I am a hobbyist 3D designer. I range in anything ranging from creating my own designs and characters to fiddling with off the shelf content from applications such as DAZ 3D and Poser. No matter what it is I am doing, the heart of my tool chain is Blender and GIMP. A small sample of my work is here, most of my work is posted as follows:
@ Deviant Art: [here]
@ Blendswap: [link]
@ OpenGameArt: [link]
The tools am knowledgeable of and use in my work flow are as follows:
Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License.
Here are my personal files to configure Blender 2.49b to my liking. ".B.blend" contains all the user preferences (theme included) and "Quandtum_theme.py" is the theme I use (slightly modified from the original theme I had found).
DAZ Studio is a 3D figure illustration/animation application released by DAZ 3D Inc. It is compatible with most files intended for use by Poser. It is available free of charge (registration required).
Poser is a 3D CGI rendering and animation software program optimized for models that depict the human figure in three-dimensional form, mostly used to pose and animate the figures in a similar way as a mannequin. The program has become very popular due to its ease of use, which allows beginners to produce basic animations and digital images, and the extensive availability of third-party digital models.
SketchUp is a 3D modeling program marketed by Google and designed for architectural, civil, and mechanical engineers as well as filmmakers, game developers, and related professions. The program, which is designed for ease of use, allows placement of models within Google Earth.
Google's 3D Warehouse enables SketchUp users to search for, download and contribute free models.
Octane Render is the world's first GPU based, un-biased, physically based renderer. What does that mean? It uses the video card in your computer to render photorealistic results fast...really fast. This allows the user to create stunning works in a fraction of the time of traditional CPU based renderers.
[Link] Octane User Forum
LuxRender is an open source software rendering system for physically correct image synthesis. The program runs on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux and exporters are available for Blender, Cinema 4D, XSI, DAZ Studio, and Maya.
LuxRender features only a 3D renderer; it relies on other programs to create the scenes to render, including the setup of materials and cameras. Through the use of exporters, all relevant scene information will be written to a file that LuxRender will be able to understand. This content can then be exported from the application it was created in for rendering using LuxRender. After opening this file, the only thing LuxRender will do is render the scene. You can however tweak various post processing settings from the graphical interface of the program.
[Documentation] Lux Renderer Wiki
[Source] Lux Source Repository
[Tutorial] Depth of Field in LuxRender (by BlendKraze)
[Asset] CG Texture
[Asset] Good Textures
[Asset] Texture Plugins
[Tool] SSbump Generator
Assets / Marketplace
[Link] Runtime DNA
[Link] Big Buck Bunny's Production Files (by Blender Foundation)
[Reference] Animation Meat Character References
[Reference] Anime Model Sheets
[Reference] 3D Blueprints
[Reference] Articulation Home Page
[Tutorials] Blender Cookie
[Tutorials] Blender Art Magazine
[Tutorial] Low Poly Game Character Hair (by Paul Tosca)
[Tutorial] Modeling Joan of Arc (by Michel Roger)
[Tutorial] Making a metal girder normal maps from 2D artwork ()
[Tutorial] Skin Shading using multi-layered SSS (by 3dpoder)
[Tutorials] The Cog Project (by Cogfilms)
[Tutorial] Fundamentals of Subpatch Modelling
[Tutorial] Minotar (by Glen Southern)
[Tool] Voodoo 3D Camera Tracking
[Tool] Autodesk FBX
[Tool] Random Word Generator
[Tool] WoW Model Viewer
[Tool] SSBump Generator
[Tool] GIMP Normal Map Plugin
[Tool] ShaderMap Pro