||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (January 2010)|
|Developer(s)||R. Steven Glanville|
|Initial release||July 20, 1999|
|Stable release||0.98 / November 20, 2013|
|Preview release||0.97f / October 2, 2013|
|Development status||Active |
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
|Type||3D Modeling and Animation|
Anim8or is a freeware OpenGL based 3D modeling and animation program by R. Steven Glanville, a software engineer at NVidia. Currently at version 0.98, it is a compact program with several tools which would normally be expected in high-end, paid software. To date, every version released has been under 3 MB, despite the fact that it does not make full use of the windows native interface, carrying some graphical elements of its own. Although few official tutorials have been posted by the author, many other users have posted their own on sites such as YouTube and the anim8or home page. While Anim8or was once comparable to other freeware 3D animation software such as Blender, it has seen less progression in recent years.
On July 20, 1999, a message was posted to the newsgroup comp.graphics.packages.3dstudio, introducing the first version of Anim8or to the public. In its first week, the original version was downloaded almost 100 times. The next version, 0.2, was released on September 6, 1999, containing bug fixes and the ability to save images as JPEG files.
In the past few years, newer versions have been released, introducing features such as undo and redo commands, keyboard shortcuts, an improved renderer and morph targets. With each new version, the popularity of Anim8or has grown. It has been featured in several magazines including 3D User, Freelog, c't and the Lockergnome newsletter.
Anim8or's latest stable version, 0.98, was released to the public on November 20, 2013, although beta versions were available earlier for users wanting to test them and provide feedback. These included versions 0.96a, 0.96b, 0.97a, 0.97b, 0.97c, 0.97d, 0.97e, 0.97f, and 0.97g (Version 0.97g was never released).
Anim8or's mascot is a simple red robin, aptly named as Robin, that most users learn to model and animate in Anim8or's "A Simple Walk Tutorial". Users are often also very familiar with the eggplant, a model first designed by Steven to demonstrate 3D printers at SIGGRAPH. It is likely the first model most Anim8or modellers have ever created, as it is taught in the introductory tutorial to demonstrate the basics of the modeler and the tools available.
Anim8or's interface is separated into four sections, each with its own tool set:
- Object editor - individual objects are stored and edited within the object editor. Objects may be composed of primitives such as spheres, or more complex shapes made by extruding polygons along the z axis and adjusting the vertexes. Materials are then applied, per face if desired. The user also has the option to make morph targets for each object.
- Figure editor - in order to animate more complex models, they can be given a Skeleton. Users can give each "bone" the ability to rotate on all 3 axes within certain limits and attach individual objects to each bone.
- Sequence editor - this is an extension of the figure editor, allowing the use of key frame animation to animate individual bones with a degree of accuracy of 0.1°.
- Scene editor - elements from the three other sections are imported and arranged in the scene editor. The key frames from the sequence editor can be modified, along with other variables, such as a figure's position in 3D space or the state of a morph target.
An image can be rendered in any of the four editors, but only in the scene editor can lights and other graphical elements be used.
The interface is a mixture of window's native interface, for such elements as the right-click context menu, and one specific to Anim8or, such as the graphical icons in the left-hand toolbar.
Although it is not as powerful as high-end commercial programs, it contains many features that are important to a 3D computer graphics package while remaining free. Such features include:
- 3D Modeler with primitives such as spheres, cubes, and cylinders
- Mesh modification and subdivision
- Splines, extrusions, lathing, modifiers, bevelling and warping
- TrueType font support allowing for 2D and 3D text
- The ability to import .3DS, .LWO and .OBJ files for modification
- The ability to export .3DS, .OBJ, .VTX and .C files for use in external programs
- Plug-in support, using the Anim8or Scripting Language, also known as ASL for short
- 3D object browser to allow the user to view 3D files in a specified directory
- Textures in .BMP, .GIF and .JPG formats
- Environment maps, bump maps, transparency, specularity amongst others
- Character editor with joints
- Morph targets
- Renderer supporting fog, infinite, local and spot lights, anti-aliasing, alpha channels and depth channels
- Printing directly from the program
- Volumetric Shadows as well as ray traced hard and soft shadows
- A plain text file format, allowing for the development of external tools such as Terranim8or
A basic feature list can also be found at the Anim8or website, although the list is incomplete.
As far as multimedia standards go, Anim8or has very low system requirements. It is worth noting however, that certain features, particularly shadows, Anti-aliasing and Anim8or's resident ray tracer quickly become burdens on a computer's resources. While originally designed to work with Windows, users have reported running it successfully on Apple computers with Connectix Virtual PC and on Linux with WINE. This may be partially due to Anim8or's stand-alone design. This means that it can be pasted onto a USB memory stick or other removable media and run directly from it on any computer that meets the minimum specification. The minimum requirements are:
- 300 MHz Processor
- Windows 95 or higher
- OpenGL graphics card with full ICD support
- 64 MB of RAM (128 MB recommended, 256 MB with Windows XP)
- 5 MB of hard drive space (the application is less than 3 MB, but the manual and project/texture files can occupy several times this space).
Current preview features
The fourth v0.97 preview is called the v0.97d preview, dated September 21, 2008. The major changes are (bug fixes first):
- #097-019 - ART AA renders are too bright - Fixed.
- #097-021 - Importing Object with Same Name can Crash - Fixed.
- #097-009 - #097-022 - Copying Modifiers without a Bound Shape Crashes - Fixed.
- Misc bugs: ASL constant PI was 3. It's now 3.141...
- Various "..." buttons didn't connect to controllers on the scene editor.
- Other minor fixes, small memory leaks patched, grid not always drawn, etc.
- Still image render size is saved with a project so it doesn't have to be reset each time a project is reloaded
- Click-dragging in the render window will move the image around, allowing one to view all of an image even when it is larger than the window. It works while rendering movies as well but multi-threaded rendering needs to be enabled.
- Scenes and sequences can have attributes.
- ART ray tracer: new RayDepth integer attribute for the max level of rays to trace (for reflections and transparency). The default is 12 when RayDepth isn't defined.
- ART ray tracer: new AmbientOccluder integer attribute. When set to 1 AA renders trace rays to the background for the ambient component:
Not much is known about what features will be modified or included in future versions, although users have posted suggestions on related forums. Inverse kinematics will likely be added, as it was included the latest release, but was disabled because it was not quite ready for use.
According to the Anim8or forums, an admin has in 2011 heard back from the creator and has said that future release is not going to be expected for quite a while.
Suspected planned features are:
Some of these features may not be included in the next release.
- "Anim8or has come a long way since the first release called v0.1. There are still may areas that need improvement, primarily the renderer, but it's getting close to what I had originally imagined as the magic v1.0. I don't plan on stopping there, but it'll be a nice milestone along the way." - R. Steven Glanville
The Anim8or community is hosted on two forums, the official forum on the Anim8or.com website, and user-run forum at http://Anim8orWorld this site boasts an inbuilt Chat/Shoutbox, Media Gallery and modelling Workshop. Anim8orWorld.com incorporates both Animanon and Dotan8 the community Magazine.
There are many fan sites hosted by community members with user-created tutorials, image galleries and programs.
- Glanville, R. Steven (July 20, 1999). "Anim8or: New free animation software available". comp.graphics.packages.3dstudio. Archived by Google Groups.
- Glanville, R. Steven. Thanks for the support. July 27, 1999. URL accessed at 03:02, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
- "Inverse Kinematics". anim8or.com. 2008-03-11. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
- Steve Glanville (2008-01-01). "Inverse Kinematics". anim8or.com. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
- "Future of Anim8or". anim8or.com. 2011-01-31. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
- Glanville, R. Steven. Anim8or.com home page. January 29, 2005. URL accessed at 03:02, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
|Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Anim8or - Basics to Advanced|
- Official Anim8or Site, containing Tutorials, news, a gallery, etc.
- Anim8or User Manual
- Terranim8or: an external tool for developing terrain and special effects
- Original newsgroup message introducing Anim8or. Archived by Google Groups
- Description of Anim8or's file format, .AN8
- User run Anim8or wiki
- User led movie projects, "Anim8or: the Movie"
- Specification of Anim8or Scripting Language
- List of available PlugIns
- Web browser plugin for showing .an8 files on webpages