GPH 338 | Computer Animation Survey (Practical Environment: MAYA)
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Digital Tools
CG Companies
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This section is all based on my personal interests. Feedback @:
Note: Check out the Gallery & Support section of the following sites.
  Learn the whole pipeline for Animation Film from Pixar/How We Do It.
Pixar's Shorts & Artists Corner is also great resourse!


Alias|Wavefront, owned by Silicon Graphics Inc
Maya is currently most advanced 3D animation software. Compare to Max, Maya is relative complex to learn, but you get more advanced character animation and visual effects capabilities, including Artisan brush-based tools, Paint Effects that allow grass, trees, and other elements to be painted into 3D space, and Dynamic Simulation of rigid objects, soft-bodies, fluids, cloth, and hair, combined with a powerful scripting language-Mel.


Softimage, owned by Avid

XSI is a formidable competitor to Maya. Before XSI, Softimage|3D was a popular animation system used in many feature films.

3D Studio Max

Max dominates the video game development industry, is a popular 3D programs with hobbyists. Max is an easy to learn software with pretty powerful modeling, animation, and rendering solution, but most of the system's power comes from the huge market for plug-ins and add-ons.

Lightwave 3D


Lightwave is a popular and relatively easy to use software which is widely used for video and television production around the world.

Pixar|Photorealistic Renderman


Pixar's Renderman (PRMAN) is the most widely used rendering solution for feature films, responsible for rendering most of the 3D scenes in productions made by Pixar, ILM, and other top companies.

Mental Ray

Mental Images

Mental Ray ships is used as a standard renderer with Softimage|XSI, also used with Maya or other animation packages. It is a sophisticated programmable raytracer that also supports global illumination, radiosity-style bounced lighting and caustic effects.


Side Effects Software

Houdini is known as a sophisticated and flexible 3D animation tool for Technical Directors and anyone who wants the maximum amount of control over their 3D tools to solve special problems that could be harder to solve in other applications.


Silicon Graphics

SGI not only produces the SGI computers, which run the vast majority of visual effects software, but it also is the parent company of Alias/Wavefront.

Sun Microsystems

Providers of high-end computers.

Apple Computer

Makers of the Macintosh.