3D Animation Software

Best 3D Animation Software makes use of computer graphics for animating objects that appear in a three-dimensional space. The 3D animation technology and services aid the animator, modeller, graphics designer, visual effects engineer, and renderer. Going further, we have covered various aspects regarding 3D Animation Software for any user to decide on best 3D Animation Software to use in different applications. We will also learn about the best 3D Animation Software providers, their applications, features and factors to be considered while choosing best 3D Animation Software.

Top 10 3D Animation Software 2021

  1. Maya
  2. LightWave 3D
  3. Cinema 4D Prime
  4. Houdini core
  5. ArcGIS Pro
  6. MotionStudio 3D
  7. IRAY
  8. SketchUp
  9. Form•Z pro
  10.  3DCOAT

Maya is a specialized platform built specifically with one detailed and quite powerful kit for 3D modeling, animation, and rendering. With Viewport 2.0 it provides quicker animation replay that enables artists to study animation right in the viewport and eliminates the need to create Playblasts. The new Butterworth and Key Reducer filters enable designers to thin-tune animation patterns, particularly while using data from motion capture. It also provides an Appraisal Toolkit that aims to evaluate and appreciate the usage of multiple forms of assessment. Read more

LightWave 3D helps companies to outstand the 3D technology. This fully out-of-the-box 3D animation software delivers integrated 3D interactivity in real-time through a bridge to Unreal Engine. It works iteratively on making incredible improvements. Numerous LightWave seats link simultaneously with the same Incredible Editor to enable the artists to work in real-time. This supports artists by getting Shading Template Customization Techniques accessible to them all patched with new nodes. Read More

Cinema 4D offers a broad variety of resources and apps to support its corporate clientele. Cinema 4D comes fitted with upgraded restrictions and internal bevels, skinning Delaunay cap and a new bevel preset collection. The solution creates caps and bevels as a single component, with Shells and Edges collection sets included. It produces a complex broadcast graphics, and is influential in applying 3D effects to current graphics set. Read More

Houdini is a method of practice that allows artists to operate creatively, generate multiple variations and exchange workflows with colleagues easily. This offers a complete solution for rigging characters and monsters and animating them. Houdini's node-based solution integrates seamlessly with a traditional character rigging TD working process. The software helps artists to make in-depth artistic choices when changes created to Houdini nodes are spread across the network to produce a fresh and special outcome. Read More

ArcGIS Pro is an efficient, single-desktop GIS program from ESRI. Technologically ahead of all those on the industry, ArcGIS Pro offers both 2D and 3D data simulation, detailed research, and unbiased system management. ArcGIS Pro is closely connected to the ArcGIS network and supports data sharing through Cloud GIS through ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise. Read More

MotionStudio 3D was built to assist users in designing 3D artifacts, scenes, and animation without having to be a 3D modeling specialist. MotionStudio 3D creates a whole new element to the creation of the film by producing unique names, 3D graphics and spectacular screen effects. This helps designers to build 3D images, names, and animated text, apply realistic image stabilization to moving objects, and render or insert 3D models for embellishment or animation. The software offers fast speed displays, simple design, an EasyPalette with sample objects, animations, and presets. Read More

NVIDIA IRAY is a user-friendly application that creates highly detailed images simulating light and objects' specific aspects. Integrated with its optimization, Iray has a highly intellectual framework which delivers outstanding output on NVIDIA GPUs for regular updates and quick results. This slashes the time required to recreate the sequences and produces corresponding photographic photos. Iray is mainly intended for apparel, development and lighting designers and professional photographers who deal with 3D materials, including consistent photorealistic photography. Read More

Market Overview

3D Animation is the process of animating objects that appear in a three-dimensional space. The best 3D animation software and services aid the animator, modeller, graphics designer, visual effects engineer, and renderer. The process of 3D animation consists of three important stages such as modeling, motion graphics, and rendering, after which the process of adding visual effects (VFX) is completed. These animations are then used in various industries such as media, movies, games, construction, architecture, and healthcare and life sciences.

Growing adoption of visual effects technology in movies and increasing demand for 3D mobile applications and games drive the global 3D animation software market to USD 21.05 billion by 2022 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.9%. The 3D animation software is growing at a significant pace and is instrumental in delivering detailed visual effect and highly graphical data for various industry verticals. The effectiveness and strength of 3D animation lie in the fact that it is a widely useful technology which can be used to produce realistic, fantastic, pragmatic, and innovative imagery.

Industry verticals including healthcare, media and entertainment, architecture, gaming, construction, education and academia, and others are using 3D technology extensively. In healthcare, 3D animation provides viewers a greater sense of perspective and enables users to gain a clear understanding of the key concepts in the forensic case. Moreover, the anatomy of human and other animals can easily be portrayed and studied with the help of animated media such as images and video tutorials. In addition to healthcare, the application of 3D animation is used in the manufacturing industry.

The best 3D animation software helps users to simulate a concept or idea in the form of illustrations, thus making it an excellent tool for communication. If explained by verbal testimony rather than using 3D animation, the concept/idea would remain an abstraction. Thus, 3D animation in manufacturing helps users to create a concept/design of any product/machine that is still in the developmental stage, and examine, analyze, test, or approve the same. This helps manufacturing companies to avoid costly mistakes and gain control over the product or machine from the point of origin. Architects and civil engineers also use the 3D modeling technology in order to conceptualize their building plans/models.

Gaming is another important industry in which the best 3D animation software is widely used. The technology is widely adopted by 3D artists in order to create assets, the most important component used in building games. However, the 3D animation technology used in movies is significantly different from the 3D animation technology used in the gaming industry. This is mainly because of the faster turnaround time required in games, precise body mechanics, and greater use of motion graphics techniques. Enterprises in other industry verticals are also using the 3D animation software for presentations, marketing, education, and training, to illustrate trends in their respective markets.

The best 3D animation software is categorized into five different types, namely, technology, service, region, vertical, and deployment model. The 3D technology market is segmented into modeling, motion graphics, rendering, VFX, and others. The services are categorized into consulting, support & maintenance, integration & development, and education & training. The vertical market segment comprises media & entertainment, construction & architecture, healthcare & life sciences, manufacturing, education & academia, and others.


Top 25 companies offering 3D Animation Software features were analyzed, shortlisted and categorized on a quadrant under Visionary Leaders, Innovators, Dynamic Differentiators, and Emerging Companies to identified best 3D Animation Software providers.


Autodesk, NewTek, and Maxon are leading players in the best 3D animation software market, and are recognized as Visionary Leaders. They have a strong portfolio of 3D animation services, solutions, and associated services. These vendors have been marking their presence in the 3D animation market by offering highly customized and easily deployable software for their commercial clients, coupled with their robust business strategy to achieve continued growth in the market.


Trimble Navigation Ltd., ESRI, Adobe Systems, Corel Corporation, NVIDIA Corporation, and Blender are recognized as Dynamic players in the 3D animation market. They have an innovative portfolio of 3D animation solutions and services and have an extensive network of channel partners and resellers to increase the deployment of their services across various vertical markets. Over the years, the Dynamic vendors have been consistently generating positive revenue growth in the 3D animation software market and their market position is enhanced by organic and inorganic strategies undertaken by them over the period.


The Foundry Visionmongers, SideFx Software, Hash, Pixologic, 3D Coat, and AutoDesSys are recognized as Innovators in the 3D animation software market. They have an innovative portfolio of 3D animation services and strong potential to build strong business strategies for their business growth to be at par with the Vanguards. These vendors have been providing 3D animation offerings as per their customer demands. Innovators have been forefront in deploying their solutions for niche and custom requests by their clients requiring the processing of high-performance workloads.


Cheetah 3D, Reallusion, Magix, Digimania, Electric Image, Corastar, Otoy, Smith Micro Software, pmG Worldwide, and Toon Boom Animation are recognized as Emerging players in the best 3D animation software companies. The emerging players are specialized in offering highly niche and tailor-made solutions and services to their clients. A majority of the emerging vendors have been undertaking multiple acquisitions and boosting their sales capabilities in various regions to offer their integrated services to a wide range of clients.

Major Drivers

Growing adoption of visual effects technology in movies

The entertainment industry is rapidly adopting the VFX, which is commonly known as visual effects, for creating visually enhanced imagery with the help of animation and computer graphics. Animators, game developers, and moviemakers prefer VFX in the scenario where they technically want to depict something that cannot be shot in a live environment and that should be simulated in a virtual world or in animation software. In this scenario, 3D animation software or tools play a vital role to depict the required scene that needs to appear real. VFX is a broad term like animation, which majorly uses camera mapping technique of creating visual effects for getting the desired output. Best 3D animation software plays a crucial role in this scenario, in which still images are taken and processed using various 3D animation tools. In addition, the adoption rate of VFX technique is growing at a faster pace and offering new professional opportunities for the animators and visual effect artists. This majorly provides traction to the use of 3D animation technique in the entertainment industry, thereby driving the overall 3D animation market growth.

Increasing demand for 3D mobile applications and games

Best 3D animation software plays a vital role in mobile games and applications to make the interface more interactive, real, and user friendly. Increasing adoption of smart devices considerably spurs the demand for advance 3D supporting mobile games and application offering superior user experience to commercial users. The best 3D animation software offers real-time behavior and enables viewers to feel the experience and visual effects when they are playing mobile games and applications. It supports full movie video technique which helps to display action in mobile games. Furthermore, it helps in the exploration of virtual worlds by more realistic graphics and representation in mobile games. Gaming platforms such as Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, and Nintendo leverage the 3D animation and motion capture animation technology for producing gaming environments which digitally replicate the users’ movements. The 3D animation makes an application user friendly, depicts the logic of an application, and catches the attention of the user. These are the major factors driving the use of 3D animation technology in developing games and applications.

Increase in the use of 3D mapping technology in navigation and geospatial analysis

3D mapping technology is gaining traction as there is an increase in the production of 3D content and 3D-enabled devices. 3D mapping features assist professionals working within geospatial, geological, geophysical, and mining environments to visualize and map the coordinates, to get desired results. Furthermore, the technology is used for creating geospatial 3D image spaces from multi-view stereo imagery for mapping the coordinates. Best 3D animation software is used for geospatial analysis and geo-visualization for the creation and manipulation of images, 3D views, and mapping the exact coordinates at the required geographic location. This offers an added advantage to use the 3D imaging technique to exactly map the coordinates in the targeted geography efficiently. This feature drives the need for reliable 3D imaging technique using best 3D animation software and modeling approach, thereby promoting the adoption of 3D animation technology in the market.


Threat from Piracy

The animation industry continues to be exposed to corruption and piracy risks. The software installation of companies is targeted and pirated copies are sold in the market. Consequently, the industry suffers huge financial losses. To control piracy, companies have developed surveillance and monitoring programs to inhibit illegal downloading of best 3D animation software. This, in turn, has encouraged users to use legal digital content. In recent years, government norms and regulatory reforms have been implemented to mitigate the piracy threats. However, there is a need to adopt a flexible business plan to develop mitigation strategies and undertake proactive measures by forming anti-piracy cells and spreading awareness.


Emergence of VR and AI technologies

Virtual Reality (VR) technology generates realistic images, sounds, and other perceptions that replicate a real environment or create imaginary scenery. Best 3D animation software using VR can simulate the user's physical presence in the virtual environment. It majorly simulates the realistic and immersive replication of a 3D – a 360-degree virtual environment which offers interactive and real-time simulation or experience controlled by body movements of an individual. VR in coordination with 3D animation software is majorly used in video games, which have an ability to transmit vibrations and other sensations to the user through the game controller. Various 3D animated games are available in the market, which uses the VR technology featuring real-time simulation and superior experience to the users.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and natural language processing with cognitive modeling approach are used by 3D animators to augment and virtualize the animation process for controlling the simulation and user experience in the 3D games. AI offers smart virtual cognitive simulation and automation, which makes the animation process smart, automated, and efficient, thereby boosting the performance of games and user experience. Major technology vendors offer AI-based interactive systems which assist animators or game developers to graphically simulate the task-oriented activities of several human agents, thereby offering a virtual simulated environment to the users. As a result, these emerging smart technologies are adopted by animators and game developers to technologically advance and to offer advance 3D animated games and movies to the commercial users.

Advent of stereoscopic 3D gaming using 3D animation technology

Stereoscopic 3D animation has reached the tipping point of the animation market and setting a new gaming standard in the market. Stereoscopic technology is widely used in 3D gaming to offer depth perception for the gamer by any form of stereo display, thereby offering superior user experience and graphics displays. The state-of-the-art and modern gaming consoles namely Nintendo, Sony PlayStation 4, and Xbox One or 360 are continuously focusing on processing and visualization of better 3D graphics and an enhanced gaming environment using stereoscopic and enhanced 3D animation technology.

The stereoscopic animation is also used in cinematic theatre productions to provide unparalleled 3D depth to scenes of the movies, helping to offer superior viewing experience to commercial customers. The advent of stereoscopic technology has significantly changed the scenario of gaming as well as the movie industry offering stable and reliable business opportunity to enhance 3D games and movies in the market. When playing 3D games and watching movies using VR headsets and 3D glasses, the stereoscopic technology is instrumental in offering thrill and superior user experience to the audience and commercial users. The stereoscopic technology with 3D animation can provide an added advantage to animators and 3D game developers to offer technologically advanced games and movies to the commercial customers in the market.

Emerging 4D and 5D technologies to drive the animation market

After the popularity and stability of best 3D animation software, enhanced and advanced 4D and 5D technologies have emerged in the animation arena. The 4D technology has been instrumental in adding a space and time concept to its dimension. It provides animators with a capability to move an object around its own mirror image. It helps in making the imagined into reality by engaging animations that effectively picturize a story. Furthermore, the 5D technology considered as the plane of light plots illusion over the 4th dimension of the plane. This enhanced animation technology offers an added advantage to animators for animating pictures and videos effectively. As the 3D technology is not featured to describe the new scientific observations, which can be contented by emerging 4D and 5D technologies. Therefore, these emerging animation technologies provide an additional opportunity to both animators who can use these enhanced technologies for creating advanced movies and games; animation vendors can offer advanced animation technologies to their commercial customers and animators.

Growing use of 3D animation technology in medical forensics

Medical forensics department uses the best 3D animation software to precisely visualize crime or accident scenes to the viewers and in the courtrooms. Moreover, it is used in forensic visualization to create 3D models and animations swiftly and automatically. The best 3D animation software in forensics has been instrumental in reproducing the scene and demonstrating the activity at various points in time using animations and 3D images. Forensics departments use the 3D animation software to create a photo-realistic, believable scenario and can reconstruct the crime and accidental incidents in a more clear and real-time graphical scenario using 3D modeling and rendering techniques. Forensic experts, police officers, engineers, and eyewitnesses compile the data and forward it to the 3D animators to generate cartoon-movie-like rendition of events. This helps in visualizing the real-time scenario in order to address the required technology interventions in a legal case. Forensic animation helps to highlight the strengths and weaknesses in an argument and offers clues as to where the focus should be to solve the case. These advance features and advantages of 3D animation offer a comprehensive technological opportunity to both medical forensic and legal departments.


Lack of investment and government support

The lack of capital investment hinders the 3D animation production and its output process. Insufficient fund supply restricts R&D activities, training manpower, and purchasing new technologies. Investment in adopting the latest technologies ensures the work system efficiency and an increase in opportunities for the industry. One major reason for low investor attraction is slow Return on Investment (ROI) in the animation industry. As a result, private investors are reluctant to enter the 3D animation software space. With government support, the 3D animation industry would be able to generate substantial revenues to contribute to a country’s economic growth. Hence, the 3D animation market requires government assistance to meet its infrastructural investment needs and cope with growing competition in the global 3D animation market. Other factors such as strategic alliance, mutual support, and collaboration among SMEs could drive the market.

Low level of proficiency

Gaining proficiency in developing a 3D animation project is a difficult task. It takes a long-term process to gain technical expertise as an animator. A 3D animator is expected to have necessary creative, artistic skills, and experience to develop a 3D animation project. According to Media Education Skill Council (MESC), a large number of animators lack required skills, because various training institutions do not require trainees to have an arts background. This results in a skill gap among animators, due to which the animation companies have to invest more in training their workforce, which, in turn, affects the companies’ profitability.

Similarly, it is essential to bring more investments to improve workforce skills and to meet the animation industry standards. The government authority and industry regulatory bodies have started to take major initiatives, with a consideration to investing time and resources in enhancing the skills of animators. For instance, Animation Council of the Philippines (ACPI) has partnered with Technical Education Skill and Development Authority (TESDA) and other government bodies to launch a training work program for 3D animators, designers, and application creators to enhance their skills.

Intense competition increasing price sensitivity

The best 3D animation software and services are characterized by feature, competition, brand awareness, emerging business models, software technology developments, and price sensitivity for the customers. The companies are providing renewal and upgrade rate offers to attract new customers as price sensitivity has increased the competition in the 3D animation market. The quality 3D animation software features, graphics designing, procedural and polygonal modeling, lighting, rendering, texturing, animating, and other common features, along with support and maintenance services and cost-effective subscriptions.

Benefits of 3D Animation Software

  1. 3D animation has a greater and superior ability to portray movement.  
  2. 3D animation is much more appealing and realistic
  3. It helps to lower the cost of production.
  4. Attracts Online Traffic
  5. Creates Branding
  6. Promotes Interactivity

Technologies used in 3D Animation Software

The adoption of 3D technology across various sectors is witnessing an upsurge as the animation is increasingly becoming the most flexible mode of business communication. Moreover, enterprises are majorly adopting 3D technology and services to optimize the business processes, understand complex processes easily, and enhance the communication strategy of any organization. The 3D animation technology is categorized as 3D modeling, 3D rendering, motion graphics, VFX, and others.

3D Modeling

3D modeling is a process of creating a 3D representation of an object by simply manipulating polygons, vertices, and edges in simulated 3D space. The modeling is achieved by using the specialized 3D production software for creating and deforming the polygon surfaces by simply scanning the objects into a set of data points, used to represent the objects. The advantages of 3D modeling process are increased speed, precision & control, scenario visualization, and reduced lead times.

The 3D modeling process consists of three popular methods to represent the model: polygonal modeling, curve modeling, and digital sculpting. Polygon modeling is an approach to approximate the surfaces using polygons; curve modeling defines the surface by curves, which are influenced by weighted control points; and digital sculpting helps to manipulate digital objects to make it a real-life substance. 3D modeling is used in a wide range of fields, such as entertainment, engineering, film, design, and commercial advertising. 3D modeling software has the largest market size and would continue to evolve and grow in the years to come. The major market dynamics that are driving this market are increase in 3D content, improvement in 3D acquisition devices, and increasing availability of 3D display devices.

Motion Graphics

The motion graphics segment refers to generating three-dimensional moving images in a digital environment. The manipulation of 3D models is carried out with the help of 3D software for exporting pictures and giving them the illusion of movement. Motion graphics consists of varying properties of a three-dimensional scene defined in numerical quantities. A 3D model can change properties, such as position, shape, rotation, and style of the surface.

The process of motion graphics is categorized into three main sections, namely, modeling, layout & animation, and rendering. Modeling describes the procedure of generating 3D objects with respect to a particular scene. Layout and animation describes the process followed for positioning and animating the object. Lastly, rendering helps to figure out the end result of the completed computer graphics. For motion graphics, models are created on computer screens and 3D figures are equipped with an imagery skeleton, whereas in 2D animations, objects and distinct transparent layers are used with or without a virtual skeleton.

3D Rendering

3D rendering consists of producing images based on three-dimensional data kept in a computer program. This process is analogous to photography or cinematography, where images are produced using lighting and staging. The scenes shot are fictional, and everything appearing in a typical 3D rendering job needs to be created on the computer first before being rendered. This allows for enormous creative control over appearance and depiction of the scenes. The three-dimensional data that is portrayed could be a scene that has geometric replicas of various three-dimensional things, buildings, lands, and characters. Before rendering can be performed, the scenes are created using modeling and animating. To perform rendering on an object, we need a photograph of the object from a specific angle. The rendering process represents the three-dimensional scene as a picture, captured from a particular location and predefined viewpoint, then forming an image using 3D model and adding live effects, such as alignment & orientation of the camera, suitable lighting, and appropriate backgrounds to it. The primary use of 3D rendered images is to develop animations to add a supplementary visual appeal to the objects in the animation.

Rendering process makes use of calculations of verticals and polygons, performed by rendering engines, and translate a scene from mathematical representative points to a finalized 2D image. In the process of finalizing this 2D image, the texturing, coloring, and lighting information is determined for each pixel in the final image. Based upon speed and accuracy at which the images are computed, there are mainly two types of rendering process, namely real-time rendering, which is mainly used in gaming and high-definition graphics and makes use of computed 3D information at a very high pace; and offline rendering, where calculations are performed using CPUs instead of specialized graphics tools and the quality of photorealism is better than that of real-time rendering.

Visual Effects

The VFX segment includes the creation of scenes, characters, and objects that is difficult or impossible to be enacted in real life using high-end VFX. It involves integration of actual video footages and artificial imageries to create scenes that look realistic. VFX add more life and appeal to the videos, thereby making the content and message more interesting and rich. VFX are mostly applied post-production but for this it must be shot accordingly during production. VFX are mainly divided into three types, namely, simulation effects, matte painting, and composition. VFX are simulation of physical systems, such as static body dynamics, soft body dynamics, and fluid dynamics to use it in games, films, and animations. Matte painting is the depiction of a suitable environment, landscape, or location, which is not present in the actual filming. It helps get more life to the action footage of the film. Lastly, compositing helps bring together all the visual elements from various sources, such as scenes, 2D images, and graphics into a single film, thereby making it look like a real-life film, image, or animation.

Other technologies

The other technologies considered in the report include texturing, painting, lighting, and shading. Best 3D animation software helps give a realistic feel to the characters and scenes depicted in it with the help of texturing, which includes functions, such as creation of a texture from the base and editing the existing texture to use it again. In this phase, the background is made to depict the real world. Using texturing it is possible to create walls, flooring, scenes, and background images. The intensity of shading can be decided during the texturing phase where textures are first created like maps and then deployed over a particular scene or model. Characters in 3D animation are made with the help of rigging, where the rig is a digital skeleton bound to the 3D net. Just like a real skeleton, a rig comprises of joints and bones, each of which acts as a holder that animators can use to move the character into a particular position. A rig may range from a simple to a sophisticated and complex character. A fully articulated rig for a film might take days or weeks before it is ready for a high-level animation. By using lighting, the characters and scenes in the animation are given a realistic effect. The image or scene comprises different components of it and collaboration of all such components that goes into the making of an animation video is known as compositing.

Services Offered by best 3D animation software

3D animation provides a completely different stimulation for the senses that maximizes the visual impact. Services are evolving as an important aspect as vendors are offering integrated service packages along with their products to its client. The providers are coming up with innovative smart offerings in the 3D animation market. The services segment of 3D animation is broadly categorized into consulting, support & maintenance, integration & deployment, and education & training. These services leverage the 3D animation market by assisting companies to execute the work faster, develop & enhance the business process, and develop the content efficiently.


3D animation software companies also require consulting services, such as remote training, transition assistance in setting deadlines & managing workflow, and post-production assistance for completing their projects. Consulting services are provided by specialized animation companies in the spheres of 3D rendering, 3D modeling, and 3D design & architectural visualization for architects, designers, and engineers. The consulting services segment assists companies to create the highest quality 3D animation work possible within deadlines and budget. Moreover, it assists in executing the entire project at a faster rate. The consulting services segment advises professionals in the building, infrastructure, manufacturing, and media and entertainment verticals to stay ahead of the game within the ever-shifting business climate.

In the space of 3D animation, consulting services are specialized in specific industries, such as building information modeling, collaboration & data management, and visualization. Building information modeling helps to plan out more effectively for better results, accelerates implementation while minimizing risk, and empowers the team to leverage new solutions. Collaboration and data management enhances the design quality with common workflows and standards, increases the design efficiency by enabling design asset reuse, enhances the business process to drive global repeatability, and facilitates the design anywhere & build anywhere process. Lastly, in the space of visualization, it reduces the cost of physical assets & design processes, continuous connectivity, and cloud services & on-premises solutions.

Support and Maintenance

The support and maintenance services segment helps in backing the animations created earlier with the latest updates and is useful for making necessary changes in the animations, movies, and scenes on a periodic basis. The type of support services differs in each company while majority of the vendors providing 3D animation services also provides support and maintenance services for its commercial clients. The major best 3D animation software vendors have a knowledge base consisting of documents, troubleshooting articles, and technician support. In terms of 3D animation films, it becomes very crucial to have the flexibility of changing or updating a specific portion or scene from the entire film for which support services play an important role. Vendors also provide troubleshooting of the issues raised by clients remotely or by actually visiting the client’s site. Sometimes, the shortcomings in the animation software are also handled using the update patches for the software in accordance with the requirement of the commercial client.

Integration and Deployment

The companies create 3D animated content for various verticals, such as media & entertainment, architecture & engineering, and defense & intelligence. The software used for the creation of this content, such as 3D rendering, 3D modeling, and character rigging for 3D animated movies requires development services for running smoothly on different operating systems, including Windows and Unix. Companies integrate modeling and animation services with services, such as instructional designing, creative branding, and other strategical services to provide architectural, engineering, and artistic solutions incorporating 3D animation. Further, they help in developing realistic 3D content efficiently and converting ideas into 3D designs & models.

Education and Training

3D animation software is being extensively used across various industries, on account of which there is a vast scope for education and training services. 3D animation needs to be made in accordance with its expected results for which the training must be imparted to those partaking the creation of animations, films, or images. There are many training institutes for 3D animation where training of modeling, rendering, and other VFX is imparted. These institutes provide certification to users who are competent in their knowledge, talent, and creativity &skill-set. Thus, a trained workforce helps businesses keep up with the latest trends and technologies in the arena of 3D animation. Enterprises often face problems with the animation software on account of lack of knowledge about it, hence vendors of the animation software help with the required training to the related staff of the client and help them understand the software in and out. Training is imparted either at the client’s location or through webinars and video conferences.

Important features to be considered for best 3D Animation Software

  1. Digital Painting: Digital Painting means adding colors to images created by 3D digital computer animation.
  2. Motion Graphics: Motion graphics are pieces of animation or digital footage that creates the illusion of motion of objects along with the audio.
  3. Rigging: Rigging is used in skeletal animation for representing a 3D character model using a series of interconnected digital bones.
  4. 3D Sculpting: 3D sculpting is the use of software that offers tools to push, pull, smooth, grab, pinch or otherwise manipulate a digital object as if it were made of a real-life substance such as clay.
  5. Shading: Shadingrefers to the depiction of depth perception in 3D models or illustrations by varying the level of darkness.
  6. Texturing: Texturing is the process of applying an image to a 3D

How to choose the best 3D Animation Software?

3D Animation Software- What to look for

  1. Modeling Features: The three most common modeling styles are polygon, subdivision, and NURBS. Polygon uses 2 dimension systems, which consist of vertices connection. Subdivision uses 3D shapes which result in smooth surfaces. NURBS involves a curve-based modeling technique that helps to create smooth and organic surfaces.
  2. Animation Features: More animation layers are required to implement for making a character to look more alive. The software that supports editable motion features will simplify your production process and help you customize the character. It can also add audio effects.
  3. Intuitive User Interface: If the interface is handy then it will save a lot of time and effort. Customizable User Interface will be an added advantage; it will help to increase productivity.
  4. Extensibility: While looking for a tool to learn, choose the one that has a feature to add plugins or extensions as needed. This will help the user to create the package as needed.

Industries where 3D animation software is used

Organizations across all verticals have been using 3D animation technology that enables them to use 3D modeling, rendering, texturing, creating VFX, and advertisement clips. The 3D animation market is divided into various verticals, such as media & entertainment, construction & architecture, education & academia, healthcare & life sciences, manufacturing, and others (defense & intelligence, fashion, and interior design). The media and entertainment vertical is witnessing the rapid adoption of 3D animation technology.

Media and Entertainment

A whole variety of 3D animation and 3D VFX software is used for creating 3D animated content, which is displayed in 3D animated movies, advertisement & marketing commercials, and other entertainment-related visuals, such as television shows, home entertainment, and mobile entertainment. 3D animation is also used in developing 3D content for games. The media and entertainment vertical is evolving based primarily on the development of renderings that are ever-more photorealistic. For the 3D animation computer graphics that are devoted to digital entertainment creation, the key to technological and creative innovation is in relation to the context of the animation. It enhances the variety of acquisition formats needed to be converted before they could be used for editing, color grading, VFX, and made possible to work with proprietary & closed systems that was impractical before. Moreover, the media and entertainment vertical has been facilitated by workflow integration with third-party systems, which was restrictive, time-consuming, and clumsy. 3D animation flourished the industry by giving a feature of exporting the finished edit for multiple delivery formats, such as broadcast, web, and mobile devices, which was tedious & render-intensive.

Construction and Architecture

3D animation helps computer-generated buildings to be created along with landscapes. CAD and 3D modeling techniques are time saving and help get a succinct view of the project, landscape, or construction site. The final output to be constructed can be seen in terms of its length, breadth, and height using the three-dimensional technology, and with realistic 3D virtualization, simulations with extensive details of the building can be observed to measure its feasibility. A typical 3D architectural model comprises images and documents that help an architect concoct about its requirements in terms of materials, thereby estimating an approximate cost of the building. 3D visualization also helps to find potential flaws and loopholes in the building well in advance before its construction, thereby helping save funds, time, and most importantly human lives. 3D animation is useful for marketing also, as the 3D models of the buildings are very appealing to the potential buyers. Moreover, the 3D building animations are helpful in getting government permissions for the project, thereby helping follow regulatory norms and avoid any changes post-construction. 3D animation helps buyers to check different color combinations for the walls and flooring tiles; also, positions for doors, windows, and galleries can be understood.

Education and Academia

3D models and environments are being used for education and training in a staggering amount of areas, such as architecture, medical training, aerospace, engineering, product marketing, historical recreations, archaeology, biotechnology, vehicle operation, and real estate. The use of 3D technology has advanced along with improvements in computer and processing power. The animated visuals are significantly more expressive than 2D diagrams and textual materials, and hence they provide a deeper and simplified insight about an educational concept. 3D animation-based learning processes prove far more beneficial for students, as 2D display of information does not provide a sense of visualization because of which students find certain concepts hard to perceive. Moreover, there are large numbers of 3D animation schools and institutions that provide certified VFX and 3D animation workshops & training programs for students to learn the high-end 3D animation software engines, such as 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya, and pursue 3D animation as a full-fledged career.


The manufacturing vertical works on a complex 3D design that is needed at the workstation, so 3D animated technology simplifies complexities associated with the operations and the vendors deliver hardware-enhanced 3D animated graphics to perform mechanical operations. The 3D animation technology is used by a broad set of manufacturing verticals, such as consumer goods manufacturing, automotive, metal, and plastic manufacturing. These technologies in the manufacturing vertical are driven by modeling tools. Earlier, most of the manufacturers relied upon 2D drawing; however, the 3D modeling trend expanded from aeronautical business to automotive and medical machineries. 3D modeling tools have become the mean to communicate manufacturing information and product specification. Similarly, 3D simulation provides a cost-effective and risk-free way for testing process and to re-design the existing production line. It can accurately make objective analysis to reduce the risk of poor decision-making. 3D simulations simplify the understanding of production systems, equipment, and processes implemented in the manufacturing and engineering departments by using software, such as AutoCAD.

Healthcare and Life Sciences

In the field of healthcare and life sciences, there is a continuous need for complicated explanation for various medical functions. In medical science, it is very difficult to explain the functionalities of the human body; with the use of 3D animation, it becomes very easy to convey the complex information in a very simple way. The human body frequently changes from within and hence the need for simple communication becomes crucial. Be it the most obvious or the things that cannot be seen with the naked eyes, 3D animation facilitates a wide array of approaches to explain the medical procedures and mechanisms. The 3D animations depict the natural progression of science and medical replica from simple graphics to animation videos to fully rendered, computer-enabled 3D medical animations.

Unlike two-dimensional photographs or descriptions, 3D animations make it simple to understand various bodily functions, especially those with microscopic pharmaceutical actions. For this, high-definition scripts, animations, and pictures are used along with authentic medical references. This also helps researchers in the medical domain to put forth their ideas by enabling viewers to understand their research finding with minute details of reactions of the medicine over a human body. 3D medical animations also serve as a powerful marketing tool by logically showing the clients various benefits and actions of a particular medicine. 3D forensic animation is gaining importance due to its ability to depict a particular event, accident, or any action in a video-simulated format, thereby making it easy to judge, study, or understand it. With the help of eyewitnesses, police officers, and forensic experts in collaboration with animators make a simulation of the event in 2D or 3D animation.

Best 3D Animation Software

Comparing 37 vendors in 3D Animation Software across 145 criteria.
All vendors(30)
Autodesk Maya is a professional software developed precisely for 3D modeling, animation and rendering in one comprehensive and very influential package. It offer quicker animation playback in Viewport 2.0 that allows artists to review animation right in the viewport and reduces the need to produce Playblasts. The latest Butterworth and Key Reducer filters allows artists to fine tune animation curves, particularly when making use of motion capture data. It also offers an Evaluation Toolkit that helps in analyzing and understanding the usage of parallel evaluation modes.
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It simplifies the process of taking control for the beginners. The software offers various tutorials and a highly-skilled community which plays a significant role in upskilling the beginners. Cinema 4D Studio helps artists in the creation of advanced 3D graphics ensuring the creation of best quality grahpics instantly and effortlessly. It offers an excellent platform to create dynamic broadcast graphics quickly in no time. One of the most important features is its procedural workflow along with parametric modeling, shades, and textures. This software has four different senses namely, studio, broadcast, visualize, and prime.
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LightWave 3D has been used in film, television, motion graphics, digital matte painting, visual effects, video games development, product design, architectural visualizations, virtual production, music videos, pre-visualizations, and advertising. The platform offers a Noise Filter option that uses the NVIDIA OptiX™ library for AI-accelerated noise elimination when rendering still images. It also offers Online Documentation, that fits on any device that the users intend to use. The solution's OpenVDB Content Creation tool kit enables live Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) operations.
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Esri ArcGIS Pro is an influential, single desktop GIS application. ArcGIS Pro supports data visualization, advanced analysis and authoritative data maintenance in both 2D and 3D. ArcGIS Pro is firmly joined with the ArcGIS platform that supports data sharing across ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise through Web GIS.

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Houdini Core provides a unique 3D animation experience to the artists involved in creating feature films, commercials or video games. Houdini’s node-based approach provides the ability to eclose node networks into custom nodes that are shareable. Houdini’s procedural node-based workflow allows users to develop multiple shots under close deadlines while achieving the best quality. Houdini FX provides a powerful and accessible 3D experience with the help of its procedural node-based workflow, by delivering tools for simulating fluids, destruction fx, pyro fx, grains, cloth and crowds.
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Corel MotionStudio 3D is a comprehensive 3D title, animation, and motion graphics package that simplifies the process of creating exciting 3D visual effects for use in their video productions. The products lets artists use high-end particle effects, including fire, smoke, bubbles and more and allows them to watch their production theough the Preview Panel. One of the most important feature is that, MotionStudio 3D makes it easy for the users to usetheir 3D titles and graphics in other video or web productions and export their projects in a variety of formats compatible with VideoStudio® Pro X4.
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NVIDIA IRAY is a user friendly technology that generates photorealistic imagery by that simulates the physical behaviour of light and materials. NVIDIA Iray has highly analytical approach, combined with its scalability, delivers outstanding performance on NVIDIA GPUs for constant feedback and rapid results. This slash the time needed to perfect scenes and delivers images matching photographs. NVIDIA Iray is primarily for product, building and lighting designers, and digital photographers who work with 3D content, requiring predictable photorealistic imagery. IRAY Pricing plans are affordable and the vendor also offers various tutorials that can be used by the users to understand the product in detail.

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Form•Z pro is a 3D design application containing a variety of modeling personalities and tools with an easy to use interface to express and communicate imagination. It is based on advanced 3D solid and surface modeling methods that maintain accurate representations as progress from design to visualization, layout, animation and fabrication.

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Adobe Systems provides a range of 3D animation products and services for creative professionals and application developers to develop and manage creative content across several operating systems and media. Adobe acquired Mixamo, a leader in creating high-quality 3D characters. This acquisition helped Adobe produce greater output options (in both still and motion) as well as gain flexibility in making changes with respect to lighting, materials, environment, and perspective.

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1. Powerful and Intuitive 3D Modeling Software: Trimbles SketchUp software is a powerful and intuitive 3D modeling program designed for both beginner and professional 3D animators. It offers a wide range of modeling tools that can handle any modeling task. Furthermore, its easy-to-use interface makes it a great starting point for any type of animation project. 2. Real-Time Rendering: Trimbles SketchUp software offers high-quality real-time rendering capabilities. This means that users can immediately see their models in motion, helping them to quickly develop their animations. 3. Cross Platform Compatibility: Trimbles SketchUp software is available on various platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. This means that users can work on their projects anywhere they are. 4. Free Model Library: Trimble provides a large library of free 3D models which users can take advantage of to create their animations. This library includes multiple building types, furniture, vehicles, and more.
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3DC-printing (short from 3D Coat for 3d printing) simplify the process of development models for 3d printing. 3D Coat has Voxel sculpting technology allows to do anything that is possible in real world without worrying too much about technical aspects. 3D Coat is easy and intuitive and can quickly start video series. 3D Coat offers short and easy instructive videos to help start creating assets asap. 3D Coat customizes the print area and sets the size of 3d printer to not exceed its dimentions. 3D Coat has dedicated export wizard which prevent all possible issues with fused deposition 3d printer type.

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The Foundry offers an end-to-end technology portfolio for 3D content designing, node-based compositor, and web-based visual developing tool set such as Nuke, Modo, Mari, Katana, Hiero, Flix, Ocula, and CaraVR. The Foundry operates in various industries such as design, games, film & TV, virtual reality, automotive, apparel, and education. The Foundry’s expertise is in developing new product lines and delivering innovative software solutions to the market. The company focuses on improving customer experience, meeting customers’ needs, and provide satisfactions.

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Smith Micro has a comprehensive portfolio of 2D/3D graphics and visual messaging products for creating and sharing rich content. It leverages the power of interactive 3D figure design in order to portray human diversity, form, and expression.  Poser Pro 11 by Smith Micro is a proven solution for creating animation and art with 3D characters. It renders photorealistic images and videos for print, web, and film projects. Through Poser Pro 11, users can easily design and animate 3D human figures. Creation can range from cartoon images to photorealistic content.

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Blender supports various features of 3D pipeline such as simulation, rigging, modeling, compositing and motion tracking, simulation, rendering, along with video editing and game creation. Advanced users can use Blender’s API for Python scripting to modify the application and write specialized tools; often these are included in Blender’s future releases. Blender is suitable for individuals and small studios who benefit from its integrated pipeline and open development process.

Blender is cross-platform it can be used on Linux, Windows, and Macintosh computers without any problem. Its user interface has OpenGL to provide a consistent experience. The list of supported platforms indicates those regularly tested by the development team to confirm specific compatibility.

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Pixologic provides a set of 3D animation products and services to creative professionals. The company offers products for varied industries such as movies & VFX, automotive, designing, 3D printing, illustration advertising, and education. Products offered by the company have been used in the production of movies such as Jurassic World and Godzilla.The company’s strategic intent is evident from the multiple channels it used to sell its products. For instance, the company delivers its products via channel partners, e-commerce portals, and resellers. CDDS Solutions is a direct reseller and partner of the products offered by Pixologic. Additionally, the company has an online store to sell its flagship product, ZBrush, the selling of which strengthens its distribution channel as well as provides the company with a competitive edge over others.
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Reallusion Inc. is a provider of 2D and 3D animation software as well as a developer of content. It specializes in the creation of virtual production, real-time cinematic animation, and motion capture solutions that expand the capabilities of professional 3D animation technologies. Reallusion provides clients with facial and body mocap, pro character animation, and voice lipsync solutions with applications in real-time filmmaking and previsualization & production. Reallusion's solutions help several prominent educators, trainers, filmmakers, and game developers in their daily work

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OTOY Inc. is a cloud graphics company, which provides innovative technologies for content creation. OTOY’s Academy Award®-winning technology is used by major visual effects studios, animators, artists, designers, architects, and engineers, providing extraordinary creative freedom, new levels of practicality, and new economics in content creation and delivery powered by the cloud.

OctaneRender® is a fast, unbiased, spectrally correct GPU render engine, delivering quality and speed unrivaled by any production renderer on the market.

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Electric Image Animation System (EIAS) is a renowned 3D animation company that provides swift, easy solutions for animation. Its services allow users to render 3D scenes quickly without compromising on quality. Electric Image Animation System has the capability to network render to several computers across platforms for free. Professional studios across the world use EIAS for the creation of high-quality animation. It is capable of all types of animation, from architectural fly-throughs to complicated VFX shots.

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Hash Animation Master is a comprehensive and intuitive 3D animation software package. It makes 3D animation easy for everyone, from new joiners to animation experts. Hash Animation leverages its several years of experience in animation and software development to create a solution that is unparalleled in ease of use.

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Corastar is one of the leading providers of 3D software for design professionals using Adobe products. It is a creator of Strata Design 3D CX, expert-level 3-dimensional modeling and animation software that delivers enhanced potential for the entire 3D design workflow. It is utilized to create illustrations, graphical designs, and animations with realistic results. Apart from being the expert-level 3D design with a user-friendly interface, it also gives the power to create everything that you imagine such as designing packaging products, exhibits, architecture and much more.

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MAGIX 3D Maker 7 converts the scripts and figures into superior quality 3D graphics and animations. A number of designs and templates in different styles, plus in-built real-time editing and easy-to-understand tools will help you to rapidly produce professional results. It enters text directly and pick from a range of fonts including those already on computer. It also provides the option of custom format just like conventional word processing programs. It make more effects and animations where user can choose from over 700 templates, more than 400 textures and 33 different edge styles.

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Cheetah3D provides a powerful and easy tool to learn 3D modeling, rendering and animation software which was developed especially for Mac. It can create 3D artwork for iPhone game and also make first animated character. The user can create full set of polygon, subdivision surface and spline modeling tools. Cheetah3D makes modeling in 3D a breeze for new and experienced users alike.
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Muvizu is a simple and easy to use 3D application that make animations, characters and sets and carry the whole performance to life with awesome character animation system.

Muvizu is an interactive 3D animation software package which includes everything that need to outline an animated story and share it. It can easily drag and drop customizable characters and sets, animation libraries and automatic lip-synching which makes it easy to create compelling animations in minutes.

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The Messiah suite of animation tools comprises simple scripts that help characters interact with objects, make favoring breakdowns, and create smooth non-overshooting curves and re-time animation. It enables sub-surface scattering as speed and controllability of Messiah's translucency shading is perfect for creating characters.

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Storyboard Pro 6 has innovative and improved drawing tools that gives a natural feel. It provides an enviable level of control and are combined with everything which is needed for storyboarding and animatics creation. Storyboard software combines drawing and animation tools with camera controls. Storyboard Pro 6  video tracks, movie import and superior textured vector brushes are just a few of the new features that let you do more in Storyboard Pro 6. Take creative control and make the right storyboard and animatic for every project that comes your way.

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AnimationXpress.com is an Indian provider of solutions for animation, gaming, VFX, and comics. It has partnered with companies across the globe and is currently undertaking a transformation of its engines and features. The company specializes in technologies such as VR, AR, and MR (mixed reality).

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HOLOFIL 3D Animation model allows users to upload 3D model such as obj / fbx and more formats from the local storage and enable to do actions such as rotate, move, zoom to discover them further. It can also control the lighting of the model and decide the background color to customize it further.

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Intervoke combines VR training applications for the healthcare & life sciences industry. It provides a comprehensive digital education studio with a focus on custom interactive app development, immersive educational games, and engaging 3D animation. Intervoke is a developer of interactive 3D content for software applications and practical medical programs. The company also specializes in optimized content delivery and making use of 3D presentations to interpret medical device information. The high resolution and photorealistic 3D models created by Intervoke work on multiple platforms while maintaining high visual quality. Some of Intervoke’s other features include high-quality UI, 3D models, graphics, animations, LMS Integration, and game mechanics rendered for virtual reality.

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KeyEffx is a 3D animation, visual effects, and motion graphics studio that uses motion capture (MOCAP) equipment to boost the speed as well as the quality of character animation. KeyEffx makes use of innovative processes in order to animate humans and humanoids with precise, real-time movements. Using this solution, professionals can review their work immediately and make changes as necessary.

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Luxion majors in the area of actual ray-tracing of 3D scenes to produce the most available renderings. It endures being innovative in lightning technology through the improved lightning algorithms to an accurate physical representation of materials. Luxion is an expert in fields related to technology rendering, daylighting, scattering of lights by materials, photo mapping, and spectral simulations. Given the fact that it is one of the leading developers of lightning and 3D rendering technology – Luxion also provides consulting and improve patented applications for customers who require software that is capable of accurately calculating the scattering of light in complex 3D environments. It is integrated with two products, namely KeyShot and Velux Daylight Visualizer.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The 3D animation market is expected to grow from USD 12,010.0 million in 2017 to USD 21,050.0 million by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.9%.
The most obvious difference between the two genres of animation is the three dimensional characteristics or the appearance of depth. 2D animation is created by drawing almost every frame of the animated movie and is the base of 3D animation. 3D animation is created by changing the poses and the placement of already created 3D models. It has more depth and is more realistic, it is a series of images/ objects created using computers or any other digital media.
Growing adoption of visual effects technology in movies. Entertainment industry is rapidly adopting the VFX, which is commonly known as visual effects, for creating visually enhanced imagery with the help of animation and computer graphics. Animators, game developers, and moviemakers prefer VFX in the scenario where they technically want to depict something that cannot be shot in a live environment and that should be simulated in a virtual world or in animation software. In this scenario, 3D animation software or tools play a vital role to depict the required scene that needs to appear real. VFX is a broad term like animation, which majorly uses camera mapping technique of creating visual effects for getting the desired output. A 3D animation software plays a crucial role in this scenario, in which still images are taken and processed using various 3D animation tools. In addition, the adoption rate of VFX technique is growing at a faster pace and offering the new professional opportunities for the animators and visual effect artists. This majorly provides the traction to the use of 3D animation technique in the entertainment industry, thereby driving the overall 3D animation market growth.
In the service segment, the education and training services segment is expected to grow at the highest CAGR in the 3D animation market. There are a number of educational institutions and software training centers worldwide offering full-time training courses, certifications, and seasonal camps for artists, gamers, and animators. This is because there is a huge demand for professional 3D animators, modelers, graphic designers, and gaming developers.
On the basis of regions, the global 3D Animation market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific (APAC), Middle East and Africa (MEA), and Latin America. North America holds the largest market share and APAC is growing at the highest CAGR in the 3D animation market, however MEA and Latin America are still in the initial phase of growth stage. Lack of government initiatives and poor finance are some of the major factors, which are restraining the growth of 3D animation in these regions.
The major vendors in 3D Animation market are Adobe Systems (U.S.), Autodesk (U.S.), AutoDesSys (U.S.), Corel Corporation (Canada), Maxon Computer (Germany), NewTek, Inc. (U.S.), NVIDIA Corporation (U.S.), Pixologic, Inc. (U.S.), SideFX (Canada), and Toon Boom Animation, Inc. (Canada).