Blender is a great tool to use for applying visual effects to your projects and it is completely free to use. With Blender, you can create 3D pipeline-models, animations, simulations, rendering, etc.
This program supports NURBS surfaces and polygon meshes making it a strong contender for 3DS Max.
Even though this powerful software can help you create professional looking 3D projects with animations, it requires you to have some experience in using it.
Fortunately, Blender has a very big community that offers a wide range of tutorials and courses.
Key features include:
- Cycle Render Engine – ultra-realistic rendering, real-time viewport preview, etc.
- 3D painting with textured brushes and masking
- Python scripting
- VFX – it allows you to import raw footage, track it and mask areas
- Envelope, skeleton and automated skinning
- Customize its interface by using Python language
- Can seamesly combine 2D with 3D
- Modeling, sculpting and UV features — used for creating and transforming your models
- Denoiser, PBR Shader, Shadow Catcher, Filmic Color Management, AMD OpenCL, etc.
Houdini is another powerful tool that allows you to create and apply visual effects with ease. This software is a node-based software.
This feature is useful because of the fact that with every action, a node is created. More nodes can form a network and this feature allows you easily apply changes either to specific nodes or networks.
Houdini was created to be an easy to use software that offers artists a wide range of features under a user-friendly user interface.
Its node-powered infrastructure gives you the opportunity to branch off from your initial design with customized effects and actions.
One of the best features of Houdini is the ability to create sophisticated particle and dynamic simulations, such as realistic fire and smoke with Pyro FX, and different water effects.
Houdini comes in 4 different versions that cater to your specific needs:
- Houdini Apprentice version is free and designed for hobbyists and students
- Houdini Indie has all the animations and VFX tools and is available under an indie license for animator and game developers
- Houdini Core is designed for modelers, character riggers and animators
- Houdini FX offers a full 3D experience with tools for simulating fluids, pyro fx, etc.
If you want to get more information regarding how to use Houdini, go to the tool’s support page.
RealFlow is designed to be a professional fluid simulation software. This software is a direct competitor to Houdini and also has an impressive range of features.
One of the most important features of RealFlow is the ability to edit relationships between nodes and the ability to simulate graphs with the data provided.
You can easily create emitters, containers, ocean surfaces, and also solid bodies for your project with just a few clicks. Using Next Limit’s Maxwell Renderer is also a very useful feature.
You can render any preview before applying it to your project, giving you a clearer image without needing to worry about the calibration details.
Regarding liquids rendering, RealFlow can create both particle-based liquids and also hybrid-based liquids that are suitable for bigger scenes.
The Dyverso technology that powers RealFlow is GPU accelerated and can process secondary elements like splashes, foam, mist, bubbles, etc. in real-time.
If you want to see a complete list of features, you can download this PDF file.
In this article, we explored some of the best options on the market that allow you to add visual effects to your projects.
The software options presented here cover the needs of both users with little to no experience and professional users alike.
Depending on how experienced you are, you can jump right into creating your project or you can check out the tutorials. Let us know what you chose from this list in the comment section below.
FAQ: Learn more about VFX and video editing software tools
- Which is best VFX software?
VFX stands for visual effects. Take a look at our list including the best VFX software tools and choose the one suitable for your needs.
VFX means Visual Effects, while CGI stands for Computer Generated Imagery, the terms are very similar and used in video editing. You can use any of these great software tools for video post-production that can be used as VFX or CGI apps.
- What is the best video editing software?
There are multiple options, paid or free, depending on your needs. Check our guide including the best video-editing software for Windows 10 and choose the one you like.
This post was written by Milan Stanojevic and was first posted to WindowsReport