Essay: Graphics software packages

Vector graphics:
There are many different types of vector graphic software’s that can be used to manipulate images to use on animation. The vector graphic software I am going to be comparing is CorelDraw with the bitmap graphic software below. CorelDraw was the first graphic design software for Windows operating system. CorelDraw uses shapes and paths to draw smooth curves and images. CorelDraw also has many feature to edit digital images such as being able to work with multiple layers and pages, contrast adjustment, colour balancing, adding effects e.g. borders.

Another advantage of CorelDraw is that the program does not require the capacity when stored in computer memory. This would save a lot space on the hard disk that can be used to store other stuff. It would also help the performance of the computer because it doesn’t take up much space. CorelDraw is also good because it is easy to learn and it also comes with tutorial software to help you make it even easier. The software also allows users to create cards and other stuff. With CorelDraw, you can many special effects and manage multiple documents.

However, there are also limitations of using CorelDraw because it could take a long time refreshing the graphic. This could result in valuable time being wasted. Another limitation of CorelDraw is that it isn’t compatible with a lot other software’s, which may cause implications for the user. The software is also hard to use and which means user needs time to adjust to it. This software also costs about ??450, which is a downside for some users as they may find it too expensive.

Bitmap graphics:

Microsoft Paint is also a software that you can use to draw, colour, crop and text and edit images. You can import images from your computer or your devices onto paint and edit it. You save the images to different file formats such as jpeg and bmp. You can also use pencil and brushes on Microsoft paint which can be used on images.

The advantage of Microsoft Paint over CorelDraw is that you don’t need to buy it as the program has always been free to users with windows operating system. Also, when there are upgrade, or any other improvements to the software that is also free. Another advantage of Microsoft Paint is that it is easy to use in comparison to CorelDraw because of the simplicity.
However, the simplicity of paint can be a disadvantage as it doesn’t include all of the features and tools offered with CorelDraw for example, variety of filters, brushes and editing tools in their toolboxes. Paint does not support transparency, filters or layers. Many graphic designers would want layer support and this software is unable to offer it. Another limitation of Microsoft Paint is that there are no filters for example, you can’t remove small detail or use red eye removal because Microsoft Paint doesn’t support it.

Specialist software packages:
Dream Studio

Dream Studio is a specialist software package. It is Ubuntu based and contains many tools to create a good animation as well as attraction videos, inspiring music, TV advertisements, games and professional websites. With dream studio you also get pre-configured applications such as Cinelerra which is a good video editor, Blender which is a 3D graphics application that I am going to be comparing below and other software’s such as Kompozer etc.

The advantage of dream studio is that it is free and open source so you don’t need to pay to use all these tools and features to create videos, animations, TV advertisements etc. Another advantage is that it is a complete multimedia production suite which includes many other pre-configured applications. Dream studio also includes drum machines, audio mastering suit, and over 50 blending modes which allows you to create more your own effect. The effects consists of textures, blurs, convolution, gradients and text rendering.

Another advantages of dream studio is that it allows overlaying the new layer onto its old, and you can retouch features on images and repair images. It also offers better hardware support for some 64-bit systems and support for programs which could use more than 4GB RAM, such as the included Cinelerra video editor, Blender 3D, or virtual machines which have been allocated more than 4GB of RAM.

The downside to dream studio is that it uses Ubuntu Unity desktop which would be hard for users to get use to unless they have used this desktop before. Another downside to dream studio is may lag and be slow in comparison to other software packages such as Flash which I will explain about below. .
Bryce
Bryce is a 3D modelling rendering and animation program. It is really good for rendering and creating realistic images and animations. With this software it also allows you to work much faster and create more realistic images, in comparison to dream studio. With Bryce software you can easily create landscapes and rendering of 3D graphic art which you cannot do with dream studio.

Comparing Bryce software with dream studio, Bryce software is much better for rendering and altering shapes as it gives right tools and features for it. This software is also much better for 3D images and animations than dream studio because it gives you the 3D animated environment and allows you to create surreal environments. Even though dream studio has a lot of blending modes which allows you to create more of your own effect, it is a lot harder to learn how to use the software in comparison to use Bryce where it is much easier to use.
Bryce software also has many tools and features you can use for your 3D animation or images, such as producing matte painting, adding people, object, and other features such as water, sky, clouds etc. via the plug in to allow it to give a more realistic effect to your 3D animation. This isn’t offered with dream studio.

Bryce is also very affordable at ??65, which is reasonable for a 3D software, however dream studio is free and open source so some users may prefer to use that software instead of this. With Bryce you get a lot of tools with to create your 2D/3D animations/images which in my opinion is better to use instead of using dream studio because it is a much better software for rendering and creating 3D animations.

For users who find the software difficult to use which it shouldn’t be there are tutorials which you could watch to learn as with dream studio. There are many advantages with Bryce software such as when the auto key is on any change made to something would be recorded. This is an advantage because you don’t have to worry about remembering to add the keyframe at each of the appropriate times. You cannot do this with dream studio which is a downside of dream studio.

The disadvantages of Bryce is that it isn’t open source whereas dream studio is open source. However, it does require less memory to install the software as you require 100MB hard drive space, 512 MB RAM, 1 GHz and graphics card with at least 128 MB in comparison to Dream Studio.
Adobe Flash (2D)
Flash is a software developed by Macromedia. It is used to create vector graphics based animation programs with full screen navigation interfaces, graphic illustrations, simple interactivity and resizable file format. With Flash, users can also draw their own animations or import other vector based images.

Flash has a much larger range of what it can do. For example Flash animations can be used for different purpose e.g. advert tool to short films, allows stuff to be integrated into the animations. For example, sounds which adds to the entertainment of factor of the animation. Also flash allows interactivity such as buttons.

Flash file size are a bit big because of the content on a flash file. For example a 30 seconds flash animation can be 2.3 MB. As Flash is vector based it also allows you to scale well so you can get different screen sizes. The colour palette in flash is endless whereas on other software you may be limited. Also flash has different tools which do different things. For example creating unique images using the object brushes.

Flash isn’t that hard to use, although it may be for other users after playing around with it for a bit they wouldn’t find it hard to use. It just takes a bit of getting use to the interface and knowing where the tools are. Flash allows user to create fantastic animations and the reason behind this is the tools that are available in flash. Flash has so many tools which users can use to make great animations. For example tweens, action scripts, and fade tools and this give the user option to what they can create and what they can use to create the animation because flash tools allow you to do this because the tools are not limited. Whereas with dream studio you are limited in comparison to flash.

The downside to flash is that it is expensive in comparison to Dream Studio and Bryce as it costs ??300. Another downside is that it can cause security issues for users because Flash files are not password protected or encrypted and can transfer viruses when downloaded on a computer. However, if I was to choose between Dream Studio, Bryce and Flash, I would choose flash because of the tools it offers such as tweens, action script for interactivity e.g. buttons etc. But I would use Bryce for 3D animations as you can’t with Flash which is also another disadvantage of Flash.
Maya
Maya is a 3D animation software which offers a lot features for users such as 3D computer animation, modelling, simulation and rendering on a highly extensible production platform.
The ease of use on this software is much hard and takes a lot getting use to in comparison to the software’s above because it uses language that is called Maya embedded language which is very hard to learn. Therefore this makes the software package very hard to use in comparison to Bryce, dream studio and flash.

The advantage of Maya is the tools it offers advanced simulation tools for cloth, hair, fur, fluids, and particles and these tools let you build extremely high quality animation because of the tools available in Maya are extremely advanced tools compared to the other animation software. For this reason Maya can build game quality animation whereas the other Bryce, dream studio and flash’s cannot, even though flash’s tools are really good and would normally come on top for the tools they offer but this time they do not. If I had a choice which animation software I would use based on the tools it would be Maya because of the level of quality tools they have for the user to use.

Comparing the cost of the different specialist computer animation software packages. Flash is really expensive as it cost ??300 but with it being that expensive you get the benefit of having a professional animation package which lets you make good animations. However, Maya is really expensive compared to the flash, Bryce and dream studio because it costs over ??1500 but the standard of animation it makes is so much better than the other software’s because it uses the latest and best animation technology and for this reason it cost a lot of money compared to the flash which also cost a lot of money, but Maya is really expensive which is a disadvantage regardless of what it offers.

One of the biggest differences between the different specialist computer animation software packages was the available resources you need to use the software. Maya requires a very powerful system for user to use the software because Maya is high end animation software and it is capable of doing things which flash cannot do. For instance rendering 3d content, this requires a very powerful system and not a normal every day system. This is also a bad thing about Maya is you would need to make sure you have a system that it is compatible with and other resources.
Lightwave
Lightwave is also a 3D software like blender, Bryce and Maya which is a computer graphics software. This software is really powerful for rendering and has many tools which would cost a lot usually like with Maya it costs a lot. However, with lightwave it includes 999 free cross platform render nodes. This software has also been used for many stuff such as, TV, print graphics, game development, web and other stuff which is also good as this proves that you can create multiple stuff.

The advantage of lightwave is that has powerful tools such as unity game engine support, FBX, Zbrush and other tools. These tools are not offered with flash or dream studio so this software does offer more. Another advantage of this software is that when creating animations it is easy to use and customise keyframes, for example, edit keys, time scale, filter and manipulate animations. Another advantage of this software is that it has many effects users can use in comparison to what is offered with dream studio.

The downside to this software is that it needs 4GB ram to run on your system atleast. This is a lot of memory and comparing it with other software’s such as Bryce it is more than double the memory needed when Byrce is a free software with a lot of tools offered. This software costs ??150 which is a lot but you do get a lot features with it. However, I would rather use blender because it is free and open source and offers just as good tools as this software and doesn’t need 4GB of RAM to run the software on the system.

3D Studio Max
3D studio max is now known as Autodesk 3DS max. This is a 3D computer graphics software which is used to create 3D animations, models, games and images. The advantage of this software is that it has flexible plugin architecture. It has many tools such as shades, dynamic simulation, particle systems, radiosity, normal map creation and rendering.

Comparing Maya with 3D studio max, max is much better for one user. One person can do a wide variety of tasks more easily and the integration between the various components is much better. Also, 3D studio max is a better modeller because its texturing tools are more in-built. However, Maya is really good and better for group rather than one user because there is a lot of stuff with Maya.

The disadvantage of 3D studio max is the cost as it costs over ??3000 which is a lot. Likewise with Maya, both software are really good for what they do but they are expensive. This is why I would rather use blender because it has a lot to offer and is worth it, because it is easy to use whereas, Maya and 3D studio max would take a while to learn where everything is and then learning how to use it because there is a lot of tools to get your head around. Another disadvantage of 3D studio max is that it requires 4GB of RAM as well 4.5GB hard drive, which means you would need a good system so that it can run properly on it which is a disadvantage to the user because they would need more resources.
SoftImage XSI
Softimage is a 3D computer graphics software which lets you create, 3D graphics, modelling, animations and games. This software has been used in TV, video games and advertising. The good thing about this software is that it offers a lot of powerful animation and rendering tools. It also includes features such as fur, cloth that allow you to add pressuring points on the cloth.

Another advantage of this software is the ease of use on this. The ease of use is ok on this but does need getting used to it but once you have it is good because it includes a lot of unique features. This software also include A include layers and a mixer, when creating animation and a feature that transfers animation between characters, regardless of their size or proportions which is an advantage when creating animations.

The disadvantage of this software is that it costs a lot and a lot memory gets taken up on your system, so you would rather use Maya because even though this software takes a lot of memory and costs a lot, you would rather have a software that will get updates so that it is up to date, than to buy Softimage because they stopped creating it now. Another disadvantage of Softimage is that a registration is required to download instructions which is annoying for some users as they wouldn’t want to register and would prefer to get instructions with the software.
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Blender
Blender is a 3D computer software used for creating animations, visual effects, 3D printed models, video games etc. The advantage of this software is that it includes many features in comparison to dream studio. This software is also free and open source just like dream studio but the features it includes is a lot better than dream studio which is why I would I choose blender instead of dream studio.

This is because if you compare the features on both you get a lot more features with blender as it include 3D modelling, UV unwrapping, texturing, raster graphics editing, rigging and skinning, fluid and smoke simulation, particle simulation, soft body simulation, sculpting, animating, match moving, camera tracking, rendering, video editing, game engine and compositing. These are a lot of features which is good for a free open source software which is why I would prefer this software than dream studio.

Comparing this software with flash I would choose blender because it is free and offers a lot of features. This software also include build in cycles rendering engine which offers GPU & CPU rending which is good for when you creating something. Even though Maya software offers realistic stuff to use on animation, this software also does which is why blender I would choose blender than all the software listed above because it offers a lot of good features.

Another advantage of blender is that with the game engine you have the ability to port your models to any third-party game engine, create or code your own game logic, python scripting API for advanced control and playback of games inside blender. You can also personalise the interface to make it easier for you to set it out how you want it to be set out which is also an advantage. For this software I don’t think there are any disadvantages because the software is free and open source and offers a lot of features for free to use.

Source: Essay UK - http://doghouse.net/essays/information-technology/essay-graphics-software-packages/


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