Understanding Animation & VFX Software: Maya, Mudbox, Photoshop & After Effects
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Understanding Animation & VFX Software [Part 1]: Maya, Mudbox, Photoshop & After Effects

Source: commons.wikimedia.org, wikipedia.org & autodesk.com

The world of VFX and animation is not magical and incredible without reason. Whether you talk about iconic films like Jurassic Park, ET, Avatar, Frozen, Toy Story, Coco, Shrek and Inception, or television productions like Game of Thrones and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, or any of MCU or DC’s superhero capers – they all have one thing in common. The quality of visuals and their ability to completely draw the audience into their fictional fantasy world is quite unbelievable.

Here are a few common questions that animation and visual effects enthusiasts have:

  • How are these amazing visual effects created?
  • Which software is used for animation films?
  • What VFX software is used in movies like Avengers: Endgame?
  • What is the process behind crafting animated characters?
  • Which is the best VFX software for beginners?
  • What is Photoshop, Autodesk Mudbox, After Effects and Maya software?


Here’s looking at some of the most popular and widely-used software and tools in the animation and visual effects industry, along with their key features. We have also answered some of the most commonly-asked questions about them. Read on!

1. Autodesk Maya

Does the name ‘Maya’ ring a bell? You might have come across short courses or crash courses in Maya while browsing online or seen ads on the streets. But do you know what Maya software is used for?

Maya is basically an animation and visual effects software by Autodesk and is widely utilized by animators and VFX artists for diverse film, television, web and video game productions. Autodesk Maya equips animation artists to create professional-looking 3D cinematic animation, offering a plethora of animation, modeling, simulation and rendering options. Here’s a quick look at the key features of Maya software:

  • It is possible to create expansive environments, complex characters, and awe-inducing visual effects using this tool.
  • It helps bring characters to life with a set of built-in tools and craft detailed landscapes or even design complex sequences.
  • It is also possible to create realistic effects and shape 3D objects or scenes with intuitive 3D modeling tools available in the software.
  • Maya’s classy interface makes it one of the most-preferred VFX and animation tools in the industry.

Seamedu offers a six-module diploma course that introduces young, creative minds to the fundamentals of design, 3D animation and visual effects. The program also trains students on the best software for VFX and animation, so they are job-ready as soon as they complete their diploma course.


2. Autodesk Mudbox

Another gem from Autodesk’s pool of ultramodern software for creative purposes, Mudbox is a 3D digital painting and sculpting software. This tool allows the user to create a wide range of characters and environments. Here are some of the most important features of Autodesk Mudbox:

  • It enables the creation (sculpting and painting) of very detailed 3D geometry and textures.
  • The software’s intuitive toolkit is easy to use and works in synergy with Maya to create magic on screen.
  • Moving models between Mudbox and other tools is simple.
  • Thanks to Autodesk Mudbox’s excellent features, the software makes it possible for the user to paint directly on 3D assets or models.
  • It is also possible for you to create meshes using its advanced retopology tools.

3. Adobe Photoshop (Ps)

Who doesn’t know Photoshop? Thanks to the millions of hilarious memes doing the rounds on social media, the world is well aware of the term Photoshop and has some inkling as to what it is used for. The leading photo, image and graphic design software from Adobe has been amongst the most preferred tools for designers and creative artists for a long time now. With the user-friendly features of Photoshop and its regular upgrades and enhancements, Adobe Ps continues to be a leading choice of design software around the world. It is used for a wide variety of purposes, including:

  • illustration
  • enhancement
  • image editing
  • 3D artwork enrichment
  • real-life painting simulations
  • drawing/painting
  • website design
  • app design

From packaging and billboards to webpages and logos, there is a high chance that most things you see around you owe their design and aesthetic appeal to this software. Photoshop’s wonderful features, intuitive interface and easy-to-use tools make it easy for beginners to create inspiring stuff.

4. Adobe After Effects (Ae)

Another extremely popular software in the world of cinema, animation, motion graphics and VFX, Adobe After Effects is the industry-standard motion graphics and visual effects tool of choice. Let’s look at the key features of After Effects:

  • From creating titles or credits and catchy intros or seamless transitions, to animating logos and characters, Adobe After Effects features a wide variety of options to animators, designers and compositors.
  • Utilized widely in the film, television and web production space, After Effects can make anything look better on screen.
  • In fact, the software also allows experts to experiment with Virtual Reality (VR) videos and several other modern styles of visual storytelling.

With an abundance of fantastic presets available, you can literally animate anything and everything!

Wish to learn the intricacies of these tools and software used for animation and VFX in movies, television productions and web shows? At Seamedu School of Pro-Expressionism, we expose our students to industry-standard software and cutting-edge virtual tools (including the ones mentioned above), so they can gain practical experience during their graduation. Our professional visual effects and animation degree course emphasizes on learning contemporary software and applying them in student projects and real-world assignments.


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