This is a somewhat complete collection of all the software commonly used by professional 3D artists, categorized by which step of the workflow it’s used for. Software marked with a lable are ones I especially love and recommend using.

Modeling and Sculpting Software

Texturing Software

  • Substance Painter (Texturing, Baking)
  • Marmoset Toolbag (Baking, Texturing, Rendering)
  • Quixel Mixer (Texturing, Baking)
  • 3d-Coat (Hand Painted Texturing)
  • ZBrush
  • Material Maker (Procedural Texturing)
  • Substance Designer (Procedural Texturing)
  • Mari (A very powerful texturing software great for high resolution and realistic texturing. Mostly used in the film industry.)
  • Bodypaint 3D
  • Materialize (Generate other maps from one image)
  • NormalMap-Online (Can extract normal, displacement and AO map from height or image map)
  • Procreate _(Hand Painted Texturing. Quite new but worth a look, especially because it’s currently the only way to properly texture 3D models on tablets. Just don’t expect many features. Apple only)

Clothing Software

Hair Software

Environment Art Software

Other Software

Render Engines

Digital Drawing Software

Video Editing Software

Game Engines

  • Unreal Engine
  • Unity (Don’t underestimate Unity, it’s more and more able to achieve graphical fidelity on the level of Unreal Engine)
  • Godot (Used a simple to learn Python like language, better suited for indie and 2D projects)
  • Bevy (A relatively new and quite interesting game engine, with a focus on indie, but it brings quite a lot of innovation to the table)

Personal Reference Art Libraries

Reference Art Boards

Color Palette Creators

Software Used in Studios

This chart gives a nice feel of what software is used, but be aware, that one doesn’t need to be proficient in all the software a studio uses, to be hired there, as studios mainly hire based on skill as an artist and less so what software one is good at, one can always learn new software on a fly. Riot Games for example mainly uses 3D Coat for texturing, but there are artists at Riot, that use Substance Painter for hand painted texturing instead, because that’s what they’re more familiar with. Studios also often vary the software based on the project at hand.

I won’t mention ZBrush and Photoshop, as every single studio no matter if game or film uses them.

Game Studios:

Riot GamesMaya - 3D Coat - Photoshop - Unity - Rizom UV
CapcomRizom UV
CD Project RedRizom UV
BlizzardRizom UV
UbisoftRizom UV
Square Enix
From Software
Naughty Dog
id software

Other 3D Studios:

AxisMaya - 3Ds Max - Blender - Mari - Arnold - Houdini - Nuke - SideFX - Marvelous Designer - Substance Painter/ Designer - Marmoset Toolbag - 3D Coat