Best 3D Software: Top 5 3D Editing Software Available Today
For those of you looking to create in 3D, you not only need good skills but also great software to support your talent. What an individual is looking for in 3D software varies for a number of reasons. There are two main kinds of 3D software available on the market. Here we give you the lowdown on both kinds and what they do, and then share our favorite options.
No matter what you are looking for in 3D software, there is definitely a compatible program out there for you and we are here to help you find it. Before we get into our top five choices let's take a closer look at some key things to consider when it comes to selecting the perfect software for you.
Things to Consider When Choosing 3D Software
There is no ‘one size fits all’ 3D software when it comes to addressing and supporting specific professional needs and capabilities. What an expert may be looking for in software can be very different to what a beginner needs. That said, there are a few main things everyone should consider before selecting a 3D software, regardless of ability and experience.
Depending on the particular desired outcome, you may find that you need to use both kinds of 3D software. Both CAD and modeling software can contribute in their own right to different parts of various projects. So, first consider what you wish to print and this will help you decide what kind of software you need, or if you may need both.
The most important thing to consider when choosing a 3D software is what your desired outcome is. CAD software and modeling software are both great but for different things. CAD is used for more industrial purposes. It is great for designing mechanical and industrial objects. Whereas 3D modeling software is used when making films or video games and special effects.
Another important thing to consider is how much disk space your computer will need to support the setup and installation of 3D software. As a general rule of thumb most 3D work will require at least 16 GB RAM but preferably more. So, before you take the plunge and start trying to download some great new software, check that your computer has a good amount of memory.
You will need memory, not only to support the initial installation but also any work that you do and want to save. Generally speaking, the installation of 3D modeling software requires around 5 GB of disk space. So be sure to consider that prior to download and installation.
For those of you who are past the beginner’s stage and are starting to take your 3D art quite seriously, another important thing to consider is a graphics card. If you do not already have one, it is definitely worth investing in. A graphics card will improve the quality of images on the screen, allowing for even better 3D image design and production.
A fast processor is great for a number of reasons. In terms of how it will help when using 3D modeling software, it really will ease your 3D art design and production. As 3D modeling software can be so big, a faster processor will help to ensure the software is able to work well.
Now we have covered some of the basics, let's get in to the main reason you are here. Read on to take a closer look at our top 5 choices of 3D software.
5 Best 3D Software
We have found the best of both CAD and modeling software, dependent on what you are looking for as a user.
This book is the most comprehensive book you will find on AutoCAD 2019 – 2D Drafting. Covering all of the 2D concepts, it uses both metric and imperial units to illustrate the myriad drawing and editing tools for this popular application. Use the companion disc to set up drawing exercises and projects and see all of the book’s figures in color. AutoCAD 2019 Beginning and Intermediate includes over 100 exercises or “mini-workshops,” that complete small projects from concept through actual plotting. Solving all of the workshops will simulate the creation of three projects (architectural and mechanical) from beginning to end, without overlooking any of the basic commands and functions in AutoCAD 2019.
This mid-range software is great for both beginners and those with experience. This is definitely aimed at intermediate users though. While it does have a wide variety of different tools, it is most likely not the best pick if you’re a heavily seasoned professional looking for advanced features.
The choice of tools and features is perfect for beginners and those looking to extend their skill set further. AutoCAD 2019 is also easy to learn how to use for new users and has excellent rendering capabilities that are photorealistic.
AutoCAD is available for both Microsoft and Mac OS X users but is only available via paid subscription. If you are interested in getting AutoCAD 2019, you can access a free trial.
TurboCAD Deluxe 2018 is another great CAD option. It comes with a variety of different tools and is also really user-friendly, especially for beginners. This powerful piece of software works well to create both 2D and 3D designs.
Compared to AutoCAD 2019, this is also a cheaper option. TurboCAD requires a one-off payment and once it’s yours, you are entitled to unlimited free support from the creators. TurboCAD is available on both Microsoft and Mac OS X operating systems. If you are interested in giving it a go you, can download it here.
Here is an option that works as both CAD and 3D modeling Software
A practical guide to SketchUp addressing the specific needs of interior designers
This is a program which gives you the best of both worlds, SketchUpis one of the most popular, free, 3D modeling and CAD software out there. Not only is it free, SketchUp is also one of the most user-friendly and easy to use 3D software packages available. If you are just starting out in the world of 3D modeling and design, this is a great choice.
Not only can you access this program with no financial investment, the easy and user-friendly interface is great for beginners. The most common use for SketchUp is for 3D architectural models, but this software has a wide variety of features to support other 3D projects too.
SketchUp comes with the ability to add on various plugins. This allows your software to adapt and evolve to support whatever 3D art or project you are working on. For example, one plug-in allows the user to convert their 3D creations into STL or OBJ format, which will make it printable on a 3D printer.
3D Modeling Software
3D Modeling Software is used for more artistic and freeform work. This kind of software is mainly used by animators, game developers and filmmakers. Users may choose 3D modeling software over CAD because it gives them more control. 3D modeling software allows more direct input to individual surfaces and vertices that make up the shape being worked on. This allows creators to achieve more organic-looking final products as they have more ways to manipulate and mold the shape.
3D modeling software is incredibly diverse and complex and allows creators to work on a variety of 3D projects. 3D modeling software is used for 3D printing, 3D animation and 3D gaming, as well as architectural and industrial design. With the ability to create so much using 3D modeling software, it is important to make the right choice. Here are some of our top picks for 3D modeling software:
Deliver professional-level 3D content in no time with this comprehensive guide to 3D animation with Maya. With over 12 years of training experience, plus several award winning students under his belt, author Adam Watkins is the ideal mentor to get you up to speed with 3D in Maya.
This incredibly powerful softwarehas an extremely high-end toolset. That said, it is no surprise that this is the program of choice for many of the top VFX and animation studios, such as Pixar. However, we suggest that, if you are a beginner to the world of 3D software or creating 3D art, this might not be the best program to start with.
This extremely advanced and complex 3D modeling software definitely takes time to get your head around. With such an array of advanced and technical features, you really do need to have a good grounding in 3D art before working on Maya. For those who have the skill and time to master this incredible program, it is most certainly worth the money and will have you producing incredible 3D art.
With great power and a complex tool set comes a hefty price tag. This is one of the more expensive 3D modeling software programs out there but is definitely worth it if your experience and skill set is good enough to get your money's worth.
If you are interested in downloading Maya, it is available for Windows, Apple OS X and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Maya is only available through monthly subscription and will only be financially realistic for those regularly using the software.
ZBrush is leading the revolution on a different approach to 3D modeling software. While most 3D modeling software combines different objects to create the final product, ZBrush allows users to carve and sculpt their images. Basically, just like a sculpture or statue would be carved out of a slab of marble, users can work the same way but on their computers.
Due to this different approach, much smoother lines and more complex shapes are easily created. That said, it is not surprising that this particular 3D modeling software is very popular among toy designers, especially when developing toys that have intricate details like action figures.
ZBrush stands out from the crowd, not only in its different approach for design and production but arguably it has one of the most complex selection of tools and features. With such a complex set of components available at the user's fingertips, it is no surprise that this is not an easy program to get your head around.
This is definitely not a program for the beginner and will be better suited for experts or those with good experience looking to develop their skills. ZBrush does not come cheap either, which is another thing to consider when making your final choice. Make sure you will be able to get back what you have invested.
All in all, there is a great deal of variety available when it comes to selecting the best 3D software for you. It all depends on your own specific set of criteria. The level of experience and skills you have, as well as how much you are prepared to spend and what your final outcome will be, will all influence your decision.
If you already have a great deal of 3D art background under your belt and are looking to develop your skills to a new level, a more complex software could be a great option. However, the best complex software also comes at a high price. With that in mind, it is probably best to ensure that what you produce with the 3D software will get you your money back.
Whatever software you decide is perfect for you, all of our suggestions are truly great in their own right. All offer a great variety of tools and features that support a number of different 3D projects. The more complex programs, however, do take longer to learn in order to use them to their full potential.
If it were up to us we would go with SketchUp, for two main reasons. First and foremost, it is free, so you don’t have much to lose if you change your mind. Secondly, it is used for both CAD and 3D modeling. SketchUp gives you the best of both worlds.