Anim8or



Anim8or is a freeware OpenGL based 3D modeling and animation program by R. Steven Glanville, a software engineer at NVidia. Currently at version 0.9, with the third beta of version 0.95 in testing, it is a very capable program with many features and tools. Its small size and easy-to-follow tutorials make it a gateway into the world of 3D graphics for many computer users who normally would never get a chance to try their hand at modelling and animation.

On July 20, 1999, a message was posted to the newsgroup comp.graphics.packages.3dstudio, introducing the first version of Anim8or to the public. In its first week, the original version was downloaded almost 100 times. The next version, 0.2, was released on September 6, 1999, containing bug fixes and the ability to save images as JPEG files.

In the past few years, newer versions have been released, introducing features such as undo and redo commands, keyboard shortcuts, an improved renderer and morph targets. With each new version, the popularity of Anim8or has grown. It has been featured in numerous magazines around the world including 3D User, Freelog, c't and the Lockergnome newsletter. Thanks to the community, there are many fan sites with user-created tutorials, image galleries and programs. The main Anim8or website contains an active forum with places to post creations, discuss the program and get support, or users can visit the Anim8or IRC chat room.

Anim8or's latest version, 0.9, was released to the public on January 29, 2005, although beta versions were available earlier for users wanting to test them and provide feedback. This version introduced features such as morph targets, edge extrude, painted skinning weights, improved splines, the ability to add multiple figures and cameras and more hot keys. A bugfix release to v0.9 was posted on August 29, 2005. A beta release of 0.95 was released on 2 June 2006.

Anim8or's mascot is a red robin named, of course, Robin that most users learn to model and animate in Anim8or's "A Simple Walk Tutorial". Users are also very familiar with the eggplant, a model first designed by Steven to demonstrate 3D printers at SIGGRAPH. It is likely the first model most Anim8or modellers have ever created, as it is taught in the introductory tutorial to demonstrate the basics of the modeller and the tools available.

Although it is not as powerful as commercial programs such as LightWave 3D and 3D Studio Max, it contains many features that are important to a 3D computer graphics package while remaining free. Such features include:

* 3D Modeller with primitives such as spheres, cubes, and cylinders
* Mesh modification and subdivision
* Splines, extrusions, lathing, modifiers, bevelling and warping
* TrueType font support allowing for 2D 3D text
* The ability to import .3DS, .LWO and .OBJ files for modification
* The ability to export .3DS, .LWO, .OBJ , .VTX and .C files for use in external programs
* 3D object browser to allow the user to view 3D files in a specified directory
* Textures in .BMP, .GIF and .JPG formats
* Environment maps, bump maps, transparency, specularity and more
* Character editor with joints
* Morph targets
* Renderer supporting fog, infinite, local and spot lights, anti-aliasing, alpha channels and depth channels
* Printing directly from the program
* Volumetric Shadows as well as ray traced hard and soft shadows
* A plain text file format, allowing for the development of external tools such as Terranim8or

A basic feature list can also be found at the Anim8or website, but even that list is nowhere near showing the complete power of Anim8or.

With its low system requirements, Anim8or is able to work on computers ranging from low-end systems to top of the line machines. While originally designed to work with Windows, users have reported running it successfully on Apple computers with Connectix Virtual PC and on Linux with WINE. The minimum requirements are:

* 300 MHz Processor
* Windows 95 or higher
* OpenGL graphics card with full ICD support
* 64MB of RAM (128MB recommended, 256MB with Windows XP)
* 5MB of hard drive space

Not much is known about what features will be modified or included in future versions. Inverse kinematics will likely be added, as it was included the latest release, but was disabled because it was not quite ready for use. It is expected that Anim8or's popularity will continue to increase, as it has done in the years since it was first announced on the Internet. Users have posted their thoughts on what they would like added in future releases to Anim8or-related forums, but for now, it is just speculation.

Current planned features are:

* Raytracing renderer
* Scripting language
* Plugin support
* Fast AVI creation using OpenGL
* Material manager

Some of these features may not be included in the next release.

* "Anim8or has come a long way since the first release called v0.1. There are still may areas that need improvement, primarily the renderer, but it's getting close to what I had originally imagined as the magic v1.0. I don't plan on stopping there, but it'll be a nice milestone along the way." - R. Steven GlanvillePermission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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