2201 Hardware and Software Recommendations

School of Design - 3D Digital Design
Fall 2020-2021 Equipment Information

The SOD - 3D Digital Design Hardware list is available for download here: CAD_DDDD_BFA_Supply_List_2020.pdf


The following is a list of equipment that will be used throughout your time as a 3D Digital Design student at RIT.  This list is not meant to be a shopping list, but rather suggestions for items you will want to consider bringing with you or obtaining at RIT. Do not buy new items if you already own them. Additionally, do not feel like you need to purchase all of the items cited below by the first day of classes. We can help you determine what will best suit your needs and help you identify the correct items for the things you are not familiar with. You will, however, utilize most of these items by the end of the firstyear. 



The School of Design does not require the purchase of a laptop or desktop computer. Students have access to multiple computer labs, equipment and software while at RIT to complete assignments and projects. However, if you are arriving on-campus with a computer or are considering a computer purchase, the following information may be helpful:

If you have a computer, we recommend that you use it for now and purchase a new computer closer to your senior year. We have a lot of labs for you to work in. Also, the Digital Den on campus has great prices for students.  Here’s what our tech crew says:

Short answer:

Spend as much as you can. A good starting point is a high-end PC gaming laptop with a (GeForce RTX 20 series graphics card. We advise waiting until the late summer as new hardware (30 series cards might come out then).

Long answer:

The computing requirements of first-year students are likely to be vastly different than their final years at RIT. A four-year-old laptop (purchased new before coming to RIT) might be inadequate for working on capstone. We suggest students wait until they've spent a few weeks or a year or two at RIT before sinking serious money into a laptop. We have some great lab facilities, something cheap for working on email, papers, browsing, etc. is a good place to start until they get further along.

Maya / Unreal:

The system requirements for Maya, on the Autodesk web page, are suspiciously diluted because it will run on almost anything. The GPU matters a lot (see above). The CPU might matter more depending on the render workflow. Two programs we use list recommended hardware requirements here:


An inexpensive 24 inch or larger second monitor can greatly increase productivity inside the dorm room as the majority of work and software are easier with more screen space. 


A portable tablet is useful, but is not needed in the first year, so check in for options after arrival.

Other Considerations:

Consider technology advancements. Due to the increases in computer speed and software requirements, it may be desirable to purchase a new computer prior to your junior or senior years.  Two paths to select from to best meet your computer needs while at RIT.

  1. Use a lower end laptop computer today and purchase a more powerful laptop during your junior or senior years when more computing power is needed.
  2. Purchase the best available laptop computer today and plan to keep this computer for all 4 years.

Digital Storage Devices

Remotely accessible server storage is available for temporarily moving files through the RIT network. USB drives should be used to meet your storage needs and are highly recommended for data backup. We also recommend that you keep backups of your files (projects, etc.) in AT LEAST 2-3 places and save often! Currently, the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, Google Drive (Recommended due to free space through RIT), Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Box.com, and Apple’s iCloud offer online storage options. 

  1. USB 3.0 (for faster data transfer) Flash(Thumb) Drives: Prices range from $10 – $155 depending on size; they can store between 16GB to 256GB. It is HIGHLY recommended to have at least two flash drives and use them to save duplicates of yourfiles.
  2. Or a portable harddrive of any size. We recommend investing in the most that you can afford, as files/projects add up quickly!


Our lab workstations have a wide array of software applications that you will use for your coursework at RIT. For use on your own computer, we strongly recommend a minimum of the Adobe Creative Cloud: CC subscription and the Microsoft Office Suite for all students. The Adobe Creative Cloud: CC will be the package installed in the labs at RIT. This service includes online storage, 2 devices installations and will automatically update the Adobe software over the duration of the subscription, http://www.adobe.com/products/creativecloud.html.

  1. Autodesk Entertainment Suite: free for students (usually requires .edu email)
  2. Adobe Creative Cloud: CC - Academic Subscription Academic price: $19.99 to 29.99 permonth
  3. Microsoft Office Home and Student  Click for Details or Apple iWork Academic price: Free to students
  4. Unreal Engine by Epic Games Free: https://www.unrealengine.com/

NOTE: Check for deals offered through RIT Digital Den. Great discounts are frequently available closer to the beginning of fall semester. 


Due to the advancements in mobile phone cameras, a high end mobile phone such as an iPhone, Nokia or Samsung will meet the needs for most freshman level courses. To increase the effectiveness of the camera you can purchase add-on lenses for most major smart phones, but these are not required. These lens are a cost effective way to get higher quality images and video from your phone. The RIT digital den can help with purchases these lenses. http://www.rit.edu/digitalden. Some cameras are available for checkout from the cage.

Higher quality imaging tools are available for good prices in Digital Den. If you are interested in these high-quality imaging tools we recommend DSLR cameras such as the Nikon D 3300 or the Canon Rebel T5 or other DSLR cameras that record 1080 HD video. While a camera is an important tool for all image creators these cameras are not a critical tool for success in the program and should be considered last. In addition, the CIAS photo cage will allow students to check-out cameras for a nominal lab fee that can be paid every semester. 

Along with camera and computer needs, RIT’s Digital Den offers special pricing and/or manufacturers’ discounted offers on computers and software packages: http://www.rit.edu/digitalden.

Art Kit: (Freshman Year)

During the freshman year students will be enrolled in several foundation art courses. These art courses do require materials that can be purchased at the RIT bookstore, Barnes and Nobles @ RIT individually or as a complete kit. It is important to note that the 3D Digital Design program does not require a full year of foundation courses and therefore it may be more cost effective to purchase art materials as needed. More information can be found at http://rit.bncollege.com/ by searching for item “Art and Design Kit”.


If you have any questions on the hardware or materials listed above please contact:
Shaun Foster, Director of 3D Digital Design: 

NOTE: All of this equipment will be used throughout your career at RIT.

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2201 Hardware and Software Recommendations