The Best 8 Free and Open Source 3D Modeling Software
3D models are crucial components of digital production whether we talk about animation, gaming, architecture, industrial design or 3D printing industry. With a minimum of fuss, you can realize your creative ideas if you have the right 3D modeling software.
From time to time, the beginners and home users find it difficult to turn the ideas into 3D prototypes and models as most 3D modeling programs are expensive and complicated to learn. People don’t prefer spending hundreds of dollars on software that are for small projects or occasional use.
Often beginners don’t have the time and training essential to master the 3D modeling software. Many 3D modeling programs are accessible for beginners to change their ideas into a model. If these models are free, then it will be great for beginners.
In this article, you will get acquainted with the best open source 3D modeling software that is free to use. But before that let’s discuss what 3D modeling software is and understand critical factors that will help you choose the best 3D modeling software.
What is 3D Modeling Software?
The 3D modeling software develops an object in three dimensions.It is considered as a specialized software that is capable of building up a mathematical representation of surfaces, objects and much more in 3D. It may display the 3D models as ‘normal’ 2D images. In a 3D space, a 3D model uses points and attaches it by geometric entities like straight lines, curved surfaces, and triangles to represent physical bodies.
The application of 3D models is used in almost any industry as our imagination only limits it. For example, the entertainment industry employs 3D modeling software to create characters and whole movie sequences. Most 3D modeling software encourages converting 3D models into 2D images. It is 3D rendering.
What is the criterion to select a modeling program?
Many modeling programs are available, and it is essential to choose the right kind of 3D modeling software as it serves up a different type of users. Some focus on game graphics, animation, and film while some are for home designers.3D printing is within reach of the heaps due to the advanced and more affordable technology.
To pick the best open source 3D Modeling Software following the requirement of the project is the daunting task.
Key factors to consider before deciding on a modeling program:
- Requirements of the hardware
- Easy to use and learn the software
- Purpose of the software- artistic projects or engineering projects or both
- Timeline editor is available or not
- Supported file formats and formats in which models can be exported or printed
- Supported operating systems and software requirement
Why is 3D Modeling important?
Around the world, the architects use 3D modeling to enjoy efficiency and aesthetic of their design. It provides architects and engineers with the required tools. The designs get transformed due to 3D modeling. Let’s discuss in what ways 3D modeling is essential:
- Image Speaks- Image speaks a thousand words. You can give life to your favorite images using a 3D printer and can create unique personalized objects.
- Realistic & Quick- 3D modeling facilitates a single picture of architectural services. The design gets vivid. It becomes easy to take a virtual tour of the construction projects.
- Simple re-modeling & Corrections- On the overall design you can effortlessly see the impact. Without much cost, you can finalize the design — the end construction shapes-up to the conceived output due to its accuracy.
- Apt for marketing- It is more compelling and satisfying to experience a 3D model. For a more extended time, the vivid imagery lingers in the prospect’s mind. In the construction business, if the 3D model is used, then the approval rate gets quicker.
- Blessing for interior designers- You can give a compelling view of the dream home or office building to the clients. With all the furniture, wall paints and designs you can plan the life-like model of the residential or commercial flat.
- No language barrier- The 3D designs are instruction less and have no language barriers. Any human can understand 3D model naturally and can experience the virtual reality which it creates.
Comparison Chart of 3D Modeling Software
Blender is one of the best free open source 3D modeling software that can be beneficial for 3D modeling, rendering, game creation, video editing, compositing, rigging, animation, motion tracking and much more. The active community of users that consist of studios and hobbyists support the software. It is considered a popular and quite vigorous 3D modeling engine that holds lots of features for the serious modelers. There are plenty of tutorials for beginners which will guide them to use the software.
It embraces tools VFX professionals and animation artists that are required to complete the projects. It may include raw footage import, camera, and object tracking, area masking, custom bone shapes, and sound synchronization. It supports Onion Skinning and is accessible for Mac OS, Linux, Steam and Windows. It works great for advanced users and is considered an all-in-one solution.
- Community-backed and extremely customizable
- CPU, GPU, and VR rendering support
- Real-time previews
- Object tracking and production-ready camera
- Object, auto & manual tracking along with the production-ready camera
- Raw footage import & supports all major operating systems
- Cycles Render Engine
- Join 2D & 3D
Sculptris is an outstanding free 3D sculpting tool that attracts all levels of modeling abilities. Pixologic is the famous Sculptris developer and appreciated for its ZBrush sculpting and modeling suite. In a manner, Sculptris is considered a free trial for the featured-rich ZBrush suite. In today’s market, it is the most extensively used digital sculpting application. If you want to move on to the next level of detailing, then the skills learned in Sculptris can be directly translated into ZBrush.
This 3D modeling software free is mainly get geared toward those who are fresh to this space. It is excellent for all skill levels. The users who are new to the discipline will find this software a high starting point. The more knowledgeable CG artists will see the software a swift and effortless way to comprehend concepts.
- The considerable number of modeling tools
- Easy to sculpt & texture a model
- Layout & overall design is simple to learn
- Keep on the track due to tooltips & Hints
- Intuitive & clean interface
- Navigational Controls
- Dynamic Tessellation
3 Wings 3D
Wings 3D is the free open source 3D modeling software that is designed for subdivision modeling. This subdivision modeling is the method to represent a smooth surface over linear polygon mesh. It offers a comprehensive modeling toolset and an intuitive interface. It supports for materials and lights that let beginners or experts produce 3D content quickly. Though Wings 3D provides no animation support and goes for model design entirely rather than a full studio, it uses traditional polygonal 3D modeling techniques, so it is a useful tool for beginners.
This software is an excellent tool for learning 3D modeling basics that help in professional grade software packages. It is an advanced subdivision modeler that is influential and simple to use. For artistic and technical design you will find this tool good. Anything you learn about geometric meshes it gets translated to other 3D modeling software.
- Offers modeling tools
- Users make quick adjustments to mesh
- Editing of lighting, textures, materials and vertex colors
- Supports many other 3D file formats
- Built-in AutoUV mapping facility
- Context sensitive interface
- Exports to common 3D file formats like.obj
- Configurable interface and hotkeys
Seamless 3D is the free open source 3D modeling software that is available for all under the MIT license. This tool takes time to learn, so the artist who is realistic about the time will find this tool interesting. It offers creative freedom.
If you want to make quality 3D animated content for the web, then this software will prove to be sturdy and practical. It is fitted more towards seasoned artists and designers. At no additional cost, the users have full access to all the features.
- Import/Export file formats like X3D Obj, BVH motion capture, VRML, POV-Ray formats
- Infinite undo and redo option
- Editing functionalities such as WYSIWYG capabilities
- Specific tree view interface
- Single skinned mesh animation
- Morphing & Scripting
- Multi-user 3D chat web browsing
- Insightful animation bar
- Partitioned & seamless texture mapping
- PNG & JPG texture formats
- Tangent matched NURBS surface fusion and sound synthesis
- Polygon subdivision
- Robot display help
- Outputs clean efficient files
- Speedy well-organized program
Dust3D is a new 3D modeling software that helps you create a 3D watertight base model in seconds. You can use it to quicken your character modeling in game making and 3D printing. Especially for game developers, it is considered a quick 3D modeling software. It got designed for quickly making game dev ready assets. Dust3D 1.0 beta version has been released.
This cross-platform open source 3D modeling software for 3D printing is free whether you are on Windows, MacOs or Linux. For personal or for commercial purposes you can use it freely as Dust3D software binaries and source use MIT License.
- Auto UV unwrapping
- Auto-rigging with PBR material support
- Pose and motion authoring
- Quick 3D modeling software
- Automatically produces a mesh from nodes
- Mostly code is executed in C++ with Qt
- No self-intersection
- Supports pose and motion editing
- Create base meshes
Mandelbulb 3D is an apt choice if you are interested in fractals. To get used to this application will undoubtedly take some time but once you get acquainted with it, then the result will be exciting. It requires the operating system: Windows (XP or higher) or iOS. It is free, and the files are present in the course. It is considered a fractal rendering software.
It creates remarkable fractal objects and scenes. In three dimensions this free and cross-platform desktop computer graphics application calculates and renders complex fractals. By only playing around with the formulas and seeing what you get you can begin. From the website, you can get downloadable examples to experiment. Colors, lighting, specularity, shadow, flow effects, and depth-of-field are in the 3D fractal environment. It produces moving fractal objects. The world of fractals will allow you to create and explore unbelievable and overwhelming designs.
- Use simple tools to generate 3D fractals
- Put in visual effects to any fractal
- Produce 3600 renders and high-class renders
- Export fractals as 3D models
- Edit lighting & color characteristics
- Simply create GIFs and animations
- Explore an infinite world produced mathematically
SketchUp is a spontaneous and reachable modeler which is initially developed by Google. Now Trimble owns it.Commonly it is used in fields such as building design, architecture, and engineering.It makes a 3D model of anything as it enables line drawing, push & pull surfaces and shape rotation. It provides a free library of pre-existing 3D models from which you can select and work.
Due to its ease of use and speed, the SketchUp has formed a place with professionals in the visualization field. It serves as an excellent starting point if your interest is in architectural modeling. It is an intuitive and accessible modeler. It acts as a “3D modeling for everyone” that offers video tutorials for beginner, intermediate and expert users. The basic SketchUp version is free of cost.
- Locate 3D models in 3D Warehouse
- Set 3D models into drawings
- Start by drawing lines and shapes
- Push & pull surfaces to turn lines & shapes into 3D forms
- Quick iteration
- Intuitive & powerful
- Aids users in creating compelling visualizations
- Generate presentation documents
Onshape is considered for “modern agile design teams” and is meant to be entirely cloud-based 3D modeling software. It is the first and only full-cloud 3D CAD system that let for the teamwork with the members of the team. It can use any web browser, tablet or phone. It is ideal for open source collaboration.
Anywhere and anytime you can use the 3D CAD modeling software tool. It is designed exclusively for today’s agile design teams. You can start playing with it as it is entirely cloud-based. It has no downloads or installs. You can keep your designs private and encourage customers along with your team to work on the plan with you.
- Real-time deployment and access
- Synchronized data management
- Enterprise-grade CAD
- Concurrent analytics and controls
Though the 3D Modeling software mentioned above are unquestionably valuable and helpful, you can even try 3DS Max Modeling software. Below you can have a look of all the prominent features of 3ds Max and can discover in what ways this tool is beneficial to your 3D Modeling projects.
3DS Max is the 3D modeling and rendering software that allows design visualization, animation, and games. You can take full-artistic control with this professional-quality 3D model.
To shape and define detailed environments, objects, and characters, you can make use of 3ds Max toolsets. With this app, you will have engaging virtual reality experiences and can create massive worlds in games along with stunning scenes for design visualization.
This software works with the most significant renderers that help in creating high-end scenes. You can scale your workflow with automated processes in this tool. In less time, this efficient and flexible software will help you create 3D content. It is meant for all types of enterprises –small, medium, and large.
(Source: 3DS Max)
- Camera Control
- Projection Tools
- Dynamics & effects
Hope this article helped you in identifying some of the best free and open source 3D modeling software. The entire open source 3D modeling software for 3D printing will immensely facilitate you in your creativity.
Both beginners and advanced users can create incredible 3D art by picking up the right 3D modeling software in accordance to your style and skill level.
Isn’t it great to know that by 2026 the 3D Modeling will capture market size worth around US$1.08 billion? Recently, smartphones have started adding support for 3D modeling.
Assertively you can communicate your message with the help of open source 3D modeling software as it will allow you to employ appropriate colors, depth, and movement where words cannot just play their role. Enjoy the creative world with the free open source 3D modeling software where you can sculpt three-dimensional models of objects and characters.
Here you will get the platform to come across with the more options on the best 3D modeling software to construct your 3D modeling application. In case you have tried out any of the above listed 3D modeling software, then feel free to share your valuable views and feedback on the same.