Best 3D Modeling Software – The Complete List
Choosing the right 3d modeling software is essential to creating awesome artwork.
Today I share a Complete list of the best free and premium software for 3d modeling.
Let’s get started.
1. Autodesk Maya
Autodesk Maya is a very powerful 3d modeling package. It’s the most used and most popular 3d modeling program. It’s available for MAC Also.
It’s very popular among character artists because most character artists prefer Maya instead of other 3d art programs.
Maya is the best 3d animation software for beginners because Maya has easy to used animation tools.
Maya has also the best retopology tools, so it’s also considered the best retopology software.
Maya comes in two versions, one is Maya, and the second is Maya Lt.
Maya LT is developed for gaming artist who has a tight budget and they don’t want advanced Maya features.
Some of the best Maya features are XGen, advanced UV Mapping, etc.
If you have a very tight budget and Maya is very expensive for you, you can use Blender, it’s free for personal and commercial use.
I already shared some amazing maya tutorials if you want to learn maya.
- Dynamic and effects
- USD workflow
- Powerful 3d animation tools
- Easy rigging
- 3D Modeling, advanced UV mapping, and sculpting
- 3D Rendering, Shading, and motion graphic
- advanced Scripting
2. Autodesk 3DS Max
3DS Max is an advanced CG Artists software. It’s the best 3d modeling software for beginners.
It has very powerful modeling tools and modifiers, especially for hard surface modeling.
If you want to make a carrier in the gaming industry, I consider learning 3ds Max asap.
3DS Max is the best 3d modeling software for games and interior design. It’s mostly used in the video game and architecture industries.
Most professional architects use 3ds max. Most video gaming companies use Autodesk 3ds max instead of Maya.
You can also read 3ds max and maya comparison here if you confused betweeen 3ds max and maya.
It’s also a useful tool to design furniture easily.
- Advanced modeling and a huge list of modifiers
- Animation and effects
- Advanced spline tools
- Powerful rendering
3. Cinema 4d
Cinema4d is the best motion graphic software. It has award-winning motion graphic features such as MOGRAPH.
Where most software is complicated, cinema 4d is easy 3d modeling software.
It’s widely used for motion graphic purposes but it has everything that other industry-standard 3d modeling software have.
Maya has also implemented motion graphic features but they are not powerful as Cinema4d. You can read Maya and Cinema4D comaprision here.
- Node-based material
- Magic bullet looks
- Award-wining MOGRAPH
- Take system
5. SideFX Houdini
Houdini is a very powerful software for 3d modeling, It is just incredible.
It’s mostly used for FX-related works. It’s great for VFX and simulation work.
If you want to make a carrier in VFX, learning SideFX Houdini is essential.
It has robust asset creation tools and it’s used a node-based and procedural modeling workflow.
This software comes in four versions which names are Houdini FX, Core, Indie, and Apprentice.
- Fully procedural
- Node-based workflow
- VFX and Simulation
- Fast cloth and hair
- Crowds with ragdoll dynamic
- Terrain Generation
Modo is great for designing footwear. You can design footwear in Modo very easily.
It also uses the procedural modeling method and it has the same features that other 3d modeling software have.
The most powerful feature of Modo is, you can see the photorealistic visual without rendering.
- Photorealistic visual
- Great for footwear design
- Faster iterations
7. Lightwave 3D
Where most 3d modeling software is expensive, Lightwave3d comes at affordable pricing.
It’s not powerful like other 3d software such as 3DS Max or Maya but it is valuable to learn the basics of 3d modeling.
- Motion system
- Tone mapping
- Instancing and unthread
Free 3D Modeling Software
If you don’t have a budget to buy expensive software, you can try some free 3d modeling software.
Mostly free software is worst but some free software is very good and industry-standard too.
Blender is a free and open-source 3d modeling software for beginners.
It’s great software for hobbyists.
Blender is now an industry-standard 3d software because many startups, small studios use Blender as the main 3d software.
Blender has great 3d modeling and sculpting tools but It’s mostly used for 3d modeling purposes.
It also has great motion graphic features but they are limited compared to Cinema4d.
If you are looking for free 3d modeling software for commercial and personal use then Blender is for you.
Here is a complee comparision of Blender and Cinema 4D.
- Huge list of modifiers
- Seamless sculpting
- Story art and drawing
2. Daz Studio
Daz Studio is completely free software. It’s 3d figure customization and posing software.
If you love to create art just for fun or a hobby, you can use this software. For professional work, use Maya or something. Daz 3d is addictive software.
You can easily create an amazing 3d scene in Daz studio because you can find many ready-made 3d models here.
- Huge 3d modeling asset library
- Rendering preset
- Pose and modify
Sketchup is a web-based 3d modeling software and you can use this software free for personal use.
For the desktop version, you need to pay some dollars, It’s a great software to visualize design.
You can also customize the 3d space in Sketchup.
- Web-based 3d modeler
- Mobile model viewer
- Pre-built 3d models
- Unlimited cloud render
Hexagon is free 3d modeling software by daz3d. If you are a Daz user, you can download hexagon using a Daz 3d studio account.
If you are not using Daz 3d, you can sign up to download this free software. It’s great software to know the basics of 3d modeling.
- Sculpted primitives
- freehand modeling brushes
Wings3d is a free and open-source 3d modeling software like blender. It supports 3d modeling, light, material and UV Mapping, etc.
But it does not support animation.
- Tweak mode
- Auto UV Mapping
Vectary is a free online 3d modeling software and you don’t need to download anything.
You can just visit the Vectary website and start creating. It’s free for twenty-five projects.
For more projects, you need to buy paid plans.
- Browser-based software
- Free 3d asset library
- Project sharing
7. 3D Slash
3D Slash is a browser-based application and it’s beginner-friendly.
You don’t need a high configuration PC to use this software and its runs without a graphic card.
- Easy and Lightweight
- Don’t need to install
SkyCiv is a structural analysis and design software. With SkyCiv, you can design and analyze your structure online.
It has very powerful analysis features and it’s easy to use.
- Powerful analysis
- Fast and easy
Livehome3d is a free house design software. You can use this software to create interior and exterior easily.
Now, you can design your room free and easily. It’s available for Windows, MAC, and Linux.
- Arrange furniture easily
- Drag n Drop
- Split mode
- Material editing and curtain wall creation
10. Mandelbulb 3D
Mandelbulb 3d is the free tool to draw three-dimensional fractal objects.
You can draw the most complicated shape easily using this software.
It works only on Windows.
- Huge library of 3d patterns
- Draw complicated shapes easily
Dust3d is free and open software and it’s available for Windows, MAC, and Linux.
You can create a complicated model easily with Dust3d.
- Easy cloth simulation
- Free and open source
- Faster 3d modeling
12. Rocket 3F
Rocket 3F is lesser-known but very good 3d modeling software.
It has also very awesome features that you found on the free 3d modeling software.
- Push and pull
- draw mesh tool
- pattern selection and quick render
1. Fusion 360
Fusion 360 is mechanical 3d modeling software that you can use for complex part modeling.
Modeling the machine parts is very difficult in other software such as Max or Maya.
If you are an engineer, you can Fusion 360
- PCB Design Integration
- Manufacturing method
- Cloud simulation
- Non-linear stress
2. On Shape
OnShape is a tool to create and design products. With this software, you can create complex parts easily.
You can also create drawings of complex objects easily in On Shape. In Short, it’s a Data Management, Product Design, and collaboration software.
- Support live chat
- Complex part and drawing easily
- Data management and assembly
Rhinoceros is 3d graphic software that you can use to create any 3d shapes using the Nurbs modeling method.
This software uses Nurbs modeling techniques mostly. You can use this software to create, edit, analyze documents, etc.
- Accurate design
- Lightweight 3d Software
- No Graphic card needed
- Construction aids and Fabrications
CREO is a cad software for faster design of your product with solid tools.
It has powerful features such as generated designs, simulation, additive manufacturing, etc.
- Real-time simulation
- Find hard edge easily
- Iterate faster
Autocad is the best CAD software that is used for 2d and 3d drawing.
It is widely used in the Architecture industry. Architecture, Engineers, and construction professionals use this software to create drawing in 2d and 3d.
- 2d drawing, drafting, and annotation
- 3d modeling and visualization
Revit is a BIM software for a higher quality coordinated design. In Revit, you can create an Exterior design easy with powerful tools
In short, you can use 3DS Max for Interior and use Revit for Exterior design.
- Generative design
- Parametric component
- Architecture design
- Structural engineering and fabrication
Free 3D CAD Software
In this chapter, I will talk about some of the best free CAD Software.
Some free CAD software has very powerful features that you should know
Let’s dive right in.
1. Tinker Cad
Tinker cad is fast and easy software to draw a design. A kid also easily draws a 3d design using thinker cad.
It used by kids, hobbyists mostly. This application features are Move, scale, and rotate objects easily.
- Easiest 3d modeling software
- shortcut ready
2. Solid works
Solid Works is the trusted and industry-standard software in the design and engineering field.
It helps you to design your next awesome project.
with this best free 3d software, you can conceptualize, create and transform your idea into a solid product design.
- Complex part drawing easily
- Fast and accurate
- Cost estimation tools
OpenSCAD is free cad software and its available for Windows, MAC, and Linux.
It provides two modeling techniques: constructive solid geometry and 2D outline extrusion.
BlocksCAD is free browser-based CAD software and it’s a very basic user-friendly software.
You can use this software to model basic 3d shapes. You can also improve your math and science skill using this free software.
- A very lightweight and browser-based tool
- Easy to use
LeoCAD is free and open-source CAD software that is optimized for large models.
It’s available for Windows, MAC, and Linux.
- Free and open source
- Huge library of different parts
Free and Premium 3D Sculpting Software
In this chapter, I will talk about some of the best free and premium 3d Sculpting Software.
All software is industry standard and a good job opportunity.
Let’s talk about
ZBrush is the best 3d printing and sculpting software. 3D Printing software is great for jewelry design.
From small to large 3d studios use ZBrush for sculpting. It has many awesome tools for sculpting and Dyanmash is the best feature of ZBrush.
ZBrush also implements 3d modeling tools in the latest version. It’s a very lightweight sculpting software compared to other sculpting software.
Many professional artists prefer ZBrush for sculpting purposes. You can create complex characters easily with ZBrush.
Face modeling is the hardest part to make in 3d modeling software, but once you learn the sculpting, you can create a realistic face easily.
You can find the step by step ZBrush tutorials here.
- ZSphere, Shadowbox
- Fibermesh and Zremesher
Where ZBrush has everything, Mudbox is only focusing on sculpting. Mudbox also implements the dynamesh feature in the latest version.
If you are a beginner, you should start to learn Mudbox for sculpting because it’s easy to use.
Later on, you can move to ZBrush or stick with Mudbox.
- Dynamic tessellation
- Advanced retopology and texture baking
3. 3D Coat
3D Coat is a complete solution.
It has combined tools for 3d Modeling, sculpting, and texturing.
If you have a very tight budget and you need 3d modeling, sculpting, and texturing software, you should buy a 3d Coat.
- PBR texturing
- Digital sculpting
- Fast retopology tools
Meshmixer is a free 3d printing software for beginners and it’s available for Windows and MAC.
It’s widely used in the design and health industry. It has many awesome features such as drag n drop, measurement, etc.
- 3D Sculpting
- Remeshing and free form deformation
- 3D Pattern and lattices
It’s cad and sculpting software, So I add this software here. It’s freemium software.
It means, it has both free and paid versions both. In the free version, lot of limitations, but don’t worry.
The paid version of SelfCad is within your budget. The paid version is only for 14.99$/Month.
You can also buy a perpetual license which costs 500$ one-time payment.
- Shapes Generator
- Gear Generator
- 3d Printing
Best Cloth Simulation Software
Cloth making is very tough in 3d modeling software.
But with Cloth simulation software, you can easily create any type of cloth easily.
In this chapter, I will talk about some of the best cloth simulation software.
Let’s dive right in.
1. Marvelous Designer
With Marvelous Designer, you can create extremely realistic cloth easily.
You can also simulate the cloth with Marvelous designer. In short, MD is the best 3d cloth making and cloth simulation software.
- Cloth simulation and pattern creation
- Trim and detail
- Mesh transformation
ClO3D is extremely easy to use cloth making and cloth simulation software.
With Clo3d, you can style your cloth easily.
- Modular design
- Cloth simulation
- 3d arrangement and garment editing
- 2d pattern
- sewing and packing
- Fabric, trim, and more
Tuka3d is extremely easy to use virtual design software for cloth making and simulation.
You can also see the tightness and looseness of garments in Tuka3d software.
- Real pattern data
- Custom virtual model
- X-Ray and tension mapping
- Built-in rendering
Browzwear is a 3d fashion design software and it’s incredibly powerful and faster.
- VSTITCHER [Design, Develop and Produce]
- LOTTA [Rapid 3D design and styling]
- Style Zone [View and share 3D design]
- FAB [Automatic fabric properties analysis]
5. Romans CAD
Romans CAD is designed for the footwear industry. You can design footwear easily with Romans CAD.
Standalone Retopology Software
Most artists hate retopology and Unwrapping but both are essential.
Retopology and UV Mapping take too much time but with some tools and scripts, you can reduce Unwrapping and retopology time.
Let’s find the tools.
Every industry-standard 3d modeling software has retopology tools but they are very limited features.
Topogun is the best retopology software.
Topogun is a standalone retopology tool, Topogun has very advanced tools for retopology.
- Subdivision surface support
Premium 3D Texturing Software
Texturing a 3d model is not hard if you use a right 3d texturing software
In this chapter, I will talk about some of the best 3d texturing software.
With this PBR Texturing software, you can create realistic textures in less time.
Let’s dive right in.
1. Substance Painter
Substance painter the best 3d texturing software for games.
It used PBR Texturing workflow and it’s widely used in the Gaming industry.
If you are still using Adobe PhotoShop for texturing, I recommend switching from Photoshop to Substance Painter.
If you want to learn Substance Painter, you can take a look at the Substance Painter tutorial collection.
- Smart material and masks
- UV reprojection
- Post procession
- Dynamic material layering
- Custom shaders
2. Substance Designer
Substance Designer is a material creation software. With SD, you can easily create your material.
With Substance Designer, you can design tileable textures and patterns, design textures from scratch, etc.
- Pre-made resources
- Non-destructive workflow
3. Substance Alchemist
Substance Alchemist is a very powerful tool to transform 2d photos into 3d materials or tweak your existing material with ease.
With alchemist, you can create the pattern, single or multiple photos into one material, and more.
- Material blending
- automatic color variation
Mari is 3d painting software like Substance Painter but it’s widely used in Films, VFX industry.
Mari used a very high-resolution texture set which is essential to render the extremely realistic scene for VFX.
In Short, you can use Substance Painter for Gaming and Mari for VFX.
- High-resolution texture
- projection painting
- Complex geometry handling
Best 3D Rendering Software
Most software has a default rendering engine, some default rendering software is good but some are worst and time-consuming
In this chapter, I will talk about some of the best 3d rendering software.
Let’s dive right in.
Arnold is the best rendering software.
Currently, it’s available for 3DS Max, Maya, Cinema4d, Katana, Houdini, and Softimage.
- Motion blur and SSS
- Deferred geometry loading
- Memory efficient
- Subdivision and displacement
V-Ray is a popular rendering engine and it’s available for every major 3d software.
It’s widely used to render architecture, advertising, and visual effect scene.
- Photorealistic Ray Traced rendering
Redshift is an award-winning and world-first GPU acceleration-based rendering engine.
Currently, it supports Cinema 4d, Maya, 3DS Max, Houdini, Blender, and Katana.
- Global illimitation
- Transformation and deformation blur
- Volumetric rendering
- Tessellation and displacement
Corona is a CPU-based rendering engine, currently, it supports only 3DS Max and Cinema4d.
It’s popular in the Architectural industry.
Where most render engines are complicated to understand, it’s easy to understand.
- Easy to use
- Less rendering time
Keyshot is easy to use real-time ray-tracing software.
Keyshot used a very simple workflow.
If you are a beginner, you can easily understand the Keyshot rendering system in a few hours.
- CPU and GPU rendering
- HDRI and physical lighting
- Toon shading
Maxwell is a rendering engine and it’s available for Rhino, Sketchup, 3DS Max, Maya, Cinema 4d, and ArchiCAD.
If you use any other software, you can try Maxwell Studio, It’s a standalone rendering software.
- Multi GPU
- Accurate 3D motion blur
- V-Ray scene import
7. Octane Render
Octane Render is a GPU-based rendering engine. It is available for every major 3d modeling software.
It’s shocking but it’s a faster rendering engine.
- Volumetric and Deep pixel rendering
- OSL and live texture baking
- Toon shading and Denoiser
Lumion is a great rendering engine for architectural visualization. It’s a very powerful rendering engine because of its features.
It’s available for major 3d modeling software.
- Displacement mapping
- Photo matching
- Paint placement
- Foliage for material
- Pure glass
Renderman is a Pixar product.
If you love Pixar animation movies, you will also love this rendering engine.
Do you know, Pixar uses Presto software for animated moves but it’s not available for sale.
You can also use Pixar Render, It’s a great rendering engine and it’s available for every major 3d software.
- Better skin and soft materials
- Volume and particles
- Checkpointing and advanced hair shading
10. Marmoset Toolbag
Marmoset Toolbag is a real-time rendering, texturing, and baking tool.
It’s widely used in the gaming industry and it’s very popular among game artists.
I am a gaming artist, and I love marmoset toolbags. I will be able to create a beautiful render within seconds in Marmoset Toolbag.
For my previous gun modeling project, I use Marmoset Toolbag.
- Free asset library
- Real-world accuracy
Now, It’s Your Turn
Which software you use , free or premium.
Let me know in the comment section.
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