6 Best 3D Modeling Software Reviews of 2023
Even though 3D modeling covers a wide range of applications such as animation, game design, architecture, manufacturing, and product design, it's still considered to be a mystical and complicated work of art by the vast majority. Actually, getting started with 3D modeling can be easier than you thought, as long as you have a great helper.
The best 3D modeling software allows you to quickly create and test detailed 3D models of objects before production. What's more, it lets you evaluate functionality, assess design flaws, and make changes digitally, saving you a lot of time and resources. Here are the top 6 picks from 2023 that you'll love. Now check them out and learn how to make your best choice.
Top 6 3D Modeling Software
After reviewing tens of 3D modeling software in the market, the following 6 options made themself to the top list.
Blender is a versatile open-source 3D modeling software for free that offers a wide range of features and capabilities. It is a popular choice among artists, designers, animators, and professionals in various industries. This software offers a robust set of 3D modeling tools including full N-Gon support, advanced sculpting, subdivision, painting, etc.
Moreover, there are all kinds of brushes, and add-ons to make the 3D creation a piece of cake. Blender also has its own built-in engine, known as Cycles, which provides amazing rendering with real-time preview, VR support, PBR shaders, and HDR lighting support. Better yet, there is a studio that includes tutorials for people of all skill levels to get down to Blender.
Price: $94,00/month, $719/year, or $3495 one-time
Cinema 4D, developed by Maxon, is a comprehensive and cross-platform 3D modeling software in the fields of motion graphics, visual effects, game development, and architectural visualization. It is compatible with major operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux.
This easy 3D modeling software boasts a user-friendly interface and a highly intuitive workflow for anyone to get down to 3D creation. It offers excellent features for 3D modeling, sculpting, texturing, lighting, animation, and rendering. Meanwhile, it also supports various modeling techniques like polygonal modeling, parametric modeling, etc. to create highly detailed and realistic 3D assets.
Price: $39.00/month, $359.00/year, or $895 one-time
ZBrush is one of the best 3D modeling software in digital sculpting and painting. It is acclaimed in the field of 3D art and design for its powerful sculpting tools and intuitive workflow. It provides a revolutionary set of sculpting brushes and dynamic tools that lets people sculpt incredibly detailed and intricate 3D models with ease.
What's more, it offers a vast selection of customizable brushes to add intricate details and refine 3D models accurately. These brushes can be used to manipulate geometry, create patterns, and achieve lifelike effects. You can paint directly on models to give realistic color and texture using various brushes and materials. ZBrush also offers advanced features like polypainting and Spotlight, which streamline the texturing process.
Autodesk 3ds Max
Price: $235/month, $1,875/year, $5,625/3 years
Autodesk 3ds Max is the leading 3D modeling software for 3D modeling, animation, and rendering. It has a versatile set of tools for creating 3D models of various objects, environments, characters, and more. Plus, it offers advanced polygon modeling and procedural modeling that enable you to create intricate and detailed models for use in games, films, architectural visualization, and other industries.
Moreover, you can create and control a variety of light sources, adjust shadows, and render high-quality images or animations using its powerful rendering engine. Additionally, 3ds Max integrates with other rendering engines like Arnold and V-Ray for even more rendering options.
Price: SketchUp Free, SketchUp Go ($119/yr), SketchUp Pro ($349/yr), SketchUp Studio ($749/yr)
SketchUp rolls out various versions including free 3D modeling software with limited features. It brings intuitive drawing and shaping tools for creating 3D models. Also, it empowers you to add textures and materials to make your creation more realistic.
One of the key features of SketchUp is its integration with 3D Warehouse, a vast online repository of pre-built 3D models. This integration allows you to access a wealth of ready-to-use models, components, and textures. That can save you time and accelerate your design process. Furthermore, SketchUp keeps releasing useful tutorials on its YouTube channel for enthusiasts to master the software.
Price: $70/month, $545/year, $1,635/3 years
Fusion 360 is one of the best CAD software for 3D printing and modeling. It will streamline your 3D creation with its remarkable features and capabilities including parametric modeling, assembly design, sculpting, sheet metal design, generative design, simulation and analysis, CAM toolpaths, and 3D printing utilities.
You can use direct, surface, parametric, mesh, or freeform modeling to design a prototype quickly. There are also automation tools that can save you much effort and improve productivity in the process. Moreover, it is devoted to collaboration that unifies your team to create, review, and revise the project all in one place. If you're in a team, Fusion 360 may be an optimal 3D modeling software for you.
How to Choose the Best 3D Modeling Software
If you're confused about making a choice, then you may grasp the ideas below of how to choose the best simple 3D modeling software for yourself. There are a few factors to consider.
- Skill Level - Some 3D modeling software is more beginner-friendly with user-friendly interfaces and simple workflows, while others are better suited for experienced users with more advanced features.
- 3D Printing Compatibility -If you plan to use the models for 3D printing, make sure that the preferred 3D modeling software can export common 3D printing file formats such as STL.
- Features and Tools- Compare the features and tools of different 3D modeling software. See if they have specific functions you need, such as sculpting tools, animation capabilities, rendering, etc.
- Project Requirements - Consider your specific project requirements. Different 3D modeling software may be more suitable for different types of projects.
- Price and Budget - Budget is an important consideration. Please check out the pricing and licensing types of the chosen 3D modeling software.
Tip for Using 3D Modeling Software for 3D Printing
As 3D printing is becoming increasingly popular nowadays, you may want to know more about using 3D modeling software for 3D printing. Normally, you need 3D modeling software first to create a detailed and flawless 3D model, and then export it to an STL file for 3D printing. All recommendations above can export 3D designs to STL files.
However, a reliable and reputable 3D printer is also important. Here are 2 excellent picks for your reference:
AnkerMake M5 3D Printer is a top-rated option that is favored by people around the world. It comes with a design in an aluminum alloy structure that can work for a pretty long time. Be it a newbie or an expert, AnkerMake has a dedicated app for you to remotely control the printing from multiple devices. The integrated camera can monitor the process in real-time. With its advanced technology, the precision can be kept within 0.1 mm and the speed boosted to 500mm/s.
AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer is a more affordable pick for people of all skill levels. Its all-metal hotend can withstand up to 300°C and is suitable for almost all 3D printing requirements. Moreover, it's compatible with various filaments like PLA+, PETG, ABS, TPU, etc. It allows a maximum extrusion flow of 35 mm³/s and the fastest printing speed of 500 mm/s, so you can save 80% of the time in 3D printing. Fast as it is, it can still keep the amazing precision within 0.1 mm.
Which one is your best 3D modeling software? According to the features, skill level, purpose, and project requirements, you may have your answer now. As 3D modeling continues developing, these software platforms will play an important role in shaping visions into tangible 3D masterpieces. Make an informed choice, and let your creative journey unfold with the best tools at your disposal.
Can I use 3D modeling software for game development?
Yes, you can use 3D modeling software for game development. 3D modeling software is commonly used to create characters, props, scenes, and other 3D elements in games. Some popular choices such as Blender, Autodesk 3ds Max, and ZBrush are widely used in the game development industry. Game development teams use them to create various character models, environmental elements, weapons, and special effects in games.
Are there online 3D modeling tools available?
Yes, there are many online 3D modeling tools available for use. You can access and create 3D models through a web browser without any software. Here are some common tools:
- Tinkercad: Tinkercad is a beginner-friendly online 3D modeling tool that offers a simple drag-and-drop interface for creating basic 3D models.
- SketchUp Free: SketchUp Free is the online version of SketchUp. It provides intuitive tools for creating architectural and scene models in 3D.
- Vectary: Vectary is a powerful online 3D modeling tool for creating high-quality 3D models and is suitable for professional modelers and designers.