Below is a list of some of the most popular digital tools used by today's visual effects artists. It is by no means a complete list. Tools are arranged by their parent company, since many companies make more than one product. Links will take you to the company's World Wide Web site.

For reviews and news on the latest software, be sure to visit Visual Magic at

3D Animation Systems
Makers of a wide range of products including Animator, Dynamation, Composer, among other programs.

Microsoft's Softimage is the industry standard in 3D animation.

Side Effects
Makers of the powerful 3D software, Prisms and Houdini.

Pixar's Renderman is the essential CG renderer.

Electric Image
ElectricImage is simply the most powerful, fastest 3D Macintosh system available.

The makers of LightWave 3D, the excellent multi-platform 3D system.

Creators of 3D Studio MAX R2, the popular and affordable 3D animation system.

Dot C Software's photorealistic scanline renderer for UNIX and NT platforms.

Cinema Graphics' interactive shader authoring tool for Renderman and Mental Ray.

Film Scanning & Recording

Electron Filmworks provides digital input scanning and film recording services.

Celco has a line of eXtreme digital film recorders for visual effects needs.

Management Graphics' popular and precise film recorders.

Imagica's IMAGER3000V is one of the most recommended film scanners in the industry.

2D Animation & Compositing Systems
The ultimate bluescreen tool, Ultimatte is available for a wide range of systems.

Photron's Primatte is an extremely powerful chromakey system.

Discreet Logic
Makers of the highly popular, high-end image processing systems, Flame, Flint and Inferno.

The highlight of Quantel's image tools, Domino, is extremely popular among effects houses.

Interactive Effects
Makers of the powerful Amazon high-end paint program.

One of the pioneers of digital video, Avid makes the popular and powerful Elastic Reality, Matador and Media Illusion systems.

Silicon Grail
The makers of Chalice, a brand new high-rez compositing tool.

Makers of the essential Macintosh-based image tools, Photoshop and After Effects.

Puffin Designs' smart and intuitive painting/animation/roto tool, for Macintosh.

A fast, versatile compositing program by Nothing Real, for the SGI and NT platforms.

Silicon Graphics
SGI not only produces the SGI computers, which run the vast majority of visual effects software, but it also is the parent company of Alias/Wavefront.

Sun Microsystems
Providers of high-end computers.

Apple Computer
Makers of the Macintosh.

Digital Equipment Company
DEC's Alpha and RenderTowers are the risings star of the effects industry.


Viewpoint DataLabs
Viewpoint has a wide array of services for 3D projects, including stock 3D models and advanced scanning capabilities.

Scanlab Studios
3D scanning and digitizing facility for all your scanning needs. Located in the SF Bay area.

Pyromania 1, 2 and Pro are CD-ROMs filled with high-quality, royalty-free explosions and fire elements. A review of the Pyromania series.

NVision provides laser scanning services, hi/low res polygon and NURBs models for high-end CG work.

Don't forget about the visual effects newsgroup: alt.movies.visual-effects.

. . VFX HQ Produced by Todd Vaziri . . . . e-mail: . .
All text Copyright © 1998 Todd Vaziri, unless otherwise noted