Want to know what my favorite design-related products and services are? This is the page for you! I depend on a lot of cool websites and gadgets in my day to day life as a visual designer, so I thought it would be good to list all of those out into separate sections and share them with everyone. Please keep in mind that this list is considered to be a living document, and it’s always changing as I discover new things.

Stock Photos

I used to be a major contributor to all the major online stock photo agencies with my 3d renderings, but these days, I’m a buyer only. These are the stock photo sites I buy from the most:

dreamstime.com logo
Dreamstime.com: This is the agency I’ve been with the longest, I like their management team the best, so it’s only natural that I purchase most of my stock images through them. Their pricing structures are very easy to understand, and as an ex-contributor myself, I really like that they provide one of the best royalty rates to their contributors. That’s really important these days, as it seems like most of the other major agencies (who shall remain nameless) spend all their time trying to nickel and dime their contributors to death. How are they going to attract top talent if they don’t take care of their own?
shutterstock.com logo
Shutterstock.com: If I can’t find what I’m looking for on Dreamstime, Shutterstock is where I go next. They have the largest collection of stock photos on the web, so it’s rare for me leave empty-handed. Shutterstock is also slightly less-restrictive than the other agencies in terms of what they will accept from their contributors, so that means more choices for buyers. Keep in mind that less restriction does not equal a lower quality database of images – the shutterstock collection is top-notch and there are thousands of photos and illustrations for any topic you can imagine.

Free Stock Photos

It seems everyone is looking for free stock photos these days, but I try to avoid using them as much as possible. The quality is much lower than what you’d get a major agency, and the licensing issues can be tricky. Are they really free if you use them in a major project? Make sure you read the fine print!

Design Software

I’ve used a lot of graphic design software over the years, and it’s taken me a long time to find the right set of tools that is right for my particular workflow. I’m pretty much a jack-of-all-trades designer and illustrator, and here is what I’m currently using:

  • Adobe Photoshop: This has been my main tool ever since I started my career back in 1996. Nearly everything I do (3d modeling, sketching, illustration) goes though photoshop for the finishing touches, and I’d be totally lost without it.
  • Adobe Illustrator: Being that I love Photoshop so much, it took me a long time to realize that Illustrator was so good. I’m depending on it more and more these days to create the vector graphics that I export to other programs.
  • FormZ: I’ve been a loyal FormZ user since 1998, and it’s still my favorite 3d modeling and rendering package to this day.
  • Autodesk SketchBook Pro: Want to know something about me that I don’t discuss very often? I used to draw cars as a boy (and teenager), and I am trying to get that skill back. SketchBook Pro is a great tool to have to let me practice every day. Simple, intuitive, and fun!