In the past I use to think of them as being vital, while regarding other software as being merely complementary. But increasingly I now find myself questioning this. Sculpting software like Zbrush now have decent modeling tools which when combined with the sculpting features makes it much more user/artist friendly to create stuff. Even hard surface stuff is now easy to create in Zbrush. You can also UV map inside of Zbrush. There is also specialized software for retapo and texturing that are better than what you use in the modeler like Maya or Blender, Modo etc. But up until recently I still believed that modelers like Maya/Blender/Modo/etc were still needed for at least one thing: Rigging and animation. And then I saw this: At this point, is there even a reason to spend money on a modeler at all? It seems to me like almost EVERYTHING you can do in a conventional polymodeling program can now be done better in some other software.