10 Highly Useful Free 3D Modeling Software Choices for 2019
Commercial 3D software can be very expensive, and with the often steep learning curve, buying that software can prove costly if you are just learning. Luckily, there are some great free choices out there that will let you dip your feet into 3D without a huge financial commitment. Below is a list of software that will let you get started.
Blender is the big boy on the block in the open source 3D world. It has been used in TV and Film, notably a whole number of shots for “Man In The High Castle.” It’s a fully functional package that lets you go from concept to movie.
With that capability comes a learning curve. Fortunately, this learning curve is set to get much easier with the release of version 2.8, which is proving to be much easier for new users to grasp. The software does almost everything that commercial packages can do, and there is a huge community willing to help you learn.
You can grab the latest versions here: www.blender.org
BForArtists, or aptly named Blender for Artists is a fork of Blender that cleans up the interface and makes things tidy. It claims to be more user friendly and includes left-click functionality in a stable version. This makes for a much easier learning curve for those new to 3D that come from other software where left-click is the norm.
This program is set to get some competition from Blender itself with the release of version 2.8, which has cleaned up a tremendous amount of noise in the interface and streamlined the feel with workspaces and glyphs. Both programs have their place and like everything, it’s up to the user to ultimately decide what to use.
You can pick up BForArtists Here: https://www.bforartists.de/
Sculptris is a lightweight app from Pixologic, who also makes the wildly successful 3D sculpting tool zBrush. While this program has a different interface and bears almost no resemblance to zBrush, it’s a fully functional sculpting app. It’s worth taking a look and playing with it as you can get used to sculpting in 3D for free, and translate your skillset to other paid apps like zBrush when you are ready.
Download Sculptris Here: http://pixologic.com/sculptris/
SculptGL is a really cool web-based sculpting app. That’s right, you click on this link, it opens in your browser, and you can begin sculpting. It doesn’t get easier than that. Nothing to download, install, or anything.
Check it out Here: https://stephaneginier.com/sculptgl/
This is a very useful little web-based app that allows you to build 3D Models. The modeling tool set is pretty easy to grasp and the interface is not daunting like many other 3D apps. This runs in a browser, so you can use it from anywhere you have an internet connection and web browser, and you can export to .obj and .stl files to share with other applications.
Play with it Here: https://www.vectary.com/
If you like Legos or Minecraft, you’ll love this little app. You work with blocks and approximations of real-world tools like hammers, chisels, drills, etc… It’s both fun and intuitive, and exports to other packages and printers via .obj and .stl formats.
Get it Here: https://www.3dslash.net/index.php
This one has been around for a while and is really quite intuitive. Whatever you have selected, tools appear for that selection, so you’re not bogged down with tons of icons on a cluttered interface. It also has a great subdivision capability and exports to other apps via a host of file formats including .fbx, .obj, .3ds, .dae, and others…
Give it try Here: http://www.wings3d.com/
This is a web-based app that allows for a host of 3D modeling tools. It runs in your browser, so there’s nothing to download, install, or troubleshoot. On top of that, it uses V-Ray as its’ renderer, which is a professional grade rendering application that has been used on many feature films. For this alone, it’s worth trying out.
You can use it Here: https://clara.io/
This is a more sophisticated building block app like Slash 3D. It’s like playing with Legos or Minecraft, and allows for some pretty complex shapes. It plays nicely with other apps via the .obj file format.
Give it a try Here: https://ephtracy.github.io/
This is a fully functional and open-source CAD program. I’ve seen it used in engineering firms that historically use Catia, so it’s pretty solid. If you want to get your hands dirty and design to specifications for manufacturing or 3D printing, learn this. It’s great for engineers and those who want solid engineering models. This is really a gift of an application.
Download it HERE: http://www.freecadweb.org/