Lately, I’ve been a little tough here publicly on the program crashing and I personally don’t care to mislead people through my words that Animation Master really is not a good program.
No, Animation Master is not a good program, Animation Master is a great program.
Many people here and elsewhere have cited some of the ongoing problems that… plague Animation Master. Some of the claims are true while others are false. Some claims are exagerated and some are dead-on accurate.
One thing I don’t see much of though is are many reasons why people find A:M is a good program. Usually, the only time I can read why people like or use A:M is when they are fending off attacks from people who say it “sucks”.
I think that’s ashame because Animation Master is a great program to use. When forums like this one heat up as they do from time to time “for” and “against” the program, a lot of good points made (on both sides) get ignored in the heat of the moment.
Since I’ve been a bit tough on A:M publicly, I would like to share with you publicly why I really like A:M.
Before I do that, I’d like to say that I am simply a customer of Hash Inc. I am not on thier payroll and never have been. I have never been in contact with them except to order a copy of A:M (and that was through their website) . So I am not associated in any with Hash Inc (besides being a customer and being registered on their forums).
I like Animation Master first and foremost because I can use its tool set and get what I want to get accomplished with it in the way that I wanted it done. I don’t need third party plug-ins to get the program geared up to animate since its ready to go out of the box. The price for all of this is excellent compared to other modeling and animation packages.
The entire user interface, tool sets, and project workflow is uncomplicated yet powerful. It’s powerful because nothing about it holds me back. This can be very deceptive to a person familiar with other 3D packages. I inititially dismissed the entire program because the interface was so simple and uncluttered. I could not even take the program seriously because I used to think the serious modeling and animation tools had to had some sort of complicated “industrial” presentation to them.
Animation Master keeps the interface lean and bloat free. I have not found any aspects of the program that get in my way when I am using it.
I find that the animation tool sets in Animation Master are phenomenal. They are truly geared towards getting aninimation work done without having to jump through hoops to do it. Even if you are not fully aquainted with the toolsets you can see that serious thought was put in to them and, more importantly, even more thought was put into making the tools easy to use by the animator.
The strentgh of the animation tools is usually what I hear cited the most when people compliment A:M but I find that there is one other aspect of A:M that is one of its strongest assets. That is its spline modeling.
Hash Inc’s splines and patch implementations are interesting. I’m surprised that another company has not created a program that imitates the way that Animation Master models. There are other programs that use splines but not in the straight forward manner that A:M does.
I have to be honest; when I first looked at A:M’s user interface I thought to myself “What!? No primitives? What kind of 3D program is this? This is some kind of joke!” But I looked at it again later on and started learning about how to model with splines. Then I learned why modeling with splines does not require ready made primitves to model with… primitves would only get in the way and slow you down.
Artists familiar with polygon modeling tools will find many of those tools missing from A:M’s tool set. In many cases this is not an oversight; many polygon modeling tools become null and void in the spline modeling environment and don’t have to be included for that reason.
Using A:M’s splines to model an object is like taking a direct route to creating the model one may want to see created. There is no need to take one step backward in order to take two steps forward. The shapes one wants as a basic foundation for their model are the ones that they can layout quickly from the very begining.
I’ve seen it mentioned that modeling in A:M is only good for organinc types of objects but not really for mechanical objects. That’s not true. A:M’s spline modeling approach is excellent for either. I think the strengh of Hash’s spline approach becomes even more apparent once one begins to rig and animate a character that was modled in A:M.
I suppose that A:M’s bones and constraint implementations could be considered to be part of its animation tools but these tools are so good I’d like to say one thing about them to users or prospective users who may be a little intimadated by using them.
Don’t be. It’s not hard at all. It’s only a challenge. The learning curve may be steep for most (like it’s been for me) but if you are working alone on your projects you are going to have to tackle the bones and constraint system anyway (regardless of which animation package you use). Learn how they work and I’ll bet that you’ll really appreciate them.
So, I like A:M because it is not bogged down by clumsy interfaces and I don’t feel like I need a PhD to use it. I like the modeling and animation tools (as well as the modeling and animation results) and I find the workflow very intuitive. The price for this kind of program is great when compared to other modeling and animation programs.
If you are looking for an animation program and the only thing that you know about A:M if that it crashes a lot then I would suggest finding out more about it. Yes it crashes (I’ll never gloss that over until that is improved on a bit) but its an excellent program nonetheless.
No program is perfect and A:M is not perfect but A:M is a fine program for me. If you don’t have it and are thinkng about trying it then I would say go for it. I’d recommend it even though it is not perfect.