Animation question

MCMFriday, July 23, 2004
This post is from a version of my blog with inconsistent timestamps: evidently I was very good at defining 'modified' dates, but not 'created' dates. As such, I can't be sure when the content was actually written. Sorry!

I just submitted this to /. in the hopes of getting general insights into the whole open source 3D software gig, but I thought I would cross-post here. Cause I have a wretched record of getting my submissions accepted at Slashdot :) Update April 24 2004: Woo! Five for five! No one gets rejected like me!

I'm plotting a new animation project and am looking at my options for 3D packages. I have used most of the big common apps before, but am very interested in checking out an open source option if possible. I have found Blender, which seems to do a good enough job. My question is this: are there real, living people out there that know enough about animation that can vouch for free software as safe platform to invest in?

When I say "safe", I mean it two ways: first, is there a product capable of handling a big, hefty workflow in an efficent way, so that the technology doesn't become a limiting factor? While Maya isn't exactly a work of great intuitiveness, its fans can easily whip off a great-looking scene because it does "work". There's something to get the hang of. While it is nice to know that glitches can be resolved, are any open source options matured enough that the glitches are minimal?

Second, and perhaps most vital: are the tools familiar enough to pros who come from other programs that they can make the switch without complaining? For my last project I was wedged into using 3ds max because so few animators I talked to were willing to learn a new package. Often it's not in the top layer of interaction, but the little subtleties where the packages can cause frustration.

I'm itching to learn something new and exciting, but I want to make sure I don't waste my time on an ideal that will cause me more headaches than a closed package.

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