Close up on the pod bay doors please, HAL.
December 21, 2010 11:41 AM   Subscribe

3D filmmaking software for non-animators. Does it exist?

No, not machinima by gamepad. Rather, virtual actors following the user's (as director) predefined instructions.

I think I might have read about, or seen, something like it. A program that provides the models and scenery then lets you become the filmmaker. A program specifically for this purpose.

I probably scoffed at the idea once but now I'm a little interested.
posted by run"monty to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Xtranormal?
posted by jnnla at 11:48 AM on December 21, 2010

Like this oddness featured on the Blue recently?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:55 AM on December 21, 2010

Hm, there's always Blender, but only if you're willing to invest time to actually learn it. For everything else, there's poser.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:58 PM on December 21, 2010

The above poster with the unpronouncable name is right. It sounds like what you want is Poser. It actually is a pretty sophisticated package, but nothing like as good as something like Lightwave. But Poser is also a hell of a lot easier to learn and use.

It provides you with a large number of human and animal figures. For the humans there are a selection of clothing articles you can place on them. Then it's possible to control the positions of arms and legs, and to animate movements of various kinds.

Once you've got it to where you want it, you can render to any of several standard video formats.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:10 PM on December 21, 2010

More about Poser: the animals are also poseable and animateable. And it comes with a very large library of props and scenery items. There are also online sites where you can download props and even entire scenes for free, which were contributed by other users.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:17 PM on December 21, 2010

I saw a demo that Ken Perlin was working on at a conference a few years ago, which used procedural animation to "animate" characters in realistic ways (a la Portal) but it was more on the level of "Weird one-legged dude #1 hops over here, Weird one-legged dude #2 hops over there," rather than giving detailed "stage direction" to actors.

If you're interested in learning the art of computer animation, check out Blender.
posted by Alterscape at 4:53 PM on December 21, 2010

err, a la Spore, not Portal. My brain, it breaks.
posted by Alterscape at 4:53 PM on December 21, 2010

For a uniquely Japanese take on the concept, try TVML.
posted by drumcorpse at 6:21 PM on December 21, 2010

Well, there is... was... 3D Movie Maker, not that that is really much help. It was very cool for the time.
posted by bz at 9:09 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

I doubt what you're looking for actually exists outside a few very bad porn games.

Poser comes kinda close but it still require a good deal of work to make anything non ugly.

You could try daz studio the basic version is free and is a package competing with Poser, uses the same models and stuff, mostly.
posted by Greald at 11:24 PM on December 21, 2010

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