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List of 3D software for beginners (free & paid)

30 MAY, 2018

The use of 3D tools has been expanding over the years in various industries. This has brought in immense benefits. In this article, you will come to know about various 3d modeling software for beginners. Today, these tools are used in almost all industries, ranging from geology to gaming and science. In case if you are a beginner, you must be interested to know the right software that you can use to get your needs done. Choosing the right tool can help you master the skills. If you are looking for a 3D software for modeling, rendering and 3D animation, you can easily choose one from the ones listed below. However, each of these tools has their own limitations and advantages. Based on your requirements, you need to choose these tools. Have a look at this 3D software list, consisting of both open source and premium versions.


List of Software OS support License 3D Rendering support
Autodesk Maya Windows, Mac, Linux Free (Student Licence), Paid Yes
3ds Max Windows Free (Student Licence), Paid Yes
Blender Windows, Mac and Linux Free, Paid Yes
SketchUp Windows and Mac Free (30days trail), Paid Yes
Modo Windows, Mac and Linux Free Yes
AutoCAD Windows and Mac Free (student license), Paid Yes
ArchiCAD Windows and Mac Free (30days trail), Paid Yes
SolidWorks Windows Free (trail version), Paid Yes
V-Ray Windows, Mac, and Linux Free trail, Paid Yes
Mental Ray Windows, Mac, and Linux Free (Single frame), Paid Yes
Cinema 4D Windows and Mac Paid Yes
Lightwave Windows and Mac Paid Yes

List of the best 3D modeling and rendering software (Free & Paid)


  1. Autodesk Maya

  2. Autodesk Maya

    This is industry-standard software, with a large number of features and tools. You can use these for 3D rendering and modeling. This is not a free software, but Autodesk has come up with a free Student License for the students. You can get a free trial for 30 days, when you use the tool. This is one of the best 3d modeling software for beginners. You can download it on Linux, Mac and Windows.


  3. 3ds Max

  4. Autodesk 3ds Max

    This is good 3D designing software for beginners. You can quickly develop the designs using the tool and explore your creativity. This software is extensively used by filmmakers, game developers and visual effect artists. It is also used in architectural visualization studios. It is compatible with Linux, Mac and Windows. However, it is not free software but you can get the tool for free, with the Student License. It comes with a free trial for 30 days.


  5. Blender

  6. Blender 3d

    Blender is one of the best 3D modeling and rendering software, and beginners can try this out. It is free and open source software, and the users can enjoy a free trial for 30 days. In case you are completely new to animation and 3D modeling, you can use this software. It can be downloaded on Linux, Mac and Windows.


  7. SketchUp

  8. SketchUp

    SketchUp is often used in 3D architectural rendering. Architectural landmarks are generally modeled using this tool, with Google Earth. This is widely used in the real estate sector, particularly in interior design, architectural designs, landscape architecture and so on. It is also used in mechanical engineering, video games and films. This software is known for its tidy interface. The beginners can easily grasp the basic principles of 3D modeling using this software.


  9. Modo

  10. Modo software

    Modo was designed for professionals in the design and VFX industries. This tool comes with a wide range of features, which are easy to learn. The most important features of this software are the particle engine, surface and polygon surface modeling and procedural animation. This is a powerful 3d modeling rendering software, and in recent years, it has attracted a large number of developers. The components in the tool may be pattern selected, loop selected, paint selected, lasso selected and so on.


    It offers a suitable selection mode for every situation, allowing the designers to integrate global changes in the design. They can record repetitive and macro operations and apply them on various objects, as per the requirement. This helps in speeding up the overall modeling process. Modo also comes with certain 3D sculpting tools, which enable the designers to create a wide range of artistic expressions. They can design natural shapes using these features. The designers can get a free trial for 30 days with the software


  11. AutoCAD

  12. AutoCAD software

    This is a commercial CAD software application, used for 2D and 3D CAD (computer-aided design) and drafting. The desktop application has been available since 1982 and the mobile, cloud and web-based apps have been made available since 2010, as AutoCAD 360. This software comes with an extensive range of features and is used in various industries. Graphic designers, project managers, architects, engineers and other professionals prefer using this tool, due to the wide array of features that it offers. Beginners can use AutoCAD and become familiar with its features, but you will require extensive training to be well-versed with all the features that it comes with. The software comes with a free trial for 30 days.


  13. ArchiCAD

  14. ArchiCAD

    This architecture 3D software can be used both for 3D rendering and modeling. It has been designed, focussing on the needs of architects. They use this tool to develop small details in the interiors. This is a BIM software and has been updated regularly, with new features. You can use this tool to create realistic architectural rendering. The designers take a short time to learn the program and it is easy to use. It has gained immense popularity due to its ability to generate photorealistic 3D rendering. Real estate companies often use this software to create the detailed planning of the buildings.


  15. SolidWorks

  16. SolidWorks

    SolidWorks is a CAE (computer-aided engineering) and CAD (computer-aided design) 3D modeling software. You can run it on Microsoft Windows. The publisher has revealed that the tool was being used by more than 2 million designers and engineers in over 1,65,000 companies in 2013. The software is widely used in mechanical engineering and industrial designs, particularly in the automotive, aerospace, industrial equipment, shipbuilding and architecture industries. Presently, the developers are collaborating with the 3d design companies in India for expert support in designing the models. SolidWorks comes with a free trial for 30 days and is among the most popular 3D rendering software used by 3D artists.


  17. V-Ray

  18. v-ray render

    V-Ray has gained extensive popularity in the last five years and this is a good tool for the beginners. This software was developed by the Chaos Group and is known for its wide array of textures. The designers can develop realistic renderings using this tool. In case you are looking for a suitable tool to recreate life-like conditions, light, shadows and colours, you can use this software. The software offers a good amount of flexibility and features. However, beginners may find it a bit complicated. However, you can go through the online tutorials and get familiar with the features. The tool can be used as a plug in with Google Sketch-up, Cinema 4D, 3DSMax, Autodesk Revit and others. It is versatile software, and you can try it out. It also offers a free trial for 30 days to the users.


  19. Mental Ray

  20. Mental Ray software

    This is one of the best 3D render engines, and is closely comparable to V-Ray. The designers have been using this software for quite some time, and are satisfied with the features it provides. Mental Ray is a user-friendly tool; however, it is not able to reproduce the realism, when compared to V-Ray. It is presently being used by the designers and modelers for a wide range of industries. Particularly, it is useful for the architects, as it is a versatile tool and easy to use.


    List of 3D animation software

  21. Cinema 4D

  22. Cinema 4D software

    In case you are looking for a 3D animation software that is easy to use, you can go for Cinema 4D. The software is powered by OpenGL. It can be used to create renderings with a good depth of field. The screen space reflections are also accurate and the designers can easily control the effects. The tool also allows the users to export the preview renders, enabling them to submit them to get approved. The Bodypaint tool also comes with real-time viewpoint feature, indicating that the users can see the results after changing the textures, as required. Cinema 4D uses an LOD tool to increase the overall speed of rendering. It simplifies the objects, based on the distance between them and the camera, besides other factors. The tool comes with a free trial for 30 days.


  23. Lightwave

  24. Lightwave software

    This is advanced 3D animation software and is used in creating special effects and movies. You will get a number of features in the software; however, it may take you a long time to get familiar with these. The users can get a free trial for 30 days while using the software. The tool is compatible with almost all the operating systems that are used these days. It produces high-quality animations and is known for its speed. However, the price of this software is a bit high and this makes it suitable for the movie makers and professional animators.


You can use any of the applications presented in the top 3D modeling applications list. Although a number of features in these tools overlap, the complexity of use varies to a remarkable extent. Besides, you need to focus on the quality, based on your purpose. Accordingly, you need to choose the right 3D designing software, focussing on the desired end-use. Beginners can start with one of these tools and gradually master the skills. Most of these come with a free trial, making it easy for the designers to examine the features and choose the one that suits them.




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