It’s not often I get to review software and its upgrade back to back (“Bill, It’s not often that you review software period!” – yeah, yeah, yeah…) but I have to say that I don’t mind it when the product is good and comes in at a good price.
“Talking about Animation Master again, Bill?”
“So, why the big hoopla?”
Well, before I get into that, let me get into the dry statistics:
Hash Animation Master 2000
1 CD with the program, tutorial files, and models
Animation Master Handbook
Animation Master Training Videos
3 Videos, 1 1/2 – 2 hours in length each
Both are available at http://www.hash.com
“Two reviews for the price of one? Intriguing.”
Well, yes. Because I have already written on this program’s previous version, and what I said before still stands. This is a SPLINE-based modeler, that is, the models are built by making splines like one would in Illustrator or Freehand and woven together at the splines’ various control points to create a 3D model. This means that it performs well on older, slower machines and extremely well on the newer ones because it is less memory intensive than the more traditional 3D modeling programs.
Most importantly, this is first and foremost a character modeler/animation package for artists, though that is not to say that it does not do a good job with mechanicals (which it does).
It still does a great job in helping make complex texture maps easy to make by allowing you to “flatten” the model for exporting to Photoshop or some other paint program to create a more accurate texture map.
I could go on and on repeating myself, but beyond that, they have added some wonderful new features like an tutorial on an advanced Inverse Kinematic/Kinematic setup based on the work done by Raf Anzovin http://www.anzovin.com which helps in making more natural 3D character movements in animation.
Also, there has been an addition to the program called “Soft Body Dynamics” (I’m really itching to delve really deep into this one!). What this does (I already knew you were gonna ask) is free up your time by getting the computer to create secondary motion (example: walking would be a primary motion; a secondary motion would be hair swinging or a belly bouncing, or loose clothing moving) without the user having to move the various minor parts every few frames of animation to get it to do what you want.
The downside to the program is that it does take some getting used to and can be a bit buggy at times, but help is on the way (read on)!
Once again I gotta give it a 9.5 on the Very Cool-O-Meter, and one of the best bangs for your buck!
Animation Master Training Videos
As I mentioned in my last Animation Master article, I had some difficulties understanding how this modeler worked… until the training videos.
The best way to describe this is like receiving the Rosetta Stone. Watching some of the best Animation Master users strut their stuff and explain how they do what they do was inspiring and enlightening! Just incredible! It was the old “a picture is worth a thousand words” statement and I can guarantee you it will save you a lot of grief in the long run. So if you do decide to order Animation Master (you can’t go wrong for the price), I highly recommend getting the videos, too.
One bone of contention that I did have, is that Hash would do well to re-edit the videos to follow the order of the book (first tape flows nicely, the second gets a little screwy…) so that it could even be a better support tool to the book. But this is a MINOR bone to be sure.
Very Cool-O-Meter rating: 9
These are brief reviews, I know, but I cannot stress how powerful this little package is and that this company truly believes in tech support and listening to the consumer. I’ve rarely had the pleasure of having as much help as I got from these guys, and I’d like to say a heartfelt “thanks” to all of them.
Finally, I’m also going to show you my first 3D head attempt in Hash along with the original Alex Ross sketches.
Take care, and go forth and Animate!