CG Cookie's Top (Not So) Secret Resources

I've asked our content crew what their Top 3 Favorite Online Resources are. These can be places that provide inspiration, are useful for learning, or just great places to find assets of any kind. Here they are: our top picks from around the web!

Jonathan Lampel's Top Picks

ArtStation: My place to get unstuck.

If I'm ever at a dead point with a project, I'll usually search ArtStation to see if anyone else has made something similar and try to learn something from how they may have approached a design or topology problem differently. 

Blender Market: Where I grab assets.

My go-to place if I need quick models to throw into a scene, or to find an addon that makes finishing a project a little easier. It's also just fun to browse and see what kind of creative ways people are solving production pain points. 

HDRI Haven: Makes my lighting perfect.

Scouring the internet for a HDR that fits a particular scene takes forever, but I can pretty much always find the right one here. At 16k resolution and 26 stops, they're also the highest quality I can find anywhere. Apparently Greg is now giving them all away for free, so be sure to donate if you need one!

Kent Trammell's Top Picks

Pinterest. Where I grab inspiration.

I'm a big ArtStation fan like Lampel, but I usually end up saving my favorite images from ArtStation over to Pinterest. It's great for organizing images into categories that I can easily reference later or share with someone. Also Pinterest does well suggesting similar images to those that you pin, so it can expose you to new images that you may not find otherwise.

The VFX Show: A podcast that gets me pumped.

I've listened to this podcast for years. The primary host is Mike Seymour with 1-2 guests usually, all of which are seasoned Hollywood pros and veterans.  Each episode they focus on the VFX of a particular movie. It's a very interesting and insightful look into the art of movie making from the perspective of 3D artists. It's chocked full of tidbits and nuggets about what it takes to pull off humanity's most impressive visual effects.

Pixabay/ Pexels: My favorite hi-res CC-0 images resources.

Creative Commons imagery is a fantastic resource, especially if you like to be above reproach, legally speaking. Whether you're looking to photo-source a texture or grab a quick lens flare to overlay, Pixabay and Pexels have high-quality images at high-resolutions, all CC-0. I use this kind of CC imagery in nearly all my videos.

Jonathan Gonzalez's Top Picks

GDC Talks: Where I learn from the pros. 

If you've ever wanted to go to the Game Developers Conference but couldn't attend, the online talks are the next best thing. You'll get to view hours of talks from top professionals in the gaming industry. Everything from Cuphead's infamous animation process to the game design principles behind The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I often view various talks when I'm stumped and want to learn how the pros approached a process. These talks are sometimes technical, sometimes more high level, but they always leave me feeling like I learned some grand new technique to try myself. We here at CGCookie have also reference this talk from a senior Destiny animator on the Art of Destiny's First Person Animation as a way to guide how we should model our own first person shooter animations and movements.

GameTextures: My favorite place for high quality textures.

Their texture library is increasing every day with plenty to choose from and I've collected a fairly vast amount of textures from them. If you're looking to try them out you can sign up for a free account and get 3 free downloads. Not only are their textures high quality, but they also work well with programs like Substance Painter and they even provide Substance Painter specific texture sets. 

HackNplan: Keeps teamwork on track.

During our game development process on various projects we had a hard time trying to keep things on track in terms of when something should be done, proper tracking of that task(s) and how to organize what needs to be done in what stage. After much going back and forth we decided to venture out and find something that would be suitable for game development management and we found HackNplan.

This site is great for small teams (or solo developers) who want a simple and easy to use project management software to keep track of specific milestones which include specific tasks to complete with deadlines. We've used this as a team and I've also used it to manage smaller projects. It details quite a bit and is specific to game development, so you can write up tasks for programming or art, assign them to someone, set deadlines and determine milestones for your game project. It's a great way to stay on track and organized when building a game.

What did we miss? Tell us your favorite secret resources in the comments!

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  • diaoheyhey

    Thanks for sharing! They are better than google : )

  • Jasmine Wongus (jazze)

    Thanks for those! Some are reminders for me to look for inspirations! I should try BlenderMarket for some placeholder models, because one day I'd like to make my own props and such!

    PureRef is also good, I hear! I haven't used mine much yet, but great for organizing references in various ways. Also, folks are using Trello a lot. I only learned about Trello from some CGC'ers, and my best bud and I are using it, too! Great for organizing a project with text and images!

  • crew
    Jonathan Gonzalez (jgonzalez)

    jjazze We were initially going to use Trello, but it was limited. We used Basecamp initially which allowed us to create todos and have conversations, which was more than what Trello could offer so we found HackNPlan which gave us everything we had with Basecamp but made specifically for game projects. It also has a lot of unique features that we haven't utilized like specific stats of how long the project is taking.

  • Jasmine Wongus (jazze)

    jgonzalez, Oh, cool! I'll have to see what that one's about!

  • Jasmine Wongus (jazze)

    Rather, I'll have to see how it works! I can't use it yet, myself, but sounds really good!

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