Does 3D Animation Require Coding?

For beginners who want to learn 3D animation, they’re always perplexed at the possibility of learning to code along with the art. The more convinced they are about it, the more their interest in the art subsides.

Well, this time, we will be taking a critical look at coding and its place in 3D animation. Must all animators know how to code? We will provide you with answers as you continue reading below. 

What’s 3D Animation? 

3D animation is the process of generating 3-dimensional images using software. Careful manipulation of the software creates an illusion of movement of the characters. The level of manipulation depends on the skill of the animator. Generally, the process of creating 3D animations is divided into phases. This includes:  

  • modeling  
  • Layout/storyboarding  
  • Rendering. 

The modeling stage is the phase where the characters are created while the layout phase describes the positioning of the object in the scene. Rendering is where the end product is produced by combining all the sections mentioned before. 

Animated objects can be moved like real-life objects. They can be rotated across 360 degrees. They’re used to create video games as well as graphics presentations that need impeccable visuals.

This technology can be used to create characters for TV shows, movies as well as advertising. With the right execution, their action can supersede those of real actors. 

Unlike 2D animation, 3D animation is 100% computer-based. It doesn’t involve hand drawing. All processes are carried out on a computer screen. There are software that can help with this, and the list keeps growing. 

Does 3D Animation Requires Coding? 

Well, if we’re talking about traditional animations, then there will be no need for coding or any other type of programming. This is because animation during those periods only involved the manipulation of shapes as well as diagrams. 

With the advancement in technology, computers were able to minimize the use of manual effort when creating animation. With this, a bit of coding was introduced, but this is just the peripheral aspect. 

Coding surfaced out of the need for individuals to automate things rather than doing it all manually. Coding helps you automate animation characters and at the same time, produce features that create amazing results between two objects. 

What You Need To Become A 3D Animator? 

Well, we know what you might be thinking at the moment “if I won’t be coding then what tools will I be needing?” Good question. As much as you won’t be writing codes from scratch, you will be using a lot of graphics software.

Your choice of software depends on your industry as well as the application. It could be anything from films and game creation to educational content. 

Just like other software, most of them are paid while others are free. You can’t possibly get the best from free versions, especially if you want to be highly sought-after in the game. They don’t come cheap, but it pays once the gig starts rolling in. 

  • Autodesk Maya– Autodesk Maya is the most popular digital studio for 3D animators. Rumors have it that it’s the brain behind realistic characters found in Spiderman, Moana, and Frozen. It’s debatable but what we do know is that they boost a wide range of industry-standard features. 

No other software comes close to Maya in terms of the size of their toolset. They give you powerful options for modeling, rendering, lighting as well as texturing. It presents users with physical features that includes cloth, hair, simulation, and physical appearance. With a robust toolset Maya doesn’t come cheap, probably the reason it’s widely used by professionals. 

  • Blender - Blender is an all-purpose animation tool with a host of the impressive toolset. The software helps with modeling, layout, animation, editing as well as simulation.

    Blender platform supports both basic and advanced manipulation. The program is open-source; hence, it’s available for rookies as well as professionals, especially those into animation movies. 

Blender incorporates a default function called cycle which helps in creating a more realistic output by providing VR support to characters. You will also be able to access some sculpting tools that allow you to create your unique character. 

  • Houdini - Maya happens to be an all-rounder. It can do a whole lot at the same time. Houdini, on the other hand, deals with modeling. It’s used by VFX artists to create amazing 3D images and characters. Houdini interface is not easy to use. It takes a great deal of practice and dedication to learn how to create impressive characters. 

Its interface is tricky, but the best part is that you will never run out of options. Unlike Maya, Houdini has a free version for students and beginners who want to use the program for educational purposes. The free version comes with limited features. But it will be enough to develop your skill at the elite level. 

What Areas of 3D Animation Requires Coding? 

Well, we often hear people say that to become a good animator, you need to have a knowledge of programming. Probably pick up one graphics related language such as Python and JavaScript. Well, animators use a series of software, they don’t need to run a series of codes at the backend to bring these motionless images to life. 

We understand that there will be someone in the team who knows one or two things about programming, but it’s not necessary for everyone working on an animation project to be a programmer. Sincerely, it’s difficult to find an animator who combines both artistic and coding skills to the highest level. However, those who do are highly valuable to the team. 

Those whose job requires coding usually work at the backend, and they’re mostly called technical directors. Their job is not to focus on the artistic part of the production process; rather, they provide tech support by solving issues related to software components that might render the project useless. 

 If you’re at the top of your programming game, your job description in an animation project would be to help with automation and make things aesthetically pleasing by leveraging on different scripts and codes so the entire team can carry out their job smoothly. It’s like being the lab rat of the team. 

If your job description within an animation team is any of lighting, character creation, storyboarding as well as composting, you might never need to write one line of code. Those who handle technical stuff like rigging, shading, and texturing will need a bit of programming knowledge.  

What Other Skills Will Make You A Better Animator? 

Aside from using software, there are other qualities you need to acquire to excel in the animation industry. As you might have already known, animators work as a team. There are those in charge of character creation, while others deal with storyboarding. 

This implies that you must have an eye for details and you also have to be a good team player as well. Communication skill is a big extra. You ought to know how to convey your message to other team members.

Lastly, all rookies make the mistake of thinking all animations are the same. Well, they’re different and so is their area of specialization. You have to niche down to stand a chance of excelling in your field. 

Do I Need to Know How to Draw to Be an Animator? 

Well, this is a bonus to this topic, but we just couldn’t ignore it considering the loud cry and concerns from upcoming animators. Well, to be clear, if you’re just getting started with animation, you ought to know that there’s 2D as well as 3D. When 2D was a force, everything involved with it, had to be drawn. But things have changed with 3D. 

3D doesn’t require a lot of hand drawing. Imagine if all those cartoons and characters in your favorite animation movies were drawn? The job is bound to get a bit stressful. Hence, you don’t need to be good at drawing to learn 3D animation. You only need to be creative with the tools you will be presented with, which are mostly digital. 

What matters is for you to be able to configure objects to move swiftly. In summary, if you will be learning 2D animations, you sure need to learn how to draw. However, it is 3D; you can give your pencils and all the other drawing tools a rest. The best 3D animators were everything but Leonardo da Vinci. Presently, 3D is entirely computer-based. 


If you’re not good with coding, there’s no need to feel like you won’t be a good animator. The best part of animation lies in how to make figures move interactively. Coding and drawing will always be peripheral.

If you’ve always wanted to learn 3D animation, it’s important to have a good understanding of how it works before jumping into it. We hope this guide was able to answer most of your questions and arm you with the confidence of launching a career in 3D animation.