The Shareware Review People

Life Forms™

Type of Program: 3D Character Animation Editor
Supported Platforms: Windows 95/98/2000/ME/XP
Company Name: Credo Interactive
Version: 4.0
Price: $495
Installed Size: 151MB


Ever wonder how all those great human type animations are made? I’m not talking about cute little .GIFs that have monkeys bouncing back and forth or a ball that scrolls around, each wanting you to smack it to win a prize. I’m talking about real life, fluid animations such as humans walking, talking, running, fighting or even complex moves such as a ballerina dancing her way into your heart. Life Forms™ takes animation to a whole new level with its Joint Editor, Batch File Converter, Superior Motion Capture Editing Tools and so much more! This is one great tool for serious animating (joint by joint) by a company that backs its product with support should you ever need it.

Life Forms™ is software that lets you create animations for a number of uses. Such as for choreography, movement planning, education, and for the Internet, all with pinpoint accuracy. The interface makes it easy to create complex animations for multiple figures, plus you can use Life Forms™ as a stand-alone solution for choreography, or as a central part of your animation workflow with other top 3D applications. But, let’s not stop here. Life Forms™ is also a great addition that allows you to create movements as well as is an excellent tool for editing keyframed and motion capture data! Life Forms™ allows you to pose and animate any type of human form in anyway that you could ever imagine! You control when a movement occurs and how much of the movement until you’ve created person sitting down, drinking, staggering around, of whatever.

Life Forms™ is almost limitless in what you can do to a figure! If you really want to create a truly unique moveable figure, import some motion capture data and manipulate your figure to each frame (also known as Rotoscoping). When you’re finished, export your figure and you have a one-of-a-kind animation! So as you’ve might have guessed, Life Forms™ has the capability to import and export BVH files (motion capture data), as well as many more data formats.

When you launch Life Forms™ it has four windows for you to work in: the Figure editor, Timeline, Rendered and Stage windows. Plus, Life Forms™ has Palettes, and Palette editor windows for storing and organizing keyshapes. Here’s a quick rundown on each of these windows you’ll be working in:
1. Figure Editor: Here you rotate a figure’s joints or create a pose or keyshape in the Figure editor window. This window gives you a close up view of the figure, and has joint controls for moving the body parts. This is where you can really polish the movements by selecting virtually any joint to manipulate.
2. Timeline Editor: This is just as what you would expect. The Timeline displays frames in the order that they occur in the animation. In this window you adjust the timing of an action by adjusting the spacing between keyframes. You can also coordinate the action of multiple figures.
3. Stage Window: This is where you can play and view an animation. You control the perspective of the stage by zooming, rotating and panning. In this window, you can set the figure’s altitude, location and the direction it is going to be facing.
4. Rendered Window: This window allows you to play animations in the rendered mode. In this mode models are displayed as solids. Any Colors and Textures you’ve assigned to it are also shown. Similar to the Stage window, you can control the perspective of the window. And, you can change the altitude, location and the facing direction of figures in this window.

Life Forms™ gives you full control (and I do mean full control) over any of your animations. Bend just the elbow, finger, ankle, or the waist and "form" your character anyway you please. Save your special movements to your personal Palette for use later, export the animation to a number of different formats and you have the perfect animated character, just the way you wanted it! Now, if you just can not come up with your own movement styles, Life Forms™ ships with 750 movement files to get you going and in addition, you can purchase 100’s of them separately on CD.

If you’ve ever been wanting something simple to use to create your own life-like animations, Life Forms™ is your answer. Support is great, has an in-depth Help file as well, and the program is easy to use (and works with a number of 3rd party products such as Cinema4D, Inspire, Lightwave, Poser, and more). So get out your other favorite 3D/2D program and get to animating the animation was meant to be.

User Friendly
Ease of Installation
Reviewed by Robert Hall

Purchases can be made online from their Web and they have Educational discounts available.

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