3d Modeling is the process of designing any 3d dimension (x, y, z) surface in mathematical representation. The final 3 dimensional piece created via specific computer software is known as a 3d model. It involves 3 processes i.e. 3d Modeling, 3d Animation and 3d Rendering. Before proceeding to the list, let me tell you some usage of these softwares.
Industries where 3d Modeling applications are used
- Advertising and marketing
- Science and Geology
More and more people are choosing this career because it has very wide scope in future and of course it involves a lot of money too. But most of them faces a common problem at startup which is selecting the suitable and right software. Well, if you are one of them we can help you. Below is the list of best 3d modeling software for PCs that are available free of cost. Use them before jumping to any expensive software.
Table of Contents
Image credit: zmodeler
Zmodeler (also known as Zanoza modeler) is powerful 3d modeling application which is used in developing popular games like Need for Speed, 18 wheels of steel, Midtown madness, Grand theft auto and more. It has filters to import and export meshes. The scene rendering can be made by taking screenshots only. Zmodeler is packed with standard primitive objects such as sphere, cones, cylinder and tubes. This is light software, that’s why you don’t need very high RAM or processor to run it. However, it depends on scene complexity and graphic card plays an important role here.
Image credit: wikimedia
TopMod is 3d topological mesh modeling system that allows you create high genus 2-manifold meshes. This is free, open source, portable and cross platform software. You can design the complex model easily and print them using 3d printer. Moreover, subdivision operations can be performed alternately during model construction.
13. SketchUp (Freemium)
Image credit: wikimedia
SketchUp is 3d modeling software suitable for game design, landscape architecture, interior design, light construction and remodeling. The software includes drawing tools, allows surface rendering and 3rd party plugins. It also enables placement of its model within Google Earth. It also supports extensions written in Ruby. At present, it is owned by Trimble Navigation.
SketchUp pro version comes with additional features for professional use that will cost you around $600.
12. AutoQ3D Community
Image credit: wikimedia
AutoQ3D Community is cross platform software 2d drafting and 3d modeling. It is free open source software written in C++ using Qt framework.
- Various image format support
- Multiple color and texture option
- Normal shade and Wireframe Rendering
- Modification, snapping and grouping tools
- Extensive graphic tools like UCS icon, triangle, zoom, stretch, mirror and much more
Image credit: k-3d
K-3d is powerful and versatile 3d animation software that features plugin oriented procedural engine. It has basic tools for patches, curves and animation.
- Arbitrary data flow
- Interactive tutorials
- Boolean modeling operation
- Unlimited hierarchical undo/redo
- Detailed selection of visible features/tools
- Powerful scene graph procedural modeling
- Animate any value and modeling operation
- Support for other rendering engine and model
10. Art of illusion
Image credit: artofillusion
Art of illusion is free open source modeling and rendering engine. It is powerful enough to build serious and high end animation projects.
- Graphical language for procedural texture
- Subdivision surface based modeling
- Object list and animation score
- Various extensions as plugin
- Skeleton based animation
- Customizable grid view
- Real time display mode
Built on BRL-CAD
BRL-CAD is cross platform solid geometry solid modeling system under LGPL version 2.
- Signal processing tool
- Interactive geometry editor
- Network distributed framebuffer support
- Ray tracing for rendering and geometric analysis
Graphic built on Anim8or
Anim8or is character animation and 3d modeling program with multiple tools which normally expected in paid software.
- 3d font support
- Built-in 3d object browser
- Mesh edit and subdivision
- Import and modify 3d object files
- Plugins for shape and object export
- OpenGL shaders for realistic previews
- Anti-aliased render for high quality images
Built on seamless3d
Seamless3d is an open source 3d modeling software designed for artists who has both time and patience.
- Morphing and scripting
- Single skilled mesh animation
- Specialized tree view interface
- Sound synthesis using NURBS
- Multi user 3d chat web browsing
- Partition and seamless texture mapping
- Import and export various 3d object format
Image credit: sourceforge
K3DSurf is a program to visualize and manipulate mathematical model. It supports Isosurfaces and parametric equations.
- Interactive visualization with mouse event
- Real time animation and morph
- Generate mesh file and create movie scene
- Supported formats are Povscript, VRML2 and OBJ
Image credit: ilovefreesoftware
DrawPlus is free graphic software that allows you to draw, design, edit and create high quality graphics.
- Quick and easy logo designer
- In-built photo studio
- Easy to use graphic design tool
- Realistic looking brushes and effects
- Simple vector tools to add lines and curves
Image credit: amabilis
3DCrafter is real time 3d modeling and animation tool that allows you create complex model either by 3d primitives or object building tools.
- Large number of export and import format
- Easy to use Drag Drop interface
- Tutorial included
- Create model and animate their shape and color in real time
3. Quake Army Knife
Quake Army Knife (or QuArK) is free and open source software for developing 3d objects especially for digital games. It runs on Microsoft Windows and mostly used in first person shooter game.
- Textured view edit in map-editor
- Colored lights in OpenGL 3D preview
- Unique and editable tree view display
- Eye camera handle in 3d mode for easy navigation
- Move and change dynamic game object without recompiling
- Customizable keys, colors, mouse-buttons and much more
Image credit: wings3d
Wings3d is the advanced subdivision modeler which is both powerful and easy to use. This is a cross platform and open source software inspired by Mirai and Nendo from Izware.
- Quick adjustment to a mesh
- Customizable hotkeys and interface
- Various modeling and selection tools
- Ngon mesh support and AutoUV mapping
- Import and export in many popular formats
- Modeling tool for magnets and vector operations
Also read: 10 Most Expensive Software
Blender is free and open source computer graphic software used for creating 3d animated films, games and applications.
- Fast UV unwrapping
- Photorealistic Rendering
- Realtime viewport preview
- Fast modeling and rigging
- Camera and object tracking
- Powerful animation toolset
- Simple and flexible interface
- Awesome simulation and game creation
- Accurate shades like glass, transparency and SSS