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3 top plugins for 3D artists' toolkits

Which 3D plugins are the best on the market? That's a difficult question to answer definitively, but what we can tell you is which ones artists like the most. That's because every year, the CG Awards (opens in new tab) sees the industry vote for their favourite tech. And in the Best New Plugin category, these are the plugins tools that came out on top in 2014.

This year's awards – which honour both software and the artists that use it – are now open for nominations (details here (opens in new tab)), so you can nominate your favourites today at thecgawards.com (opens in new tab).

In the meantime, here are the plugins that were voted overall winner and runners up, respectively, in last year's awards...

01. NevronMotion (LightWave)

The tool that's democratising the motion-capture process

The tool that's democratising the motion-capture process

NevronMotion (opens in new tab) is a motion retargeting plug-in for LightWave (opens in new tab) with support for Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensor. This app enables you to quickly and easily capture, adjust and retarget motion data to 3D models inside LightWave.

NevronMotion also enables you to load common motion capture files in .fbx or .bvh format and easily retarget the motion onto their characters directly in Layout. You can then quickly adjust any of the character rig joints in areas such as the shoulders or arms to compensate for any joint placement inaccuracies and bake out their final animation directly to their character rig.

The cost of motion capture has traditionally put it out of the reach of many individual artists and smaller studios. According to Rob Powers, president of NewTek’s Lightwave Group, it was the company’s goal to change that trend with NevronMotion and make it possible for any artist to benefit from motion capture in their projects.

Next page: the next great plugin

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