Re: Enough of Redmond, I want to make the switch, but all the flavors & choices leaves me lost...
Points one and two seem a bit backwards. If you're that new (and this isn't meant as an insult,) just stick with that the distros give you. Your life will be a lot easier.
As for point three, Unreal and Unity already support Linux as a deployment platform but they're still in the process of porting over their development tools.
Blender is the go to 3D modelling program on Linux. It's extremely powerful but has an extremely steep learning curve, especially if you have to unlearn the Maya or 3DS Max way of doing things. One of its major advantages is its UV mapping tool which is better than anything else out there IMO.
As for Photoshop, you're a bit out of luck there. GIMP is about the closest thing Linux has but it's not nearly as richly featured. I manage to make do with a mixture of GIMP, myPaint and Inkscape but I'll willingly acknowledged that things would probably be easier with CS.