Making 3D Animations Using 3D Studio Max

To the uninitiated, computer animations seem very complex. The amount of work it takes to create virtual words, populate them with objects things and people, and to animate them is colossal. While this is true, the ease in which 3D animations are created has increased, thanks to the increasing sophistication of software and processors. While many different skills are needed to become a computer animator, all the training and education cannot replace the work done by good animating software. Autodesk’s offering has for long been hailed as one of the best programs for creating 3D animations for video production or television. 3D studio max is very robust, and one of the best for modeling, animating and rendering.

3D Studio Max

The program has an array of tools that make modeling very easy. It integrates well with renderers to create striking visual scenes and is populated with features to help you through each step of your animation sequence. For the aspiring cartoonist, the software will help you create places, objects, and characters as well as different environments to create a story. You can make the characters as interactive as you want as the only limit is your creativity.

Despite its complexity, 3D studio max is easy to use, but you first have to understand its interfaces, and where all the features are. This should be ideally the first step for someone who is new to the program.

  • The basic interface contains a toolbar where the move, rotate, and scale buttons are.
  • The control panel is on the right side, while the viewports that display the different angles are in the center.
  • There is a toolbar at the bottom that helps control how the views are displayed.

As 3D studio max is so robust, there is no one easy way to create an animation. The basic steps involved include creating a cube, modifying it, customizing and adding different materials, rendering, manipulation, creating the animation and finally adding modifiers and lights.

The software comes with tutorial files which contain different assets that guide on the whole animation process. This is not the only resource available to you, as Autodesk has a series of tutorials that guide on modeling, animation, character animation, materials and mapping, lighting, rendering, and adding visual effects. Each of them is detailed in a step-by-step format to make it easier to understand and follow.

There are other third-party websites that give neat tips and tricks on how to do certain animation sequences            .

With 3Ds Studio Max, you enjoy continued support as Autodesk offers many modeling and rendering tools that you can use for animation, texturing, rendering, and creating different effects.

There is no limit to what you can create with the program. But as previously stated, it depends on how well you understand the software. The learning curve is somewhat easy for someone that has previous experience with similar programs, but for a new animator, it takes practice before all the features are learnt.

Unique Ways to Animate Your Shows

Our fascination with art and motion goes back to when we first learnt how to draw many millennia ago. Now, with an abundance of resources at our disposal, it is easy to create and animate. For the aspiring cartoonist, animation is more than just a means of expression- it is a fulfilling journey that can be very rewarding, both mentally and financially. However, coming up with new ideas, or perfecting old ones presents a challenge. Whether it’s mental block or simply a lack of inspiration, there are some unique ways you can bring more to your animated show.

Refine your skills

It’s easier to generate new ideas when you have the skill set to execute whatever comes to mind. Increase your knowhow by watching other shows, or enrolling for a class. Practice your drawing or sketching skills until you can draw with ease as you will make a lot of sketches. Try to develop your own unique way of drawing your characters.

With animation, the idea is to produce something that comes close to real life. Studying people in real life will clue you in on how they act, respond, and move. This last one is especially important, as understanding the psychology of movement will be very crucial in making your characters believable. Use your own facial expressions to be able to learn the subtle changes that communicate emotion. Remember, emotion starts with the eyes, so focus on that as you create your sequences.


Your show needs to tell a story. This means having a script. Before you develop your characters, you need to have a script. It will be map that guides you throughout the whole creation process. There should be a beginning, a middle where the story unfolds, and a finish. Having the end in sight serves to compress down your narrative so that it doesn’t stretch out longer than it needs to be.

It’s also recommended that you create your dialogue. Unless the show you are creating needs no voiceover work, creating the conversations will prove essential when it comes to timing and emoting.


Animation is a sequential process, so do not try to achieve everything at once.

  • The key things you need to get right, besides the character movements, is the timing. Using a layering format will help you capture all the details in a step-by-step fashion.
  • Keeping your characters balanced is difficult, unless you know how to maintain the right center of gravity. This is where the importance of studying how people act and move in real life is underlined.
  • When creating complex motions, there are three things you need to keep in mind- the build-up, the action, and the reaction. While the animation can be exaggerated a bit, these three steps have to be involved.

Investing in good animation applications and software can make a world of difference as it reduces the amount of work you have to do. Remember to keep practicing, and always get feedback on your creations to know how or when to improve them.