If you are new to the world of animation, you will most probably have this question in mind, and if you are a professional, then you most probably already heard this question a million times: What is the best 3D animation software?
Let me start with the obvious. For many reasons, no one can tell you which software is the "best". Soon you will find out too with more experience in the field, that this is a very subjective thing. People prefer different things, and people have different budgets.
But what I can tell you is what each of the top three software in the market today are known for and why people like them, and then you can have your own informed decision.
There are currently four different 3D modeling and animation software that are dominating the market. Let's take a deeper look at them.
Note that all of the software below are used for 3D animation, modeling, rigging, texturing and others. Not only animation.
3ds Max does everything Maya does but people generally agree that Max is focused more on architectural model creation.
You can purchase a one month subscription for $180, one year subscription for $1,435, or a three year subscription for $4,300. (Prices vary depending on your country)
Note that you may be able to get a free, three year students license for both Maya and 3ds Max if you apply for it and by giving Autodesk some information about your school. You can apply for a free student license here.
3 Blender (Free)
Blender is a free and open source full 3D suite software. It is definitely a rude awakening for Autodesk after dominating the market for such a long time, Blender came, offering everything their software can do, but for free!
4 Cinema 4D (Paid/free)
Cinema 4D is also used the same way depending on which version you bought, but many people who use Cinema 4D seem to be focused more on the Visual Effects side of things.
There are different versions of Cinema 4D with a starting price of about $800.
Just like the Autodesk products, you can get a free student license by applying for one here.
In the end the choice is obvious if you are looking for something that is free and has great community (Blender), or if you are focused more on the VFX side of things (C4D), or Animation (Maya), or Architecture (Max).
But it is also very important to see how the market is in your area. Because in some countries, especially in the Middle East and some of Asia, Max is the king. In other areas like The Americas and some of Europe, Maya is the obvious choice.