What software would I need to get to grips with in the games industry?

Escape Studios

Here's a few pointers in the right direction if you've ever dreamed of becoming a game artist. We've listed all of the software that you'd need to know if you worked not only for an established studio but also if you ever wanted to develop your own game too.

If you're looking for something and want to take that next step towards a career in game art, then check out our 12 and 18 week Video Game Art Production courses, where you'll learn all about the art of creating new characters and worlds from the pros! #GAMEON

Apply to be a Student Volunteer at Siggraph 2016. 
Apply to be a Student Volunteer at Siggraph 2016. 
Apply to be a Student Volunteer at Siggraph 2016. 
The SIGGRAPH 2016 Student Volunteer Program is a unique opportunity for students to engage in all areas of the conference while contributing behind-the-scenes to the overall success of this prestigious event. The benefits of being a Student Volunteer extend beyond the free full conference registration and include:
The SIGGRAPH 2016 Student Volunteer Program is a unique opportunity for students to engage in all areas of the conference while contributing behind-the-scenes to the overall success of this prestigious event. The benefits of being a Student Volunteer extend beyond the free full conference registration and include:
The SIGGRAPH 2016 Student Volunteer Program is a unique opportunity for students to engage in all areas of the conference while contributing behind-the-scenes to the overall success of this prestigious event. The benefits of being a Student Volunteer extend beyond the free full conference registration and include:
The SIGGRAPH 2016 Student Volunteer Program is a unique opportunity for students to engage in all areas of the conference while contributing behind-the-scenes to the overall success of this prestigious event. The benefits of being a Student Volunteer extend beyond the free full conference registration and include:
The SIGGRAPH 2016 Student Volunteer Program is a unique opportunity for students to engage in all areas of the conference while contributing behind-the-scenes to the overall success of this prestigious event. The benefits of being a Student Volunteer extend beyond the free full conference registration and include:
The SIGGRAPH 2016 Student Volunteer Program is a unique opportunity for students to engage in all areas of the conference while contributing behind-the-scenes to the overall success of this prestigious event. The benefits of being a Student Volunteer extend beyond the free full conference registration and include:
The SIGGRAPH 2016 Student Volunteer Program is a unique opportunity for students to engage in all areas of the conference while contributing behind-the-scenes to the overall success of this prestigious event. The benefits of being a Student Volunteer extend beyond the free full conference registration and include:
The SIGGRAPH 2016 Student Volunteer Program is a unique opportunity for students to engage in all areas of the conference while contributing behind-the-scenes to the overall success of this prestigious event. The benefits of being a Student Volunteer extend beyond the free full conference registration and include:
The SIGGRAPH 2016 Student Volunteer Program is a unique opportunity for students to engage in all areas of the conference while contributing behind-the-scenes to the overall success of this prestigious event. The benefits of being a Student Volunteer extend beyond the free full conference registration and include:

What software would you need to use?

Software varies quite a bit between studios, and what you need to know is that it will ultimately depend on which part of the pipeline you’re hoping to work in, but most game devs will be using Maya, 3ds Max or MODO for modelling and animation, Substance Painter or Quixel for texture painting and probably Houdini for effects, particles and simulations. You’ll also sometimes use ZBrush for high-poly character sculpting. Before it gets to those stages, though, the concept art team will have done their thing in probably ZBrush, 3ds Max or Maya, with some Photoshop for still images.

Is there different software for the different types of jobs within video games? 

Yes, there is. As mentioned above, modelling tools will include Maya, 3ds Max, MODO and ZBrush. Common texturing tools for games are Substance Painter, Substance Designer, Quixel and more. Rigging and animation will most often happen in Maya or 3ds Max. Visual effects, simulations and
dynamics will be done in Houdini for the most part. Lighting and rendering happen in real-time in a studio's game engine of choice. Some bigger studios use proprietary engines, but examples of popular third-party game engines are Unreal Engine, Unity and CryEngine. Recent additions to this list are Amazon Lumberyard and Autodesk Stingray – neither of these have been used for AAA projects yet, but are geared more towards indie developers at the moment.

What software would I need to use to create my own video game? 

If you wanted to create your own game right now, your toolkit might include the following:

- Blender (free, open-source 3D art tool that can be used for basically anything. Also has its own game engine)
- Maya LT (version of Autodesk Maya geared towards game artists)
- ZBrush Core
- Houdini Indie
- MODO Indie
- MARI Indie
- Substance Painter
- Unity
- Unreal Engine
- Lumberyard
- Stingray

If you're ready to take the next steps and begin your game art career then book your place on one of our short courses here!