The best CGI tutorials and resources guide 2021

The Top CGI Tutorials And Resources | The Best Guide 2021


Whether you're just learning the basics of CGI or have been in this space for some time, it can be challenging to find good resources and training throughout your journey. At PRO EDU, we aim to make these experiences a bit easier, including the training we offer and making it easier to find other helpful training and resources. In this video, Dustin Valkema breaks down some of his favorites in online training platforms and websites he uses for finding 3D resources.


Ethical Notice: No resources or companies have paid to be in this list and we receive ZERO affiliate revenue (none, nothing, zilch) from any of the links below. We post these resources because we believe in them, we use them, and we think they are useful. Some of the resources, training, and objects below are our own products, which we hope you find useful. Your support helps us make more content like this and additional advanced training tutorials and courses. THANKS!


Below you will find an ever-growing list of links that will take you to all of the video's discussed sources. You will find multiple links to both free and paid resources for various 3D software. If you're into 3D animation, 3D modeling, motion graphics, CGI product photography, or visual effects, these sources can help tremendously. We view this as the best CGI tutorials and resources of 2021 and beyond because this will be a living document that will only grow over time!

"CGI Models and resources like textures are just like a Photographer investing in their gear bag. They are all tools to help you get the job done in the most efficient manner with the best possible result. CGI artists invest in digital assets and training like photographers invest in studio gear except its a lot cheaper...... and there's infinite ways to use them.   — GARY MARTIN Founder Pro EDU


If you're working in 3D, having a library of assets is a must. This helps cut down the time of creation when building projects. Oftentimes you can avoid grueling modeling tasks by using 3D models, free or paid. Check out our list below for some of Dustin's favorite sources on the web for 3D models.

PRO EDU Studio Assets: https://proedu.com/pages/3d-objects-for-photographers

Model Haven https://3dmodelhaven.com/

CGTrader https://www.cgtrader.com/

TurboSquid https://www.turbosquid.com/

Grabcad https://grabcad.com/library

3D Export https://3dexport.com/

Free 3D https://free3d.com/

Kitbash3D https://kitbash3d.com/

Quixel Megascans https://quixel.com/megascans

Artstation https://www.artstation.com/marketplace

CGAxis https://cgaxis.com/product-category/3d-assets/3d-models/

Learn CGI With PRO EDU from PRO EDU on Vimeo.



Having great textures and materials is vital when working in 3D. Regardless of whether you're working towards photoreal CGI or going for more of a stylized approach. Luckily, there are thousands of great resources for textures and material packs for nearly every 3D software out there. The links below will take you to some of Dustin's favorites!

Texture Haven https://texturehaven.com/textures/

CC0 Textures https://cc0textures.com/categories

CG Bookcase https://www.cgbookcase.com/

3D Textures https://3dtextures.me/

3D Assets One https://www.3dassets.one/

Quixel Megascans https://quixel.com/megascans

Textures.com https://www.textures.com/

Poliigon https://www.poliigon.com/

RD Textures https://www.rd-textures.com/

The Pixel Lab https://www.thepixellab.net/products

Greyscale Gorilla https://greyscalegorilla.com/product-category/material-collections/

TFMSTYLE https://www.tfmstyle.com/

Substance Suite https://www.substance3d.com


HDRI's make lighting nearly any environment in 3D space quick and easy. Not only can these maps be used alone, but they can also provide a tremendous ambient base for a scene with lighting and or reflections to build upon.

HDRI Haven https://hdrihaven.com/hdris/

Greyscale Gorilla https://greyscalegorilla.com/product-category/hdri/

iHDRI https://www.ihdri.com/hdri-skies-outdoor/

HDRI Hub https://www.hdri-hub.com/hdrishop/freesamples/freehdri

HDRI Skies https://hdri-skies.com/

HDR Maps https://hdrmaps.com/freebies/


Though most 3D software has its own built-in rendering systems, you'll often want to use a much faster and or better-looking render engine for your needs. Below is a list of significant render engines, both GPU and CPU-based, that produce outstanding results.

Redshift https://www.redshift3d.com/

Octane https://home.otoy.com/render/octane-render/

Arnold https://www.autodesk.de/campaigns/arnold

Corona https://corona-renderer.com/

Vray https://www.chaosgroup.com/vray/cinema-4d

Maxwell https://www.toolfarm.com/buy/next_limit_maxwell_render_studio/


Before we get to cover the primary 3D software and tutorials, here's a list of fantastic software that can be used in conjunction with these. Of course, they'll have their own links to training over time!

Marvelous Designer https://www.marvelousdesigner.com/

Substance Suite https://www.substance3d.com/

EmberGen https://jangafx.com/software/embergen/

RealFlow https://realflow.com/



With the wealth of knowledge on the web, check out the links below for software-specific training. While much of the 3D software these days does the same thing, many have great tools for specific needs or workflows. It's not wrong to learn the fundamentals of one software and then watch inspiring training from another. Having a broad range of knowledge of various tools can help you know exactly what tools you may want or need for a job. We'll be updating these lists with various plugins over time!


YouTube Channels


CGI For Photographers from PRO EDU on Vimeo.