AXYZ design has released Anima 2.5, the latest update to its crowd animation tool for 3ds Max and Cinema 4D, reworking its import and export capabilities, and adding a new mask-based character variation system.
Extended character import options
The update integrates Anima with AXYZ design’s new online asset store, making it possible to buy stock characters from directly within the software.
As well as the firm’s ready-rigged characters, Anima now supports its Metropoly Ready Posed characters for generating still crowd renders.
The option to import your own custom characters, introduced in Anima 2.0, has also been extended, with a new FBX importer for actors and motion clips.
Restrictions on rig structure are now less stringent, meaning it is no longer to adhere exactly to Anima’s own hierarchy and naming convention: just to provide a minimum number of key bones.
The importer also features a bone-matching system for configuring characters if Anima is unable to detect the bone hierarchy from names alone. You can see it in action at 00:43 in the video.
Other changes include the option to use an unlimited number of materials on importexd characters, and to import multi-node FBX files. You can find a full list of new import options in the release notes.
New material editing and character variation options
The way that Anima handles characters internally has also been updated, making it possible to edit the shading parameters for materials directly within the software.
Anima also now stores texture maps in multiple resolutions, with the option to set levels of quality both for viewport display and when the character is exported.
The release also updates the texture variation system for generating variant looks for crowd characters.
Artists can now mask out parts of a character they want to leave untouched, then generate colour variants for the remaining parts, making it easier to create variations when the material count is limited.
You can see the workflow in action at 00:55 in the video above.
New exporter outputs animations in Collada or V-Ray scene formats
The option to export a completed crowd animation in Collada format, temporarily removed in version 2.0, has now been reinstated, with the new OpenCollada exporter coming with presets for Blender and LightWave.
Scenes can also be exported in V-Ray’s native .vrscene format with attached Alembic files.
Pricing and availability
Anima 2.5 is available for 64-bit Windows 7+. The integration plugins are available for 3ds Max 2011+ and Cinema 4D R14+. The MSRP is €249 (around $265), although it’s currently available at a launch discount.
There is also a free Lite edition, which can be used for commercial work, but which limits output to four seconds of animation. Still renders are unrestricted.
Read a full list of new features in Anima 2.5 in the online release notes