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Google's new 3D tool is fun, creative and surprisingly useful

Google animation tool
(Image credit: Google)

Another day, another Google tool to discuss. And this one is a 3D animation tool, making it particularly relevant to the creative community. Hurrah! Yup, Google's latest offering is a tool which simplifies the animation process – making the artform more accessible for anyone wanting to have a go. Surprisingly, though, it's also a super-useful tool for professionals. Disbelieving? Bear with us and we'll explain.

As 3D artists know, creating animations is a time-consuming process, which requires a bunch of complex animation tools and more than a smidgen of know-how. Even playing with different concepts takes hours of intensive modelling, rigging and animating – and this is the part Google wants to help with.

Google says its Monster Mash tool is a 'casual' way of accessing animation, much like a sketchbook. As its blog says, other forms of art have simple ways of trying out different ideas – 'a classical guitarist might jam without any written music, a trained actor could ad-lib a line or two while rehearsing, and an oil painter can jot down a quick gesture drawing' – and this browser-based tool brings the same sentiment to 3D modelling. 

And it's oodles of fun, too, meaning it is also a brilliant exercise for young artists or anyone wanting to flex their creative muscles. But how does it work? Well, working on the premise that 3D animation is comprised of an 'ordered set of overlapping 2D regions', the user sketches onto the canvas in 2D and then the algorithm takes over, transforming the sketch into a moving animation the user can grab and move in real time. See below for the two-step process, and find out more on Google's AI blog.

Step one:

Step two:

So whether you're using it to sketch out your 3D ideas, or getting your kids hooked on animating, we hope you find it useful. Want more Google AR fun? Tunnel to the other side of the Earth with the Floom tool, or have a play with the roar-some dinosaur AR tool. Then get some work done.

Need new kit? Try our pick of the best drawing tablets for animation.

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