I need some help!
My initial intent was to learn how to make some animations for my grand kids that would tell some of my stories like the one about a bluebird and a fox, some kids that find lost pirate treasure, or even the more ambitious story entitled “The Mouse House Caper”! Perhaps I am naive but for certain I was uneducated about “computer based animation”. Nonetheless, I ventured out into the online world to find out what I didn’t know but needed to know about “animation”. So far, it has been a wonderful and exciting journey. At 69 years old I have finally discovered what I want to do when I grow up! However I still feel a bit lost and unsure how to move forward. That is what I would like to know – what is a viable pathway to travel down the road to 3D animation competence! To that end I’d like to ask for your advice and experience hoping that will help me map out my “animation travel plans”!
Perhaps a broad, but brief review, of where I have been so far may be helpful to considering a recommendation of where I should go next. I’ll also list a few constraints that impact my 3d animation travel plans. Hence, here are some points for context:
I cannot afford expensive software platforms. That includes software such as any Adobe products (or any “subscription” type products for that matter), AutoDesk Maya, or anything that cost more than $1000.
I will work on a laptop. My current plan is an HP Omen Laptop, (16.1” screen, I-7 Intel CPU, NVIDIA RTX 3060 GPU, 32 GB ram, 1 TB SSD).
I am not inclined to pay for basic tutorials as they seem to be a “pig in a poke” situation. That said, however, I have kissed many, many YouTube “frogs” looking for the rare tutorial “prince”! It has been exceedingly tiresome and seemingly never ending search sometimes!
I have studied the history of animation including the twelve principles, etc.
I researched, done the tutorials, and worked on trial versions from a variety of different animation software platforms including the following:
A. Reallusion Cartoon Animator (2D animation)
B. Reallusion Character Creator 3 (3D Characters)
C. Reallusion Iclone 7
D. DAZ3D Studio
E. Epic Games Unreal Engine
I am currently “hip deep” in learning Unreal Engine and find it very powerful but I also find it ….
A. Exceedingly complicated but viable
B. Very, very game construction oriented,
C. An unintuitive GUI arrangement – unobvious to me on how to insert a character into a scene!
D. The tutorials are a strange mix of both very good and very bad teaching presentations,
E. Epic Games has some excellent animator development initiatives such as metahumans (genuinely exquisite photo realistic characters), a 30 day “fellowship”, and a recent symposium for telling stories with unreal engine to name a few)!
At this stage of my 3d animation journey my simple mind finds that “computer based animation” has the following major production components!
- Character construction and development (modeling, rigging, texturizing)
- Environment and/or scene construction
- Integration of characters into an environment (movements, expressions, props, dialogue, sounds)
- Final touches
My simple mind also believes that the proverbial “pipeline” notion in 3D animation means that there is no one software that can handle all 6 components of the process. The trouble I have is that I do not know which software will easily fit together to make a strong “flow” of 3D product or even more importantly which software is best suited for which 3D production components.
Today I am frustrated, disheartened, and rudderless about what compass heading I should be sailing to get back on my 3D Animation proficiency journey. Any advice that may get me back on course?