15 Best 3D Modeling Software

15 Best 3D Modeling Software in 2020

Thanks to a 3D modeling software, computer graphics and realistic video games are developed, tests are conducted, and prototypes are created.

Any 3D modeling software is an important professional tool that is quite expensive, so we recommend choosing it carefully. Such software products have different interfaces and capabilities. Besides, some have a trial version, which is beneficial for beginners.

Top 15 Best 3D Modeling Software

  1. Autodesk Maya - Rendering is available
  2. Cinema 4D - Expandable due to plugins
  3. 3DS Max – The best 3D modeling software for Windows
  4. Blender - Remarkable feature set
  5. Modo - Innovative 3D modeling program
  6. Houdini - Awesome VFX modeling
  7. AutoCAD - Gives 3D workspace
  8. ZBrush - Good sculpting toolkit
  9. Lightwave 3D - Operates as two different programs
  10. 3D Slash - Minecraft-inspired design tools
  11. SketchUp - 3D modeling storage available
  12. TinkerCAD - Teamwork opportunity
  13. SelfCAD - Shows approximate print time
  14. Wings 3D - Ability to preview finished work
  15. LibreCAD - Importing designs in PDF format

There are several key considerations to keep in mind when choosing the best 3D modeling software.

Firstly, as a rule, any 3D-work requires about 16 GB of RAM or more. Most 3D software needs about 5 GB of disk space for installation, but you also need to consider rendering.

Secondly, if you are serious about your digital art, I highly recommend to invest in a graphics card with a fast processor and a large amount of memory. Thus, you are less likely to experience lag when displaying complex 3D scenes.

1. Autodesk Maya – Our Choice

 
Rendering is available
  • 3D modeling in a free form
  • Realistic effects and animations
  • Rendering is available
  • Open-source
  • None

Verdict: Autodesk Maya is a professional 3D animation software. It is widely used in cinema and on television when creating large computer graphics.

Maya can work with both vector graphics and high-definition photorealistic images. Autodesk Maya graphics engine is capable of displaying animated scenes. It is possible to generate environmental effects, such as fog, etc.

As for computer resources, Autodesk Maya needs a powerful computer since this 3D editing software can significantly load the system.

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    2. Cinema 4D

     
    Expandable due to plugins
    • Easy learning curve
    • Expandable due to plugins
    • Rendering
    • Various 3D modeling tools
    • Free version is limited
    • High price

    Verdict: Maxon’s Cinema 4D software focuses on advanced 3D modeling, making it suitable for conceptual product design. Besides, it’s helpful when you need to add more complicated layers to art projects.

    A tool for creating characters makes the entire process easier and produces animations of any complexity. Adding hair or wool is now a very simple procedure thanks to a special set of tools that allows you to change the hairstyle, look, and movement of the hairline.

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      3. 3DS Max

       
      Best 3D modeling software for Windows
      • Extensive feature set
      • Works for film production
      • Many tutorials
      • With the student discount
      • Windows only
      • Disappointing updates

      Verdict: Autodesk 3DS Max is one of the well-known 3D art software in the world. The good news is you can use 3DS Max free.

      It employs direct manipulations, procedural modeling methods, and a huge library of various modifiers for creating 3D models. All of this simplifies the workflow for both new and advanced digital artists.

      Interesting features (especially for designers) are the NURBS-based modeling tools offered by 3D modeling programs. These tools allow you to create both organic and mathematically accurate meshes. Among other methods is the ability to create models from point cloud data.

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        4. Blender

         
        Remarkable feature set
        • Ideal for animation
        • Free of charge
        • Many options
        • Key combinations
        • A bit messy menu

        Verdict: Blender is a free VFX software and 3D crafter for graphics. Despite the small size, the functions of this package are quite enough for both ordinary users and professionals.

        The software has all the basic tools that are used in professional 3D editors. It includes tools for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, video editing, a set of options for creating interactive games, visual 3D effects, and more.

        Blender, like any professional 3D package, has a large number of built-in primitives, like rings, cubes, spheres, cylinders, additional grids, etc., for building your own models.

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          5. Modo

           
          Innovative 3D modeling program
          • Worthy modeler
          • Outstanding workflow
          • Innovative animation technology
          • Brush based modeling tools
          • Underdeveloped tools
          • High system requirements

          Verdict: MODO is the best 3D software for 3D-modeling, visualization, and animation. Currently, this software product is widely used in the media and gaming industry, animation, design.

          MODO offers unique combinations of tools for direct (explicit) modeling, going hand in hand with a flexible system of procedural modeling. Besides, the software features some “MeshFusion Boolean” tools, as well as integrated retopology and sculpting functions.

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            6. Houdini

             
            Awesome VFX modeling
            • Market leader
            • Many discounts
            • Great VFX modeling
            • Large library of materials
            • Difficult workflow
            • Expensive

            Verdict: Houdini is not only the best free 3D modeling software but also a visual programming environment.

            A large library of materials and shaders is built into the software to create the most realistic 3D scenes. Houdini also has a large selection of light sources. It works for physics modeling: fabric, solids, wool, hair, and other materials.

            SideFX also offers Houdini Apprentice, a free version of Houdini FX that can be used by students, artists, and amateurs to create personal, non-profit projects.

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              7. AutoCAD

               
              Gives 3D workspace
              • Managing very accurate elements
              • 3D workspace
              • Cloud work
              • Large projects are supported
              • For pros only
              • High system requirements

              Verdict: AutoCAD is a world leader in computer-aided design systems. It provides its users with conceptual 2D and 3D design along with flexible tools for creating project documentation.

              What separates this software from other AutoCAD alternatives is that it has powerful functionality in terms of 3D modeling and allows you to customize any objects.

              Besides, the Autodesk Inventor Fusion plugin allows you to edit and ratify 3D objects from any source without having to manually export projects (the plugin automatically exports updated models).

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                8. ZBrush

                 
                Good sculpting toolkit
                • Good sculpting toolkit
                • Deals with many polys easily
                • For UV maps
                • Permanent updates
                • Unconventional menus and UI
                • Graphics tablet is needed

                Verdict: ZBrush is the best 3D design software that includes 3D sculpting for creating shapes, textures, and surfaces. All this works in real-time. The ZBrush software is used by movie studios, designers, illustrators, and other game and animation developers around the world.

                The principle of its operation is to build an extended list of data for the created element. Any generated point contains not only standard information (position relative to three axes and color) but also information about the virtual material used, Z depth, and spatial orientation.

                Various categories are available – from the free core software (Sculptris), the middleware license (ZBrush Core), and the full version (ZBrush). Besides, lessons on ZBrush are available on Pixologic for free.

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                  9. Lightwave 3D

                   
                  Operates as two different programs
                  • Easy-to-use
                  • Operates as two different programs
                  • Interesting user-interface
                  • Full of useful tools
                  • High hardware requirements
                  • Weaker than competitors

                  Verdict: LightWave 3D is the best 3D modeling software due to an advanced toolkit for creating surfaces and shells. This feature makes LightWave 3D among similar software products.

                  It operates as two programs, Modeler – for building assets – and Layout for texturing, lighting, animation, and rendering.

                  Among other features of LightWave 3D are support for PostScript fonts and macros, the ability to preview the future model in wireframe, an extensive set of textures, several rendering modes, as well as advanced tools for creating reflections and shadows.

                  Like any 3D editor, LightWave uses a lot of system resources and is quite demanding on the hardware of the computer.

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                  • lightwave 3d modeling software interface

                    10. 3D Slash

                     
                    Minecraft-inspired design tools
                    • Minecraft-inspired design tools
                    • Available tutorials
                    • Innovative work system
                    • Many different tools
                    • Unusual interface
                    • High system requirements

                    Verdict: 3D Slash is the best 3D modeling software for architecture and an efficient interior design software as it allows you to create models using a simple building block concept similar to Minecraft.

                    The simulation is centered around a cuboid, a solid block that can be subdivided into smaller blocks of the same size. Users create their 3D structures by working on a cuboid with a variety of tools that are not typical for most other software: Hammer, Spatula, Chisel, Balance Wood, and Drill. Thus, you use a hammer tool to remove individual cubes while the trowel adds cubes.

                    You can also import and modify existing 3D projects. By default, the tools will produce pixel prints. If you prefer sharp edges and smooth surfaces, just select a tool size below the resolution of your printer.

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                      11. SketchUp

                       
                      3D modeling storage available
                      • AutoCAD models are supported
                      • Works with multiple toolbars
                      • 3D model storage available
                      • Plug-in installation module
                      • Behind competitors

                      Verdict: SketchUp 3D modeling software is rather easy-to-use and helps you create 3D models of residential buildings, hangars, garages, roofs, and even spaceships.

                      This free 3D modeling software does not support STL files out of the box. Instead, the import and export of STL files is enabled by the SketchUp STL extension, which can be downloaded and installed from the software.

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                        12. TinkerCAD

                         
                        Teamwork opportunity
                        • Straightforward
                        • Ability to share your works
                        • Support for 3D printing
                        • Teamwork is available
                        • Not suitable for professional modeling

                        Verdict: TinkerCAD 3D modeling software is designed to create and print 3D designs.

                        Its main advantage compared to other CAD editors is that it is 3D modeling software free online. So, the installation isn’t required.

                        The service can be used directly in a web browser thanks to WebGL technology, which allows you to display 3D graphics in Internet browsers.

                        TinkerCAD functionality lets you create 3D models of any shape and complexity. Besides, the editor’s library has a large number of blanks for creating a variety of shapes, as well as numbers, letters, special characters that can be used in projects.

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                        • tinkercad 3d modeling software interface

                          13. SelfCAD

                           
                          Shows approximate print time
                          • In-depth layer preview
                          • Shows approximate print time
                          • Offers a calculation of the material usage
                          • Specifies the weight of the finished model
                          • Troublesome G-code
                          • With no cloud interface
                          • Expensive

                          Verdict: SelfCAD is the best 3D modeling software for 3D printing. It allows you to simulate, sculpt, slice and animate in one software with no need to switch between different programs.

                          This drawing software is easy even for beginners. SelfCAD is web-based and offers an integrated slicer for slicing models right in the software.

                          SelfCAD features some unique tools like the Image To 3D that changes any format of an image to print it on 3D printers later. The magic fix tool lets fix the model and make it printable. The Shape, nut, and screw generators help create a model from scratch.

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                            14. Wings 3D

                             
                            Ability to preview finished work
                            • Standard editing tools
                            • Magnets and magnetic mask
                            • Virtual Mirror for symmetrical modeling
                            • Ability to preview finished work
                            • Not suitable for animation
                            • An unusual interface

                            Verdict: Wings 3D is the best 3D modeling software for beginners to create simple low poly models, or texture overlays. By installing Wings 3D, you can be at a loss at first because the software has only one window with one projection.

                            No need to worry as upon closer examination, it becomes clear that all the functionality of the software is hidden in the context menu.

                            The software supports simple methods for 3D editing: vertices, lines, edges, and objects. Wings 3D can work with textures, allows you to convert, and apply them to 3D objects. But it doesn’t work with animation.

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                              15. LibreCAD

                               
                              Importing designs in PDF format
                              • Importing designs in PDF format
                              • Easy sharing
                              • Many tools
                              • Able to make measures and print
                              • Several free versions are a bit confusing
                              • Some tools are unfinished

                              Verdict: LibreCAD is the powerful 2D modeling software based on open source cross-platform computer-aided design system.As the service displays only 2D views, the size of the source file will be only 30 MB. Besides 2D, the service can also display isometric images. The software has a file format called DXF, which was originally developed for sharing files with AutoCAD. Shortly, developers plan to implement support for the DWG format using LibreDWG libraries. Also, it is possible to import and export files in SVG,PDF,BMP, PPM,PNG, XPM, XBM.

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