Free And Open Source Software

There is an awful lot of really nice free software and utilities out there. This is a list that is compiled against a great thread on CgSociety. I pulled things that I am looking forward to try out as well as things I have been using myself. All of the links on this page are Windows compatible as that is my main work environment.

As far as general free software, check out Ninite – a fantastic installer. Gather and install them all at once. It will skip toolbars and other junk that comes with installers. It will also get you the 64 bit version if available.
Tech artists in the 3d field today are enjoying life thanks to Python, Eclipse and a host of free libraries that empowers us (see my Eclipse Python and Maya post).

Now to the lists:

An Ivy GeneratorIvy Generator
Arbaro Tree GeneratorTree Generator
ngPlantPlant Modeler
BlenderThe most popular open source 3d package out there…
Wings3dSub D modeler
LuxRenderPhysically based, unbiased render engine
MeshmixerCompose new 3d models from existing meshes
ShapeShopDrag-and-drop 3d parts to quickly assemble seamless smooth surfaces.
RenderManRenderman is now free for non-commercial purposes
3D Utilities
sIblSmart Image Based Lighting. Rocks!
nDoLegacy version is free. Create normal maps inside Photoshop.
xNormalNormal map, AO, displacement generation/baking
PapagayoLip Sync Reference
GimpLike Photoshop
PS Shortcuts for GIMPMake it even more like Photoshop
MapZoneOwned by Allegorithmic. Procedural Compositing Graph Editor for file texture building.
Paint.netImage Editor
SumopaintOpen Sumo Paint – upload and paint right in the browser
MyPaintPaint program
IrfanviewImage Viewer and utility
PicasaImage viewer and utility
Luminance HDROpen source GUI that provides workflow for HDR imaging
GiftedMotionSimple to use Gif animation
IncscapeLike Illustrator
DJV ImagingProfessional movie playback for film production, VFX and computer animation
VLCMultimedia Player (It plays everything)
AvidemuxFree video editor for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks.
MediaInfoHandy utility to display technical and tag info about a video or audio file
MiroVideoConverterSuper simple video converter. Easily get your stuff into Android, iOS
FusionHigh end node based compositor. Now free...
Game Engine
UnrealEngine4Now free...
UnityAlso Free...
AudacityFree cross platform sound editor
Google DocsIn the cloud documents , spreadsheets, presentations, drawings and forms
Open OfficeOffice software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphis, databases and more
OS Utilities
CD BurnerXPBurns CDs, DVDs, Blue Ray’s, Create ISOs
HyperCamScreen Capture & Recording
SyncToyGreat tool for file syncing. Can be scheduled and command line run. Don’t back off because it is MS – it is good
Areca BackupOpen source back up utility
FileRenamerMulti file re-namer
Bulk Rename UtiliityPowerful multi file re-namer with a staggering amount of options

I will do my best to maintain this list as I come across new, interesting (and free) software.
/Christian Akesson

2 replies
  1. Craig L.
    Craig L. says:

    Nice list, that tree generator produces great results.

    Also had a question about some of the screenshots in your technical art gallery for vanguard, did you hand paint the visibility of the different terrain materials or use a noise generator to do that?

    • cakesson
      cakesson says:

      Which tree generator did you try? Arbaro or ngPlant? Feel free to post link to result if you put any online.

      In Vanguard, the terrain materials were painted. Each material had a layer with a mask for the 2 x 2 km chunk. You could open the resulting mask in Photoshop and run filters on mask/material borders and such for procedural results. With the size Vanguard was it would not have been possible to hand paint all the details.


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