I’ve used a lot of really great (and not so great) design-related products over the years, and this page exists to bring attention to the products that I depend on – and love – the most. Note that I’ll be adding content to this page often, so be sure to check back on a regular basis to see what tools I’m using most frequently.
My core set of design tools
These three products are the ones I’ve been depending on for years, and each one of them has helped me tremendously. They have been integral part of building my business, and I depend on them each and every day to help me realize my ideas.
Photostore by Ktools.net
Long time followers of mine know that I’ve been running my own stock illustration store since 2007, and I could have never done it without Photostore from Ktools.net. Although my store is currently offline for a complete reorganization and overhaul (it will be back), I’ve had great success selling my own images with this pre-built photo selling script. I’ve tried a lot of competing products over the years, and none of them work right out the box like Photostore does. It just works. And the best part? Jon and Jeff (the guys behind ktools.net) stand behind their product 100% and offer some of the best customer support I’ve ever experienced online. That is very important, as it allows me to focus all my efforts on content creation instead of having to deal with website issues.
FormZ by AutoDesSys
99% of the 3d illustrations you see on my blog were created in FormZ. Although I have extensive experience in more mainstream 3d tools such as Maya and 3ds Max, FormZ is still my go-to program for 3d rendering for one simple reason: simplicity. Other tools such as Maya can be horribly complex for simple 3d renderings, but FormZ’s modeling and rendering tools are set up perfectly for the kind of work that I do. It’s a very lightweight program with the power to create beautiful renderings in a fraction of the time that it would take me in Maya or 3ds Max.
Wacom Intous 5 drawing tablet
My career as a designer took a huge turn for the better after purchasing my first Wacom tablet in early 2006. To be honest, I didn’t even like it at first because it was so hard to get used to. But I powered through the learning curve and I would be completely lost without my current Intuous 5 – especially when it comes to creating airliner art and car illustrations. There’s no way I could do either of those things without the precision and control I can achieve by using a drawing tablet, and the customizable buttons on the Intuous speed up my workflow by allowing me to eliminate the keyboard completely as I’m drawing (which is a huge plus).
Stock photo websites
It was at Dreamstime where I launched the Norebbo brand back in 2006, and I had the most success selling my 3d illustrations there than anywhere else. I found their management and support team to be the most fair of all the major online stock photo agencies, and for that reason alone, it’s the only place where I buy stock photos today. It’s also the only place I can confidently recommend to other artists and photographers who are looking to sell their own work.