issue is that the documentation isn't up to date, so you have to read through the different topics in the "Ongoing Anim8or Development" section of the forum if you have questions. You should give it a try. Anim8or is still just a single executable file so you can always use an older version without having to uninstall anything, or even run both side-by-side to compare them.

Take a look at the new "Topographical Knife" tool in point edit mode. It's a great new modeling tool (and a big "Thanks" to raxx for all his input in the design).
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wolfsong73

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Re: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2016, 06:12:00 pm »

Hiya, Steve!

Cool! I will definitely dig in and give it a go. I did download both the current and "latest" versions, and I really like the updated interface, color scheme, etc. Like I said... very "lean and to the point".

Are the existing tutorials still applicable to the latest build? The flower one, etc? That's likely how I'll dive back in and re-learn stuff.

Thanks!

Hi, wolfsong73! Welcome to the forum. I retired a couple of years ago and now have a lot more time to work on Anim8or. There are a lot of things I want to do with it for the "next release" so I wasn't sure when I'd get that done. So I decided to post updates on what I was developing so that I could both get feedback on the design and bug reports along the way.

In my opinion this has worked out quite well. The builds that I post from time to time are quite stable. The main issue is that the documentation isn't up to date, so you have to read through the different topics in the "Ongoing Anim8or Development" section of the forum if you have questions. You should give it a try. Anim8or is still just a single executable file so you can always use an older version without having to uninstall anything, or even run both side-by-side to compare them.

Take a look at the new "Topographical Knife" tool in point edit mode. It's a great new modeling tool (and a big "Thanks" to raxx for all his input in the design).
« Last Edit: September 11, 2016, 06:12:58 pm by wolfsong73 »
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wolfsong73

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Re: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2016, 08:18:29 pm »

Just wanted to share this.

Now, this is nothing amazing, and it's not going to win any awards lol... BUT, I wanted to share it anyway.

One of the first things I try to create when I'm learning (or re-learning in this case) a 3D program, is basic polygon house. It tends to use most of the more common mesh-editing tools, and so, if I can get it completed with little or no hassle, I know the program is going to be worth continuing with.

I first posted here, what... an hour-ish ago? In that time, I've gotten the basics down enough (even the knife tool!) to create a basic house.

By comparison, that other program I just came from, I spent a few days working with.. I was never able to create anything like this, due to how convoluted and confusing their tools and workflow are.

Such a world of difference when a program's creator is focused on making their workflow straight-forward and intuitive, versus trying to impress... themselves?... with how overly complex they can make theirs.   I really think that some software devs - especially for graphics programs - forget, or maybe fail to understand, who they're developing it for.


And I've barely even dipped a toe in, yet. Going to be spending some quality time with this app, I think :p.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2016, 08:22:00 pm by wolfsong73 »
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ENSONIQ5

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Re: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2016, 01:12:16 pm »

Looks like a nice, clean model :).  While I spend most of my time with other animation packages (chiefly for render speed) I still always start with Animator.  The interface is clean and uncluttered, utterly free of malarky and I still think it's the best modeller around.  This is a shot from a web series I'm working on, while it was rendered elsewhere all the modelling was done in Anim8or using the same set of tools you used to build your house (took a little longer than an hour though!).  Good luck with your Anim8ing and welcome to the forums.
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wolfsong73

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Re: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2016, 05:42:54 pm »

Looks like a nice, clean model :).  While I spend most of my time with other animation packages (chiefly for render speed) I still always start with Animator.  The interface is clean and uncluttered, utterly free of malarky and I still think it's the best modeller around.  This is a shot from a web series I'm working on, while it was rendered elsewhere all the modelling was done in Anim8or using the same set of tools you used to build your house (took a little longer than an hour though!).  Good luck with your Anim8ing and welcome to the forums.

lol... Yeah, like I said, it's nothing earth shattering, and certainly not posted to show off any modeling skills. Just me sharing my excitement at finding (or re-finding, I guess) a program that not only appeals to my preference of a program as a tool to get things done, but also easy to pick up and get to work with. I hate having to first figure a barrage of fancy bells and whistles that look great on a "Features" bullet list, but really only place more steps in the way of achieving the same results.

Steven nails it with Anim8or, I think. Straight-forward tools, with easy to remember shortcut keys. Too bad I didn't come back to this sooner heh. Could have saved a lot of wasted time.

So far, the only thing that trips me up is working between World, Object and Screen space. Some tools, I notice, won't work in certain modes, and others seem to work kinda weird in some lol. I had an object I was working/learning with yesterday, and found that if I wanted to move a couple vertices in the Y direction, I had to lock it to X. Never quite figured out why that was happening. It never happened again after that.

That model looks great! Is an animation anywhere to be seen, yet?

Also, what external app do you use for rendering, if you don't mind me asking?

Thanks!

« Last Edit: September 12, 2016, 05:50:01 pm by wolfsong73 »
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daniel99

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Re: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2016, 06:15:27 pm »

Welcome to the forum, wolfsong73. Yeah, anim8or has many amazing new tools nowadays.

Steve: Forgot to mention in my other posts, but I also love an8 because is an executable file. I hope you won't change that.

ENSONIQ5 Very nice render, man! You are very meticulous. Great job! :D
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nemyax

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Re: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2016, 06:39:29 am »

I just finally said "okay, enough" to a stint with another one, from a fairly well-known company, whose developers seem to place more importance on "doing everything differently", than on creating an intuitive and approachable app. Not going to name which, 'cause I don't want this to be a "this vs. that" type of post.
Hash Inc.?
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ENSONIQ5

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Re: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2016, 08:18:55 am »

Is an animation anywhere to be seen, yet?

Also, what external app do you use for rendering, if you don't mind me asking?

Thanks!

Cheers wolfsong73 and daniel99.  This is from the webseries Mission Backup Earth (http://missionbackupearth.com/) which is a zero-budget production based mainly in Berlin but involving 3D artists from all around the world (I'm Australian).  The image is a frame from an animation, though I don't recall which episode it appears in!  One of the earlier ones I think. (EDIT: It starts at 4:53 in episode 1 of the prequels here:
)

The render was done with Carrara which is similar to Anim8or in that it is a comprehensive modelling/animation/rendering package, however it's not free or open source.  Its modeller is kinda terrible to be honest, which is why I still prefer to build in Anim8or, however it has an excellent renderer that is able to make use of multi-threading and network-rendering.  If I engage both my i7 machines that's 16 threads of rendering power, which equals speed.  Since I'm mainly rendering HD1080 at 24 fps, speed is essential to maintain workflow.  While the sample image above could absolutely have been rendered with Anim8or (in fact, ART renders look nicer than Carrara's in my opinion) it would have taken many times longer to render (2-3 minutes per frame in Carrara, possibly 20-30 minutes or more in Anim8or depending on settings).

Carrara's renderer also has a few cool things like light cones, lens flares, secondary illumination etc. which could all be done in post but it's cool to have them there.  There's a few other things Carrara can do that are yet to be added to Anim8or (eg. physics) but since Steve has been releasing updates the gap has reduced considerably (eg. inverse kinematics - something that has been on my Anim8or wishlist for years :). I haven't had a chance to play with it yet but plan to asap).

While loath to invoke the name of Blender as I have no interest in starting another Anim8or vs. Blender thread, it does have a pretty awesome renderer and is, I believe, approaching the power of Maya, 3DS Max etc.  However, it's interface is almost the antithesis of Anim8or's, being one of the nastiest GUIs I've ever had the displeasure to work with.  There are also a few stand-alone renderers out there such as Kerkythea, some with steeper learning curves than others.

I will continue to work with Anim8or as long as I am able and will continue to sing its virtues whenever I get the chance.  As an introduction to 3D animating it's hard to beat, and as a basic modelling toolbox I'm yet to find its peer.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 08:30:15 am by ENSONIQ5 »
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daniel99

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Re: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2016, 12:05:04 pm »

ENSONIQ5 Nice job, man. Congrats!
Btw, when I first heard about Carrara, I tried using it for the same purpose: fast rendering with ambient occlusion! But I think I didn't have the patience to learn it, or I was unhappy with it, so I ended up not using it.
So, I render with scanline in anim8or most of the time and sometimes use ART Ray Tracer. Maybe Steve will improve the render speed for ART in the future.
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ENSONIQ5

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Re: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2016, 12:58:04 pm »

Cheers daniel99.  There's a lot to not like about Carrara, there are some things that are just plain weird, but I guess I'm familiar with it by now so it no longer bothers me too much.  When I do a project purely in Anim8or I am always impressed by the excellent workflow; the ability to create multiple Objects, Figures and Scenes within a single project is just excellent and I really miss this in other packages.  If the render speed of ART could be improved (most of my renders need reflections and other tricky stuff so Scanline is not really an option) I would love to work entirely within Anim8or.
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daniel99

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Re: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2016, 05:15:40 pm »

ENSONIQ5: Yes, to be honest, some renders I tried to make with carrera, looked exactly like an8 renders, almost no difference. So, I'll trick with an8. ---> AN8 4 LIFE !!! :D
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wolfsong73

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Re: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2016, 05:56:22 pm »

I just finally said "okay, enough" to a stint with another one, from a fairly well-known company, whose developers seem to place more importance on "doing everything differently", than on creating an intuitive and approachable app. Not going to name which, 'cause I don't want this to be a "this vs. that" type of post.
Hash Inc.?

Nope! Though I have worked with that in the past.

Neat program, and has a nice workflow. As it stands, I personally see A:M as a kind of "niche novelty app". It's cool, Hash patches are an interesting way of constructing objects, and can yield some nice results (which ultimately comes down to the person using it). But it's not fulfilling any needs that haven't already long been addressed, and far better supported, with sub-d's.

I've always thought their marketing point about "Hash Patches being more efficient than polygons" has been overstated - especially as computers' graphics capabilities have become so powerful.  IMO, if they ditched the spline/hash patch method of modeling, implemented sub-d's, but kept everything else the same, the program could probably blow up quite a bit, not to mention expand its compatibility, and viability in a pipeline, many times over.

« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 06:15:43 pm by wolfsong73 »
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wolfsong73

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Re: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2016, 06:08:01 pm »

Cheers daniel99.  There's a lot to not like about Carrara, there are some things that are just plain weird, but I guess I'm familiar with it by now so it no longer bothers me too much.  When I do a project purely in Anim8or I am always impressed by the excellent workflow; the ability to create multiple Objects, Figures and Scenes within a single project is just excellent and I really miss this in other packages.  If the render speed of ART could be improved (most of my renders need reflections and other tricky stuff so Scanline is not really an option) I would love to work entirely within Anim8or.

Carrara is one of the programs I tried before coming back to give Anim8or another go.

It's basically a great example, to me, of a program with some great ideas poorly or messily implemented. Their "Rooms" concept is analgous to Anim8or's tabs. Only, in my experience so far, Steven has done a better job of implementing that paradigm here. I ultimately found modeling with Carrara to be frustrating and needlessly complex; too much moving between rooms, trawling through menu drop-downs and properties tabs to find the right option for a basic operation. It's one good example of what I mean when I talk about a tool getting in the way of performing an otherwise simple task.

I do really dig the program overall, though. Might still be a good option for rendering movies down the road, and just keep the modeling here. Or maybe Blender. We'll see when I get there.

Does Steven have long-term goals for expanding on Anim8or's rendering?
« Last Edit: September 14, 2016, 03:23:21 am by wolfsong73 »
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wolfsong73

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Re: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2016, 06:21:09 pm »

The render was done with Carrara which is similar to Anim8or in that it is a comprehensive modelling/animation/rendering package, however it's not free or open source.  Its modeller is kinda terrible to be honest, which is why I still prefer to build in Anim8or, however it has an excellent renderer that is able to make use of multi-threading and network-rendering.  If I engage both my i7 machines that's 16 threads of rendering power, which equals speed.  Since I'm mainly rendering HD1080 at 24 fps, speed is essential to maintain workflow.  While the sample image above could absolutely have been rendered with Anim8or (in fact, ART renders look nicer than Carrara's in my opinion) it would have taken many times longer to render (2-3 minutes per frame in Carrara, possibly 20-30 minutes or more in Anim8or depending on settings).

The bolded bit was exactly my experience with it. Cool program, uncomfortable modeling process.

Great vid! I watched it through while home on lunch :p.
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