3D-modeling tools help turn individual ideas into beautiful models and prototypes for a variety of fields. These tools allow building and customizing models from the ground up, no matter if you are a keen beginner or a professional engineer. Popular in various industries such as film, animation, gaming, architecture, and interior design, 3D models are key aspects of various projects.
Choosing the best modeling software is often difficult because of various aspects and the wide range of features available in these tools. To help you with the selections, here is a list of 20 3D-modeling software for personal or professional modeling.
Wings 3D is an advanced sub-division modeler which offers a wide range of modeling tools and a customizable interface, along with a built-in AutoUV mapping tool, as well as export facility for common 3D formats. However, despite more awesome features like support for virtual mirroring for symmetric modeling, Wings 3D provides no support for animation for its users.
A powerful and free 3D creation software, Daz Studio may not prove easy for beginners to use, but it does offer a feature- and functionality-rich user experience nonetheless. It enables you to create amazing 3D art with GPU-accelerated real-time rendering and photorealistic results. Along with providing various features of Wings 3D, it also supports animation as well as scene buildings.
A free 3D-modeling software for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, Open SCADfocuses more on the CAD aspects of modeling an object rather than the artistic aspect. Unlike many others listed on this page, Open SCAD is not an interactive modeler but a 3D-compiler modeler that reads in the details of the objects to render their 3D models on the screen.
A suite of CAD and 3D-modeling tools, AutoDesk 123D even supports the 3D printing technology. AutoDesk 123D consists of various tools to create, design, and render 3D models. The websites also offers more than 10,000 free 3D models to get inspiration from, fun experiments, or for use in personal projects.
Available for: Windows | macOS | iOS | Android (soon) [Download here]
Meshmixer 3.0 allows designing and creating 3D designs by combining two or more models in just few simple steps. It follows a simple cut and paste procedure, and even supports sculpting ie molding and refining the surfaces real-time like a virtual clay. It supports 3D printing, taking design models as inputs and sending the models to a 3D printer.
3DReshaper is an affordable and easy to use 3D-modeling software dedicated to the processing of 3D models. It can be used in various fields such as arts, mining, civil engineering, and ship-building. It comes with support for various scripts and textures, and packs in lots of features for easy modeling.
3D Crafter is a real-time 3D-modeling and animation tool that incorporates an intuitive drag-and-drop approach for use. Complex models can be constructed using simple 3D shapes, and it supports sculpting as well as printing. It’s an advance tool for creating animations.
Creo is a comprehensive system for mechanical engineers and model designers who create products using the direct modeling approach of 3D CAD. Direct modeling allows the creation of designs by existing designs or fresh ideas. Hence, the changes to the geometry of an object can be made quickly and easily. This is a premium program but there is a 30-day free trial, and a free version for students and teachers.
LeoCAD is a CAD program for creating virtual LEGO models, with support for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. An alternative to LDD software, it has an easy interface and supports key framing and works in animation mode. It has a better support for animation compared to the rest of the animation-supporting 3D-modeling software.
Pioneer helps create vast expanses of terrains by rendering hyper-realistic images of landscapes. It is useful for advanced users looking for a rendering program. It helps compose amazing 3D landscapes with wide range of presets, and it provides direct access to Cornucopia 3D content. The software aids in the lighting and shadow effects.
Supported for popular platforms such as Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, Netfabbis not just a viewer but can also allow its users to analyze, edit, and repair 3D models. It supports 3D printing, and is the smallest lightest tool amongst its competitors with regards to installation size. The size does not compromise on the features though.
NaroCAD is a full-fledged and extensible CAD modeling application. It is based on the OpenCascade technology, and supports both Windows and Linux platforms. It supports both basic and advance 3D modeling operations, and can be extended through plugins and programming interface.
Lego Digital Designer or LDD, by the LEGO group, is available for Windows and Mac OS. The program allows the building of models using virtual LEGO bricks in CAD. The software has an export feature, allowing the created models to be opened and edited in other 3D modeling software.
ZCAD can be used to create 2D or 3D drawings. It supports different platforms but also provides great viewing angles and various tools to ease the whole modeling task. Its user interface is very easy to understand and the drawing process is quite simple. The finished design can be saved in AutoCAD’s format as well as many other popular extensions.
A free version of Houdini FX, Houdini Apprentice can be used by students, artists, and hobbyists to create non-commercial 3D-modeling projects. Other than a limited render size, watermark on 3D renderings, and a few other minor limitations, Houdini is a tool with plenty of features packed in a great user interface.
Providing a design worksheet, DesignSpark allows the production of highly detailed 3D designs. It promises easy features to remove bottlenecks by making amendments and additions to your design as well as changing product concepts in 3D quickly. It also supports direct modeling technique as well as 3D printing your models.
FreeCAD is a parametric 3D modeler made primarily to design real-life objects of any size. It is easy to modify designs using the model history and changing the parameters. The program is a multi-platform (Windows, Mac OS, and Linux) tool, and reads and writes various open file formats. It also allows the building of your own modules or embedding them in your custom-developed application.
Sculptris provides an excellent gateway into the exciting world of 3D. Its features are easy to learn, navigate and use, even for someone with no experience in digital art or modeling. It helps take geometry concerns out of the design process, and will dynamically divide the model, better handling your computer’s resources.
MeshMagic 3D helps in creating 3D rendering files, and drawing 2D objects or extending them to 3D. It’s an easy and intuitive 3D design software for users of multiple fields. Although it currently supports only Windows, it allows the output file to be saved in the popular STL format, which can be opened and edited in various online and offline 3D-modeling tools.
Open Cascade is a software development kit (SDK) intended for development of applications dealing with 3D CAD data. It includes the special, community-developed C++ class libraries that provide services for 3D surface and modeling, data visualization and exchange and rapid application development.
Available for: multiple desktop and mobile platforms [Download here]
Have you used any of the listed 3D-modeling software? Which is your favorite among these software? Kindly let me know your answers through comments.