Digital media practice involves a software investigation

Researching the technology and software used in visual media, will help understand how you can develop as an artist. So far we have explored 2d graphics with Illustrator a vector graphic software, Photoshop  a bitmap graphic software, with both packages we have looked at importing others work to create an image. Choosing the right 3d package depends on your investigation into what you want to do, you won’t by Hudini if  design packaging . This page “Digital media practice: 3d software investigation”, gives a head-start by listing a few 3d software packages you can use to research the different production fields.

Digital Media is technologically driven; advances in computing (both software and hardware) have made possible for the visual media industry to work efficiently  giving their audience:

Photo realistic graphics (print media and web)
films (visual effects and animations)
Games that are engaging and addictive
Working with 3 d packages is advantageous in many ways:

Imagery can be created much faster than with photography; no fuss with  paying for studio, staff.
Products, characters and architectural projects can be created in a flash, with ease of updates, modification – MODELLING
Animation can be done within the software (all in one no, need to work with many software reducing production cost)
Software packages come with plugins and extra that help you light environments and scenes as well as create materials – LIGHTING AND SHADING
Exporting high-resolution image and movies is relatively easy (computer specs must be good)- RENDERING
Most 3d software are allowing to export in different file formats allowing to work with different software packages; if you make a motion graphic in Maxon cinema 4d you could export for use in Adobe
List of  3d software:

Maxon Cinema 4d

Maxon Cinema 4d, my favourite; it’s a no fuss package with a user-friendly interface, and loads of extra plugins. C4d is in my view excellent for motion graphics. Unfortunately it does not come cheap for students and teacher like the Autodesk packages. MAXON is a 3D modelling, painting, animation  software used in the film and game production, science, architecture, engineering and animation.

Digital media practice: 3d software investigation,
CINEMA 4D Demo Reel 2011-12

Complex motion graphics in the film Oblivion featuring Tom Cruise
Approximately 150 shots in Narnia use MAXON CINEMA 4D camera mapping

Digital media practice: 3d software investigation,
Approximately 150 shots in Narnia use MAXON CINEMA 4D camera mapping.

MTV  Berlin, Germany-based Sehsucht studios produced teasers for MTV’s 19th annual European Music Awards

Digital media practice: 3d software investigation,
MTV’s EMA 2012 show package, Zoetrop, exudes powerful creative energy. Sehsucht studios used CINEMA 4D to create the spot!


Autodesk, is the all teachers’ and students favourite because of the array of software it, and free to use for those working in the education sector and students. They make it easy for all of use to get experience with the packages without breaking the bank.  They are also offering cloud technology, you can work easily with the packages on the move. The best voted packages are part of the Autodesk suite (AutoCad/Maya)

Digital media practice: 3d software investigation,
Autodesk 2012 Games Show Reel

The array of packages from Autodesk:

Digital media practice: 3d software investigation,
Autodesk free software for education screenshot
  • Autocad
  • Maya
  • 3ds Max
  • Product Design Suite Ultimate
  • Building Design Suite Ultimate
  • And more

The good thing a about Autodesk, is that the company offers a student edition of most packages see the site for more information.

Ligtwave 3d

Ligtwave 3d package was quite famous in the early 90s has been use for an array of movies,  it’s an Award-Winning, modelling,  VFX and Animation software for Artists.  Lithgwave offers a discounted student  edition.

Digital media practice: 3d software investigation,
Digital media practice: 3d software investigation


specially known to be used for crowd generation for the film industry. See the list of movies using this package

Digital media practice: 3d software investigation,
Massive website banner screenshot


specific use – Architecture and landscape

Digital media practice: 3d software investigation,
Vue Reel 2012

Other packages;


Digital media practice: 3d software investigation,
Houdini Demo Reel 2012

Houdini is quite famous in the film industry and has different types of software packages.


The last version I tried was 12, it is really easy to create characters with this package. I used it in the 90’s along with Bryce to learn the basics of 3d. I don’t know a few people are trying to make people believe that the character they build are all made spending hours when the character clearly say “I was made in Poser”. Maybe this the trick of the trade, like IT programming.

Digital media practice: 3d software investigation,
Poser 3D Character Design & Animation Software | Official Demo Video

There is also a wide use of Open Source packages that are as good as the paid for ones:

Blender: comes with its own game development engine

Blender is the complete free and open source 3D production package, a strong competitor to 3D Studio Max, Maya. It’s also has its own game engine  (C++), and includes support for features such as Python scripting and OpenAL  3D sound.Official website:

Digital media practice: 3d software investigation,

Blender 2.5 ~ 2.6 Showreel

Unity 3d:

A 3d game engine and you can create your mobile technology app (game development) . To use for learning game development.

Digital media practice: 3d software investigation,
[Unity3D RPG] Project Kyrill 2012

And knowing one of the main stream packages is an added skill. I must warn you that they are other software packages in the industry but, these are out of reach to the commoner.