This is a list of tools that I found useful and on my desktop. From the very expensive to the very free. I’ll build this over time, so check back often.

  • Maya
  • What can I say, this package does it all. All 3d packages have strengths and weaknesses. So I use 3ds Max, Lightwave and Maya. But overall my preference has to be Maya. It is also extremely flexible and programmable. It is my favorite package to animate in. There is so much to this package and so many options that it’s strength can become it’s weakness. The trick is to play with it… a lot.
  • Sound Forge
  • I know I probably should have upgraded by now (I think they are at version 8.0), but my version of Sound Forge XP 4.0 serves me just fine. It’s a great little application that lets you manipulate sound files. There is now an introductory or ‘entry-level’ product called Sound Forge Audio Studio that replaces my XP version. I don’t use it very often, but when I need to trim sound files, convert the sound file to a different format, or even tweak the voices to sound a bit different, I would be lost without it!
  • Plastic Animation Paper
  • Plastic Animation Paper (PAP) is a software package for doing 2D animation. Actually, I have discovered that it is indispensible in 3d animation as well as 2d animation. My workflow consists of using PAP to create my thumbnails for my 3d character animations. Once I have them in PAP I can flip through them just like a 2d animation – this gives me a good idea of how my poses work together. It’s toolset is geared toward the sketching aspect of 2d – so there is no colorizing tool subset. There is a free demo – so what are you waiting for?
  • Where Is It?
  • This one is a no brainer. If you have more than 10 CDs or DVDs of backups, or 300 folders on your drive (this is only one of my drives!), then it is a good idea to catalog the content so you can easily search for specific files.
    From the tool webpage: WhereIsIt is an application written for 32-bit Windows operating systems, designed to help you maintain and organize a catalog of your computer media collection, including CD-ROMs, audio CDs, diskettes, removable drives, hard drives, network drives, DVDs, or any other media that Windows can access as a drive. The most basic goal for WhereIsIt is to provide access to the contents of any media you have from a cataloged database, even if the media itself is not available on the system – you can browse lists of files and folders, search by any criteria, use descriptions, thumbnails, categories, flags, etc.
  • Knoppix
  • If you like Linux or ever wanted to play around with it without messing up your current Windows installation, you can burn a CD or DVD with Knoppix (Debian Kernel 2.6.17) and then boot from the CD or DVD! It’s a neat way to be able to learn/play/work with Linux without worrying about dual boot or having an extra machine to load Linux on… the only real requirement is having a bootable CD or DVD player.

Related Links