A few inquiries for an indie studio.

Hello every one , i hope all of you are doing well :slight_smile:

This place was very friendly and informative the last time i asked something , i hope ill get the same response this time as well.
I am a member of a small group of indie devs that are looking for a good engine and software’s to work with , unreal really seemed like the best choice to us thanks to its pricing.

Now the real question is , being indie we obviously do not have very deep pockets so 3ds max or even maya LT ( due to its limitations ) are out of the question .
we gave thought to allot of programs but there are shortcomings in most of them , we would like to know what most of you indie people use and why ? here is the list along with reason to consider/ not consider it.

3d creation and animation :

Maya LT ( polygonal limit as well as other limitations compared to other solutions )

MODO indie ( polygonal limit is fine 100k but limitations such as work sharing , export formats , licensing require full purchase at a small profit margin and the full version cost is outrageous )

Houdini Indie ( not much in my knowledge about it )

Textures :

Substance painter & designer

Quixel Suite ( requires Photoshop )

I would like to know what software combinations do you guys use for 3d asset creation , Animation and texturing and why ? As well as what would be the best options from these stated above ?

Blender 2.7+ works pretty good…Gimp for textures…Why?..They are both free and work well with UE4…UE4 requires a learning curve but is the best option if your group is serious about making a game…


Maya LT and Photoshop :wink:

Polygon restriction doesn’t matter as you are using Unreal Engine, right? With the newest update there is a “Send to Unreal Button” which allows you to export without an polycount limit.

As for the price, you can get a subscription license for 250 euros per year. Isn’t really that much.

Same with the Adobe Suite/Photoshop.

I recommend you to check out MODO indie again with tight budget.
About licensing:

What other formats do you want for your pipeline? Oo

However, without direct sharing files it really bites :confused:

Also, you can try monthly subscription of 3dsMax, but I don’t know the price exactly, because website does not work correctly for me =/

I use Blender 2.7 in combination with GIMP → both programs are free + they can do the same as photoshop/3ds max/… + in my opinion they are easy to use :slight_smile:

Some of Quixel’s old versions are free:

Fast terrain sculpting app-

Personally I have always hated character/rigging tools, so I want to look at using splines or plain rotated arm pieces for quick and dirty character animation…

Houdini Indie is available for Mac and Windows, and a plugin for Houdini Engine is coming out soon.
-No poly limits
-FBX Import/Export Supported
-Daily builds available (get fresh bugfixes as they happen)
-$199/yr (which works out to less than 20/mo)
-license works as Houdini Engine license as well
-onboard node-base compositor/image processing
-active user forum

Here’s a link to The Chart:
Basically, you get everything Houdini FX gives you, but you’re limited to a $100k gross income per year commercial use and resolution of your rendered animations is capped at 1920x1080. Of course, there’s fine print- there always is, but the product is designed to let you unload both barrels of Houdini’s power as an indie artist or dev without the usual high price of admission.

Maya + Cinema 4D

For modeling and animation. Nothing else works as smoothly with Unreal as Maya (and even that’s rough at times).

Anything with FBX support

I’ve been using Blender 2.74 and Photoshop, although GIMP would work just fine and I’m probably going to start using it rather than Photoshop soon. You can’t beat free unless it’s total trash, which it certainly is not.

Blender is amazing, but it’s a bit quirky figuring out the export settings on both the Blender side and UE4 side. Once you got those figured out there doesn’t seem to be too many issues. I have never rigged in Maya or 3DS but I really like Blender’s rigging tools.

And there’s always a learning curve of course no matter what you’re using.

I’m also experiencing some issues with the physics bodies coming in all kinds of jacked up on import. From what I gather there’s a workaround for that, but I haven’t gotten to the point where I need collision ironed out real solid in my game yet.

As an artist, I’ve been using Substance Designer a lot more than Photoshop lately to make tiling textures, it’s refreshing using a program designed for making textures. If you gave me the choice of Photoshop or Substance and Gimp, I’d easily pick Substance and Gimp even though I’ve never used Gimp.

Just found out that the Substance indie package has a new pricing model. You can pay monthly and pause the subscription at any time. Then after 16 months, it’s yours. Seems like a great deal.

Hmm i reckon you need to pay the total amount of 16months. Not get 1 month, pause it 15 months and get the software.


  • Personally, after getting used to it, i find Blender better than 3dsMax (that i worked in for long time, before switching to Blender) - for example, when making characters, auto weighting in Blender does amazing job (only little fixing needed), where in 3dsMax, default Skin modifier was really weak and usually (without expensive plugins) i’ve must spend very much time fixing bad weights. Working with animations (keyframes, actions…) is also really good. Blender also starts like ~10 times faster, it’s really lightweight and stable. Additionally, when you overcome the quite ‘unique’ UI of Blender and learn some hotkeys, 3D modeling (and asset preparing in general) becomes even faster. That’s my… “first couple of months impressions” :slight_smile:

Basically it’s any amount you’ve spent on subscriptions can be put towards a full license. You don’t have to worry about throwing away your money with a subscription fee.