Seeking advice on starting Linux for design and animation

Hi. Watched L1 on YouTube for a while, just joined the forum. Thinking of jumping off into Linux one weekend coming up, I don’t have a ton of time to play normally so I’m seeking some advice to guide me in the right direction. I have spent some time before watching YouTube primers and reading posts about the topic of getting into Linux but let me state a clear use case and ask some advice from people who know:

What is the best distribution to start with for the following uses: 3D software, Houdini and Maya. Redshift Nvidia GpU rendering also some cpu rendering with Arnold. Nuke for composting. DaVinci for edit

I also use a TON of adobe. after effects and PS. I have heard that you can use wine or some other tricks to get adobe on Linux , and while that would be nice I will not suppose any of that to work for actual production. So I mention it as a “would be nice if I could use , don’t expect to”

Current machines I could get started with:

  1. ASRock 270 mb. 8700k, 64 gb rAm, 2 1080ti s, (custom water loop)

  2. c612 dual Xeon ASUS workstation board. 2 18-core v3 xeons, 64gb ecc ram, 3 Maxwell Titan Xs

  3. x99 Asrock itx mb. 12-Core Xeon, 64gb ecc ram, 1080ti. Portable build in Dan case.

I have a extra nvme 512 evo that I could use to create a Linux boot drive. Was think g of starting with the Asrock 270 8700k build.

all these machines run OSX currently, but that future is looking bleak so need to start using alternatives. Windows would be easiest, they all have a windows boot also, but windows does infact blow chunks. And I have heard that all these pro apps run really well on Linux .

So that’s my use case. Fairly specific I am just unsure where to start. Never used Linux before other than a few freelance gigs (2 months maybe) I believe that was centOS. at the moment I’m guessing just get the latest Ubuntu distro and get into it? But I wanted post this to see if anyone would share any advice that might be helpful.


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Right, so go buy a vega 56 or RX card. I have a laptop with a nvidia chip and the drivers are just too finnicky.

Next, animation software. Right. So. What the hell do you do? Theres a lot of options.

OpenToonz (used by cowpanies like turner and dreamworks)
The Open Source Pixar 3D Tool Thing
And my personal tool: Krita.

Other tools are out there I’m sure, and tools like Sai work in wine.


Thanks. Unfourtentky I rely heavily on some things that cannot change:

  1. I use nvidia cards for rendering in redshift.
  2. 3D apps are Houdini and Maya (less and less)

Please don’t tell me to get into blender or get a amd gpu. That won’t work for my case. I listed what I use and software compatibility is a priority.

Thanks though

Well good luck with nvidia. Its not like its impossible or anything, its just gunna eat up your weekend lol.

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any distro better for getting Nvidia CUDA support working ? CUDA support is pretty key for lots of apps (davinci, nuke, maya) i didnt think getting a nvidia card working would be a big deal. anyone with advice on that ?

LOL no it wont… its drivers are 100 percent better then AMD’s … stop shilling… I literally work with nvidia cards in the consumer and pro environments in linux all the time. You cant even get newer AMD cards to run without serious performance regressions in linux right now. Dont even get me started about this ill give you a full write up

A fair few of his tools have linux variants now… I mean davinci has a linux download I think… Im all for proprietary software… How about help this dude instead of tell him the animation equivalent of install gentoo…

Generally your better bet is a stable OS… Can I ask are you comfortable running normal support tier software or would you rather LTS (Long term support)? I can provide some suggestions. I just need to know some things like are you familiar with or have you every used linux before? etc besides CentOS? If I can gauge what you like I can get you on the proper base system… Desktop environment aside that matters less and is more personal preference.


Adding to this, Maya 2018 is only officially supported on CentOS and Red Hat.

Also requires a multi-user license, which could be a potential issue.


I was definitely leaning towards CentOS because of this. I was just waiting for the original reply … HOWEVER Maya can and is easily installed unofficially on other distros without issue.


I dont think so anymore with the standalone

One thing you should note @james3 is that often with linux support the official support comes with the distro that corporation uses and tests on most frequently. Due to the nature of linux libraries are often the same between distros with minimal if any differences if on the same version of the library. Its just about which distro ships with what libraries etc.

If you just want to roll centOS thats chill ill get you setup… Just awaiting your feedback sir

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Damn you clearly got a lot of good hardware going for you. Your clearly not lacking, I would be inclined to question why an i7 8700K over Ryzen but clearly budget isn’t a concern and at least that is a good CPU in performance.

For Linux you could run Ubuntu and make sure to install NVidia’s proprietary drivers (I know, I want to throw up a bit at the idea of recommending proprietary drivers but if you already have the hardware, especially a GPU as powerful as a GTX 1080 Ti, may as well use it, why get rid of it if it works?)

It might be less painful to setup with NVidia GPUs on Ubuntu than most other distros but there are tutorials on how to install those drivers. Run an LTS version of Ubuntu as well such as 18.04 LTS.

It’s not really that complicated under Ubuntu at least. It will take some extra time but probably not a weekend’s worth.

What performance regressions? So far I haven’t seen any on my RX 570, does it have something to do with Vega because I noticed that Vega 56 only performs like around 50% better average than an RX 580 despite being a much larger GPU.

Point taken about not recommending AMD but only because this guy’s got a GTX 1080 Ti and AMD doesn’t have anything that compares with it and even if they did it wouldn’t be worth the sidegrade, if it were a GTX 1050 Ti that would be a far different story.

As for being proprietary, well I generally think that’s a bad idea and something to STAY AWAY from but that’s extremely hard if not impossible to do sometimes.

Yes and the RX 590 has issues to anything basically newer then this all have stupid issues. Sometimes your lucky to even get it to boot… Sometimes you have to use a flag that disables power states leaving it gimped in its lower power mode…

Its been demonized but the software does have its advantages… like MATLAB for me… cant get GNUoctave to do half the stuff I do lol…

I think he should run CentOS not only is it extremely stable ALL of his software uses it for official support…


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa
sudo apt update

sudo ubuntu-drivers autoinstall
sudo apt install nvidia-415


vi /etc/apt/sources.list
add contrib and non-free to both first and third categories (skip security)

dpkg --add-architecture i386
apt update && apt upgrade -y
apt install firmware-linux-nonfree
apt install linux-headers-$(uname -r|sed 's,[^-]*-[^-]*-,,') nvidia-driver

apt install nvidia-smi libgl1-nvidia-glx:i386 nvidia-xconfig


sudo dnf config-manager --add-repo=
sudo dnf install nvidia-settings kernel-devel dkms-nvidia nvidia-driver-libs.i686


pacman -S nvidia lib32-nvidia-libgl


Use do-flicky

What’s hard about that? I recommend catching up on some research before giving incorrect information to new members seeking useful advice.


Writing a variable in a boot parameter takes less time though that installing NVidia’s proprietary drivers. Not that it’s good thing to do or anything.

I personally don’t like MATLAB tbh, but that was because apparently the teacher showed me one way to use it to do integrals on it and the integrals were simply wrong. I had to do it on paper multiple times and my answer was always different.

Even the teacher had realized the integral was wrong. Either that was the wrong way to solve an integral or MATLAB can’t really solve it. If it’s the latter, then MATLAB isn’t a reliable program to me and isn’t worth a damn, It’s like if a calculator can do 2+2 = 4 but then it’s like 675812 + 732430 = 181272 instead of 1408242. More likely it’s the former though but it definitely was a weird incident, was a one time incident as well.

I generally considered CentOS a good server OS more than a desktop OS. The kernel version is so old that if you tried to install KDE it would be KDE4 or something outdated. If a server that is headless is all he needs it’s good to go.

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CentOS is also a Enterprise workstation operating system as well… frequently used in University environments.

The point of the kernel being old is a good thing partially. Look most proprietary software that the OP has asked to run was built to run on this operating system with it’s specific version of libraries and tested on that kernel. Yes it could probably run on everything else but for simplicities sake why try to change the OS he is already on.

The kernel also falls into a version explciityly supported by nvidias drivers :slight_smile: should he choose to install then with the binary method. ALSO… kernel upgrade is easy. If he wants directions im sure one of us here is more then capable of showing him how. I love the open source advocacy and I encourage him to explore it but first things first he must meet his needs. If it doesn’t he shouldn’t attempt Linux and stick with perfectly fine and working proprietary software and operating systems such as windows.

In reference to your Matlab commentary it’s because your teacher taught you to do the integral wrong. There’s a couple different commands and it depends on how you intend to integrate. Remember computers must estimate. One such method is the trapezoidal method of taking Riemann sums… but there are others. I’ve never had Matlab be wrong about an integral. However depending on the type of data you are integrating you may have to consider setting an absolute error tolerance in which Matlab takes a few different methods into account iteratively until the integrals convergence has an error less then your defined tolerance :grin:

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Thank you for also taking a similar stance to me and @DrewTechs on that @AnotherDev :grin:


Damn, I did not think of all of that when using MATLAB. There was in fact multiple ways to integrate. But that was like 3.5 years ago.

Later on I just simply wrote a C++ program that does a simple integral that works very well (not perfectly accurate but it get’s pretty close answers depending on my delta value. Of course a higher delta requires more computing.

When you use it professionally… you learn how to make the bitch do what you want haha :smiley:

If you parallelize it… It could get really accurate and speedy for high delta values

Alright way off topic. I hope the original poster comes back and wasnt scared off haha!

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hey sorry @PhaseLockedLoop for going silent there.

I posted and after the first couple response i didnt check back for a while, as I wasn’t going be able to pay any attention to this project till the next weekend.

I have never used linux before, other then a couple short stints. Normal support is fine. I dont need anything fancy. Hell i have been rocking OSX on all my home built boxes, try asking apple for support installing a NVIDIA driver , ha. I would love something simple and solid. I like the simplicity of the MacOS , the finder is pretty good. ProRes on Linux ? good font manager ? PDF reader ? keynote ? those are the type of things that would be nice. but starting out the only thing that really matters is running a stable version of Houdini and rendering with Redshift (GPU renderer CUDA based)

If you have a recommended path I might start down it this weekend. thanks so much for the offer for guidance !

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Hey yeah no problem. HAHA we totally thought you were scared off!

I have a few ideas. I think the biggest things Id like to know is if you are Okay upgrading the OS slightly more frequently in exchange for likely better performance and the latest drivers. If thats the case I would likely roll with Fedora. Otherwise I would do CentOS… Fedoras really nice… I started on it as my starting distro eons ago LOL… Since then I havent used it much. There is a middle option. OpenSUSE… RPM (Red hat) based distro. More stable then fedora… but more bleeding edge then CentOS. We could get the software working on it likely. Id have to sit down and make sure though haha

Edit: Based on the stuff Ive found out. We could roll with CentOS 7 and upgrade the kernel if thats the route you want to go. OR we could opt for OpenSUSE… Its up to you… Willing to dive into another install?

Gonna List what software you mentioned for my reference here

COMPAT – RPM Distro Best

Likely just in the nvidia driver already? Warrants more research

COMPAT – Distro independent – package is tarball

CentOS 6 or CentOS 7 (64-bit only)

*Note: Other operating systems may work, but have not been fully tested

This is one of those deals where likely any RPM based distro works if the libraries are installed… :slight_smile:

COMPAT – distro independent

We will look into that :smiley: but I need to know the versions you own

No offense, but, if you expect Linux to be a drop-in replacement to Windows you will be severely dissapointed. I see several items on your list that are either not feasible or would require a lot of fiddling to get it to work in Linux, and even then it is probably a sub-par experience. At that point, it’s simply better to stay in Windows.

That said, Linux does have a few key advantages in privacy, reliability, customizability and excels at development tasks and “casual” computing (e.g. webbrowsing, Netflix, email, simpler games and so on).

Two alternatives to Adobe would be Krita (if you use it for drawing) or Gimp (for actual photo editing) and KDEnlive, but the Creative Suite is extremely hard to beat at their own game, and you will never find a more streamlined pipeline than the CS. Gartner, the Linux Gamer, had a good Youtube video a couple of months back:

If you are stuck with a few demanding Windows apps but otherwise fine, I recommend trying the Looking Glass approach and run Windows in a vm with GPU passthrough. Wine still isn’t good enough for many programs, unfortunately.

I was going to make this recommendation. I definitely do support what is said here but if the OP wants to try it I saw no harm and at least seeing where his project goes.

Windows will always be better for the project no doubt about that