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3D animation software

Learn about 3D animation

What is 3D animation?

3D animation uses computer graphics to make objects look like they’re moving in 3-dimensional space. Artists use 3D modeling software to build the objects. Next comes rigging, a virtual representation of an object or character’s skeleton. Animators pose the rig at strategic points so it appears to move. Newer methods of animation involve motion capture, which records an actor’s live movements for digital animation.

How is 3D animation software used?

VFX Studios: Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones visual effects pros from around the world share how the global phenomenon, with its tight deadlines and high viewer expectations, has challenged internal workflows, the way facilities collaborate, and the visual effects business overall.

See what our customers are doing

ILM: Kong Skull Island

With larger than life creatures comes great responsibility. The animators and filmmakers of Kong: Skull Island discuss the challenges and opportunities of making the blockbuster movie.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

We spoke with the Resident Evil 7: Biohazard development team about how game pipelines are evolving to be more like film pipelines, the transition to physically based rendering, their game engine, and bringing the franchise to VR.

Media & Entertainment Collection

Get Maya + 3ds Max + Arnold + more

The Media & Entertainment Collection provides end-to-end tools for creating entertainment content, from first draft to final frames.

Connect studios, teams, and workflows with Shotgun

Professional production tracking and review

Shotgun combines powerful project management and review tools on a single platform that integrates with top VFX software, like Maya, 3ds Max, Foundry’s Nuke, and SideFX’s Houdini.

Free 3D animation software

Free software for students and educators

We offer free Autodesk software for students and educators. Use the same 3D animation software as top professionals around the world.

Free software for nonprofits

Are you a nonprofit or entrepreneur working to create positive impact through design? See if you qualify for our Technology Impact Program.

What's new in Maya and 3ds Max

Discover the newest features for animating in Maya and 3ds Max.

  • Maya: UV editor workflow, look, and feel

    We’ve overhauled the UV Editor interface and included a new UV Toolkit with better tools and functionality.

  • Maya: Clump modifier for interactive grooming

    Generate realistic clumping effects in hair and fur for more natural-looking hair.

  • 3ds Max: 3ds Max Interactive

    Build immersive architectural visualizations with the combined power of 3ds Max and a virtual reality engine in one place.

  • 3ds Max: Arnold for 3ds Max

    Get the power of the Arnold renderer in 3ds Max with the new MaxtoA plugin.

Beginners: get started in 3D animation

  • 3D animation for games

    Getting into 3D animation for game design has never been easier.

  • 3ds Max basic animation

    Beginner-level tutorial shows how to animate an object in 3ds Max.

  • Maya tutorials on Pluralsight

    Learn 3D animation, rigging, walk cycles, nDynamics, and more.

  • Put your designs into VR

    Learn how to move your design visualizations from 3ds Max into VR, to add more immersion and interactivity.

3D animation software resources

AREA

Autodesk's official CG community. Watch free tutorials and get the latest industry news.

Autodesk University

Watch Autodesk University video lessons on 3D animation from expert 3D artists.