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Generally, pseudo-3D is great for still images, but for animations, a 3D software package is more practical. Using a simple rendering package can bring 3D within your reach. Of course, such packages may not render as well or as quickly as high-end products, but they will give you 3D capability to some extent. Another advantage to cheap 3D renderers is that playing with them develops skills which continue to be relevant when working with expensive 3D animation packages.
Examples of free or dirt-cheap 3D packages include Asymmetrix 3Df/x, which used to come bundled with some Matrox video controllers (for PCs), the Mac freeware (CAD-style) package DesignWorkshop Lite, and Ray Dream (PC and Mac), which cost less than $100 at the time I bought it. No doubt there are other dirt-cheap 3D resources out there on the web. It should also be noted that if you actually have a little money to spend, there are some intermediate 3D packages out there that can be purchased for only hundreds of dollars instead of thousands.
This section of the site features images that were rendered using 3D software that was either dirt-cheap or free.
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