VFX Software You Should Know

Written by

VFX Software You Should Know

Written by

VFX Software You Should Know

Gaining a qualification in VFX is important, however so is developing your skills in the major softwares that VFX recruiters look out for. We have listed some of the main softwares that you should be aware of and practice, we have also provided links to their free/discounted license or trial.

You don’t need to know the "ins" and "outs" of the software, but it is good to get some practice.



Nuke is a node based digital software used for VFX compositing. It is developed by The Foundry and used for Television and Film post production. The Foundry offer a free Nuke-non commercial compositing, editing and finishing software. This allows you to practice and develop your skills in your own time. Click here to access the free student/educational software.


Flame is an advanced 3D visual effects, compositing and finishing software. The software is developed by Autodesk and they provide students with free access to flame software in addition to learning tools. Click here to access the free software.


After Effects

After effects is commonly used by designers as it is  a digital visual effects, motion graphics and compositing application. It is developed by Adobe and commonly used in post production for film making and television. Adobe offers a free seven day trial, click [here](https://www.adobe.com/uk/products/aftereffects/free-trial-download.html)

Cinema 4D (C4D)

Cinema 4D is a 3D modelling, motion graphic, rendering and animation application. C4D is developed by maxon, and they offer a free licence for students looking to learn the software. Click here to check it out.


Photoshop is a graphics editor software typically used by the design team in VFX. The software is developed and published by Adobe Systems for macOS and Windows. Adobe offer a free trial and discounted rates for students, click here for access.  



Maya is a 3D computer graphic application, used for animation, modelling, simulation and rendering. The software is developed and owned by autodesk and they provide free softwares for students. Click here to access the free software.

Marvellous Designer (MD)

MD is a 3D design tool for clothes and fabrics, used in animated film and videos game development for 3D character design, 3D art and 3D models. Marvellous designer have a free 30 day trial period and then you will have to pay a fee for the product. Click here to access the trial.

Z Brush

ZBrush is a digital sculpting tool that combines 3D/2.5D modelling, texturing and painting. The software is used for creating high resolution models for use in movies, games and animations. Pixologic offer discounted educational licences for students, click here for access.


Houdini is a 3D animation and visual effects, node based procedural worklow application that is commonly used in games, film and TV production. Houdini is developed and owned by SideFX, and they offer Houdini Apprentice, which is a free version which can be used by students and artist for non commercial projects. Click here to access the free licence.