Best VFX Application – Part Two - Seamedu
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Best VFX Application – Part Two

This is Part Two of the Best VFX Application Series. To read Part One, click here.

2D / 3D / Compositing Software-


Whether you’re a single shot compositor or working across projects end to end, you can find all the tools you need to get the job done fast, without quality compromise, in NUKE STUDIO, NUKEX or NUKE


Foundry’s Nuke

Nuke provides state of the art tools designed to streamline day to day workflow and ensure highest quality results fast. Get the visual result you want while retaining the power and flexibility to solve any production challenge. Nuke X combines the core functionality of NUKE with an “out of the box” toolkit to exclusive functionality, removing the need to roundtrip to other applications. Nuke X has it all built right in including a camera tracker, model builder, particle system and much more. Nuke Studio is a powerful node based VFX, editorial and finishing studio designed to empower creative individuals working independently as well as collaborative teams working on quick-turnaround projects in a way that’s previously never been possible.


Foundry’s Nuke

For studios and artists a node-locked or floating license version of Nuke will cost 4274$. For NukeX it will amount to 7998$ and for Nuke Studio it will cost 9331$. This includes maintenance for 1st year. Additionally the cost of the product can be split into 12 monthly payments which will get Nuke at 356.16$, NukeX at 666.50$, and Nuke Studio at 777.58$.


The non-commercial license of the application is also available for use. Mainly for learning, hobbyists, experimentation and research. You can grab it here and here


With MARI, 3D painting has never been more fluid or flexible. It has some really cool features like Texture mapping, Advanced layering, Realistic interactive preview, Complex geometry handling and color management. MARI is an intuitive and natural tool that the artists can master in no time.


Foundry’s MARI


Foundry’s MARI


Foundry’s MARI

You can buy a node-locked or floating license for 2032$. You can also rent the application for 585$ for a quarter of a year. The rent changes accordingly for increased quarterly duration. You can try the application for 15 days for free here.


Photoshop is probably the most famous image editing application ever. There is no one in the whole world who doesn’t know about it. Developed by Adobe, it boasts powerful features like artboards, layering, combining multiple images, remove objects, retouch photos, make 2D compositions with 3D models, and tons more, no wonder it is the world’s best imaging and design application and is at the core of almost every creative project. You can even work across desktop and mobile devices to create and enhance your photographs, website and mobile application designs, 3D artwork, videos and more.



Adobe’s Photoshop

You can buy the photography bundle of Adobe Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC for only 119$ annually. Be sure to try the product first by clicking here.


GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program is a freely distributed application for retouching photos, image composition and image authoring. You can use it as a simple paint application,  as an expert quality photo retouching application, as an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.





The application is expandable and extensible. It is designed to be augmented with plug-ins and extensions to do just about anything. It also has advanced scripting capabilities (Scheme, Python, Perl) and an awesome community to back it up. There are over 100 plug-ins already available here. It is a freely available software and can be downloaded from here.


Invaluable in post-production, Silhouette continues to bring best-of-class tools to the visual effects industry. It has powerful features like rotoscoping, non-destructive paint, keying, matting, warping, morphing, and 2D-3D conversion tools. It runs like a well oiled machine.



The standard nodelocked or floating Silhouette v5 is up for purchase at 1495$. The S3D option (for 2D-3D conversion) is an add-on that requires a Silhouette license to run and is available for 3995$.



Additionally, you can rent the application for 250$ only for a floating license. The S3D option is also available at 650$ rent. There is a 15 day trial version included in the base software itself. Checkout the download page here.



You can use mental ray standalone 3D rendering software to produce high-quality, high-volume renderings for complex film, television, and design visualization projects in less time. It works with Maya, 3ds Max, providing flexibility and simplicity for studios with mixed-application pipelines. It is a industry-standard 3D rendering software. Some of its features are physically accurate lighting, robust shading language, single sampling mechanism, etc.







As with every Autodesk product, you can buy the software on subscription basis from here




V-Ray offers state-of-the-art rendering technology for your most demanding projects. Production proven, cutting edge features and lightning fast, V-Ray is ready to take your renders to the next level. With extremely powerful features like ray traced rounded corners, triplanar mapping, stochastic flakes, Hosek sky and Aerial perspective, V-Ray is here to stay.



You can buy V-Ray 3.3 for Maya for 995$. Also check out all the other applications that V-Ray works with here


Renderman has been Pixar’s core rendering technology for over 25 years, and has been developed to meet the ever increasing challenges of 3D animation and visual effects. Today, RenderMan has been completely modernized, with a state-of-the-art ray tracing architecture that’s setting new standards for speed and memory efficiency. With powerful features such as Denoiser, Visualizer Integrator, Marschner Hai, Physical Camera, etc. It is a force to be reckoned with. Since, it is owned and developed by Pixar, there are tons of movies where Renderman has been used. You need to check this list here for the complete works.


Pixar’s Renderman


Pixar’s Renderman

You can buy Renderman single license for 495$. The license can be used either for batch rendering or for rendering with an artist seat. It can also be floated across a network. Check out the purchase page here. You can get Renderman for free for non-commercial usage too. What does that entail? It includes anything such as evaluations, personal learning, experimentation, research, and the development of tools and plug-ins for RenderMan. You can check it out here.


Arnold is an advanced ray tracing renderer built for the demands of feature-length animation and visual effects. It is used at over 300 studios worldwide and was the primary renderer on dozens of films such as the 2006 Academy Award Nominee Monster House, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Pacific Rim, Gravity, etc. It is available as a standalone renderer for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X, with plug-ins for Maya, Houdini, Cinema 4D, etc.





A permanent node-locked version of Arnold is available for 790$. It is limited to 2 licenses per company/freelancer. A permanent floating license of Arnold is available for 1220$ which must be hosted using an RLM license server and can be distributed to multiple clients. A temporary floating license for Arnold can also be purchased for 7.5$/day but there is a minimum order value of 390$ for this rental. Check out the purchase page here

You can also get a 15 day trial version of Arnold and use it to it’s full capabilities to render without a watermark but the use of the watermarked output for commercial use is strictly prohibited. You can get it here

This is Part Two of the most widely used VFX applications. Continue reading the next part here.

In good faith, this article contains fair use of copyrighted and non-copyrighted images from the public domain and the web for educational purposes. All Images are the property of their rightful owners. We are not responsible for any damage, intentional or otherwise, that may or may not arise from this article.

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