Best 3D Modeling Software in 2024

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In the world of digital creation, 3D modeling software is a crucial tool for transforming imaginative concepts into tangible models. The right 3D modeling software can elevate your creative capabilities, whether you’re in the automotive industry, movie-making, engineering, gaming, product design, or 3D printing.

With so many options available, it can be challenging to choose the best one for your needs. Our team has extensively tested a range of 3D modeling software, from beginner-friendly applications to advanced programs tailored for professionals, to help you navigate this expansive field.

In this article, we will introduce you to the best 3D modeling software available in 2024, offering unparalleled flexibility and creativity in design processes. 

The Best 3D Modeling Software in 2024

Here are detailed descriptions for each of the software on our list of the best 3D modeling tools. We’ve tested them thoroughly, so you can trust our recommendations.

1. Autodesk 3ds Max

Autodesk 3ds Max is a professional 3D modeling, rendering, and animation software that empowers users to create expansive worlds and premium designs.

Autodesk 3ds Max

It offers robust modeling tools to breathe life into environments and landscapes, intuitive texturing and shading tools for creating finely detailed designs, and the ability to produce professional-grade renders with full artistic control.

3ds Max is widely used by 3D modelers, animators, and lighting artists for game development, film and TV productions, and design visualization projects. It runs on Microsoft Windows 11 and Windows 10, and a free 30-day trial is available for those who want to experience its features before making a purchase.

Features:

  • Smart Extrude for interactive extrusion of faces on 3D objects
  • Tighter pipeline integration with support for Python 3
  • Modern UI and workspaces for creating custom workspaces with a responsive, high-DPI-ready user interface.
  • Create expansive virtual worlds with high-quality renderings
  • Produce professional-grade renders with full artistic control
  • Automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks to boost productivity

2. Blender

Blender is a powerful 3D modeling software that’s free for everyone to use. It’s known for being very flexible and can do everything from creating 3D models to animating them.

Blender

Whether you’re just starting or you’ve been doing 3D art for a while, Blender is great because it’s easy to use and there’s a lot of help available from other users online.

Blender has a 2D animation feature, which lets you mix 2D drawings with your 3D models. This makes it perfect for teams working together on a project. Each artist can focus on their part of a scene, and then everything can be combined seamlessly in the end.

Features:

  • Complete 3D modeling software with strong sculpting tools for detailed work.
  • Advanced rendering engine capable of creating photorealistic images.
  • Extensive animation tools for bringing creations to life.
  • Support for game development, allowing users to create assets for games.

3. Autodesk Maya

Autodesk Maya is a leading software for professional 3D modeling and animation, widely used in film and gaming industries. It offers a wide range of tools for creating detailed models, realistic animations, and stunning scenes.

Autodesk Maya

Maya is especially known for its ability to handle complex character rigging and dynamics, making it a standard choice for high-quality 3D production.

Similar to Blender, Maya is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux. It offers three subscription options: monthly, annual, or tri-annual payments.

Features:

  • Full 3D modeling software with many tools and options for creating detailed models.
  • Advanced tools for creating lifelike animations with characters.
  • Ability to customize and change the software to fit your needs.
  • Works well with other Autodesk products for easier collaboration and compatibility.

4. ZBrush

ZBrush is a cool 3D modeling software where you can sculpt digital clay in real-time, sort of like using a brush. It’s great for 3D printing because of how it works.

ZBrush

If you like design, ZBrush is a good choice. It gives objects a handmade look and lets you create new shapes easily. It’s also good for detailed sculpting, which is perfect for 3D printing.

Even though it might seem tricky at first, ZBrush is actually easy for beginners. You can go back to earlier versions of your design, make changes, and move forward again. This helps if you make mistakes or want to change things up.

You can get ZBrush by paying a subscription fee or buying it once.

Features:

  • Sculpt and paint virtual clay in real-time.
  • Wide range of brushes for shaping, texturing, and painting.
  • Sculpt up to a billion polygons for highly detailed models.
  • Features like Mask Region, ZRemesher, and Slime Bridge.
  • Powerful options for preparing models for 3D printing or other digital applications.

5. SketchUp

SketchUp is known for its user-friendly interface and efficiency, especially in architectural and interior design. It’s quick and intuitive, making it popular among both professionals and hobbyists.

SketchUp

Despite its simplicity, SketchUp doesn’t compromise on versatility, making it suitable for various tasks. Home users can use SketchUp Free to create 3D objects in their browser, while SketchUp Go offers 3D modeling on iPad and web.

SketchUp Pro provides more tools and supports browsers, desktops, and tablets. For advanced features like photorealistic models and animation, there’s SketchUp Studio, available only for Windows users.

Features:

  • Easy-to-use interface for creating 3D models.
  • Library of 3D models for added convenience.
  • Interactive designs with components that respond to user input.
  • Special integration for seamless use with Google Earth.

6. Rhino

Rhino, or Rhinoceros, is a versatile 3D modeling software widely used in design fields like industrial design and architecture.

Rhino

What makes Rhino unique is its support for both NURBS (Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines) and mesh modeling, giving designers a flexible platform for creating complex 3D models.

Available for both Mac and PC, Rhino can sculpt objects, adapt LIDAR scans, work with meshes from other systems, and render scenes using ray tracing. Similar to 3ds Max, Rhino offers plugin solutions and a developer platform for creating new ones.

Features:

  • 3D Modeling with NURBS for accurate surface creation
  • Advanced tools for intricate surface design
  • Parametric modeling for flexible design adjustments
  • Scripting and automation support for streamlined workflows

7. Tinkercad

Tinkercad is a simple and easy-to-use 3D modeling software made for beginners and educational use. With its user-friendly interface, users can create 3D models using a drag-and-drop system, perfect for those new to 3D design.

Tinkercad

It’s commonly used in schools to teach students the fundamentals of 3D modeling and design. Tinkercad is ad-free and certified by kidSAFE, providing a safe learning environment for users of all ages.

Additionally, it offers apps for both Android and iOS devices, allowing users to access its features on the go.

Features:

  • Innovative 3D modeling software featuring drag-and-drop design
  • User-friendly interface tailored for beginners
  • Collaborate seamlessly with cloud-based collaboration
  • Effortlessly integrate with 3D printing technology

8. Modo

Modo is a strong software for making 3D models, sculptures, and pictures. It’s famous for its powerful tools for shaping things, whether they’re smooth or have hard edges.

Modo

Many people in movies, games, and other entertainment industries use it to make things look cool. You can try it for free for 30 days. It also lets you make your tools and organize the screen how you like it.

Features:

  • Comprehensive 3D software with strong modeling tools
  • Advanced UV mapping capabilities
  • Realistic rendering with physically based rendering
  • Procedural modeling for creating complex models

9. FreeCAD

FreeCAD is a useful open-source 3D modeling tool made for product design and engineering. It’s modular and can be customized to fit different needs, which is great for people who like community-driven software.

FreeCAD

It has modern Finite Element Analysis (FEA) tools, experimental CFD, and other features like BIM, Geodata, or CAM/CNC workbenches. FreeCAD works on Windows, Mac, and Linux and is written in C++ and Python.

Features:

  • Versatile 3D modeling software
  • Customizable modular architecture
  • Ability to extend functionality with Python scripting
  • Community-driven development for ongoing improvement

10. 3ds Max

3ds Max, developed by Autodesk, is a leading software in 3D modeling and animation, especially for industries needing advanced visualization. With strong modeling and rendering features, it enables artists to produce impressive visuals and lifelike animations.

3ds Max

Its flexibility serves a wide range of industries, including architecture and gaming, making it essential for professionals looking for a complete 3D solution.

Features:

  • Advanced 3D modeling capabilities
  • Powerful 3D animation tools
  • Wide range of plugins for customization
  • Built-in rendering engine

FAQs

Q1: What factors should I consider when choosing 3D modeling software?

  • Consider factors like your skill level, the complexity of your projects, compatibility with other software, and budget.

Q2: Is there a free option for 3D modeling software?

  • Yes, there are free options available such as Blender and FreeCAD, which offer powerful features without the cost.

Q3: What is the difference between 3D modeling and animation software?

  • 3D modeling software focuses on creating 3D objects and scenes, while animation software is used to bring those objects and scenes to life through movement.

Q4: Can I use 3D modeling software for architectural design?

  • Yes, many 3D modeling software options are suitable for architectural design, offering tools specifically tailored for this purpose.

Q5: Do I need a powerful computer to run 3D modeling software?

  • It depends on the complexity of your projects. While some software may require more computing power, there are options available for various hardware specifications.

Q6: Can I use 3D modeling software for 3D printing?

  • Yes, many 3D modeling software programs support exporting designs in formats compatible with 3D printers, allowing you to bring your creations to life physically.