All throughout my childhood I really enjoyed watching animated films and I guess it hasn’t really stopped. It started with Toy Story, then it was Finding Nemo and even now, as a fully grown adult, Avatar. There’s something about animated films that I loved in comparison to live action films. It might be the fact that we are able to create our own parallel universe and script our own events the way we want it. There was a time, perhaps during my high school years, that I dreamt of creating my own world.
I started out with the idea of making a city. So I searched everywhere on the internet for software that will allow me to do just that. Maya and 3DS Max were the top two results from my online research. So I tried the trial versions. I was initially confused when I started and became even more confused when the trial expired. So I looked for free alternatives. I tried Blender (version 2.4x at the time). The interface was clunky and when I tried to do simple things like select an object, it never really turned out what I expected. It only gave me so much headache and frustration that I vowed to never use that software again. So instead, I continued looking for free alternatives that were easy-to-use. I found a software called Anim8or. At the time of writing, the website for it still exists (anim8or.com) however, it appears that development for it has since been discontinued. I found Anim8or to be extremely easy to do things and the interface was nice and simple enough. After following a few easy tutorials, I set out to make my city.
The result? Not so spectacular! Really just a bunch of cubes and cylinders organised to look something like a city. In fact, it took me weeks to figure out how to do this. After this, I set out to make a short film project. It failed as quickly as it started. I struggled to make characters and when I finally did make a character (a very poor one at that), I struggled to rig the character for animation. Anim8or was not particularly robust with character animation, but what would I know. But I feel the main reason why the project failed was due to a lot of overconfidence and a lack of patience. I had an idea of a story in my head and decided I would make the story up as I animate. I had no script, no storyboard, no character planning, nothing. The hype I created over my own film died without a single shot being animated.
I then played around with other free 3D software. I looked at tools that would do good character animation. I found Daz Studio. I couldn’t properly animate a character without it freezing a lot. That may in part be due to a pretty old and weak PC.
I then worked on creating better virtual environments. I found Bryce. It was pretty neat in that it created natural environments well and also quickly but was limited when it came to interior scenes and did not handle character animation at all. Feeling frustrated, I quit! For a few years at least…