There is an abundance of free 3D modelling software on the market. And it’s easy to see how a new 3D fan could struggle to make a decision.
The majority of complex 3D modelling software tools are prohibitively expensive for novices. Furthermore, they demand monthly or annual membership agreements, which makes them even less tempting.
Let’s be honest: you probably don’t want to spend a substantial sum on a 3D modelling programme that you might not even get to utilise to its full capacity before your membership plan expires.
Fortunately, there are numerous excellent free 3D modelling software solutions. That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
What exactly is 3D modelling software?
3D modelling software is a design tool that 3D artists and designers use to generate stunning product designs in a variety of formats. It is a tool that helps designers bring their creative ideas to life and show what they are about in the most creative way possible.
Simply said, 3D modelling software converts objects and places them into 3-dimensional mathematical formulas and then depicts them as a photo-realistic model. These rendering software programmes make 3D CAD drawings, which are then used in many different fields for many different reasons.
Any 3D software’s functionality is to capture 2D pictures or scanned photos of design components such as real estate, gaming engines, and other parametric features. Basically, 3D software applications use 3D animation, computer graphics, and real-time sculpting tools to help make the best designs that meet industry standards.
Depending on your sector of design, you may utilise 3D modelling software to build video games, surface modelling for real-time properties, photorealistic interior designs, web design, and a variety of other cool little tricks. The advanced features of any modelling programme are a big help to any designer who wants to explain in detail what their design ideas are.
Designers may create everything from scratch using these strong tools and the plugins and animation features that come with them. Some 3D or CAD software, for example, helps make games, while the sculpting tools in other products are very useful for architects who are designing products.
Interior designers can use these 3D animation toolkits to make a 3D model of a real estate property and add details like lighting, ventilation, and the placement of 3D objects like furniture, fixtures, and so on.
In reality, 3D software, particularly those that support polygons and parametric for 3D animation, is a gift for anybody with a creative side. It is critical to select the 3D modelling programme that is most suited to your and your clients’ demands. Let us therefore go through how to do so.
How Does 3D Modeling Software Function?
The following is an explanation of how 3D modelling software works:
- When making free 3D models, people often start by using tools in modelling software to import different items and shapes. These are called “primitive objects.”
- Primitive objects serve as the foundation for more complicated free 3D models made by mixing many basic forms.
- The next step is to apply textures and materials to your free 3D model.
- The 3D model is then exported to a format suitable for rendering applications such as Blender or Maya.
- Finally, you create a picture or animation from your free item.
Find out if free 3D modelling software is worth your time and attention in the next section.
Is it worthwhile to use free 3D modelling software?
Yes, free 3D modelling software tools are unquestionably valuable.
From an early age, we are taught that freedom is bad. But free 3D modelling software is a great deal that can compete with some of the most expensive commercial options.
Free software tools are not without flaws and limitations. For example, they generally do not have as many features as their commercial equivalents. As a result, they’re better suited to easy jobs like making concept sketches or low-polygon models.
Another disadvantage of free software is the high learning curve because it sometimes lacks video lessons and extensive documentation.
If you’re ready to put in the effort to learn how to use free 3D modelling software, you’ll discover that it has all of the tools you need to design your own models. However, choosing the correct tool for the job might be difficult, so we’re here to assist. Discover the best free 3D modelling software programmes for beginners in the next area.
Top 12 Free 3D Modeling Software for Beginners
We compiled a list of our top free 3D modelling software for beginners. There are applications for CAD and engineering, architecture and interior design, video games and animations, free-form modelling, organic sculpting, and other things.
FreeCAD is a free 3D modelling programme for professionals that is now one of the greatest free CAD solutions for designing 3D objects. Jürgen Riegel, Werner Mayer, and Yorik van Havre published it in October 2002.
FreeCAD is not only open-source but also free for all users. If you’re not acquainted with the word, it indicates that the program’s source code is open to the public, which often translates to better support in terms of updates, patches, and hotfixes. But enough of that; you’ve come to learn about FreeCAD.
As the term “free 3D CAD software” implies, this application is free to use for any individual or a corporate enterprise. FreeCAD, like other free modelling applications these days, places a strong emphasis on parametric models.
That is, if you update your design, the change will instantly spread to all other elements where it has been applied. For example, changing one side of a room would cause all of its walls to update in real-time.
Google SketchUp is a free 3D modelling software package created by Google. It’s used to create 3D models visually (you don’t have to write or use any complex capabilities as you would with most other 3D applications).
According to many users on the internet, SketchUp is a quick and easy tool to build architectural models, interior design projects, craft ideas, and more.
Based on our experience with it thus far, this term has some reality. Of course, you shouldn’t anticipate professional-level outcomes; if you do, you’ll most likely have to pay.
You can import DWG files from AutoCAD into SketchUp, which is a highly important function because many architects use this application. SketchUp, on the other hand, is not well suited to making detailed drawings.
SketchUp is a free 3D modelling application that is typically used for conceptual projects rather than production-oriented tasks. At least, the free SketchUp version is.
TinkerCAD is well-known among beginners as one of the greatest free 3D modelling software solutions. It offers a strong online community and is completely free to use.
TinkerCAD is not designed to create complex 3D objects. Nonetheless, it provides beginners with simple features that make it exceedingly simple to create basic 3D drawings without breaking the bank.
On the website, there are free 3D models that you can import into TinkerCAD to use as a foundation for your own free 3D models. There are also free tutorials available for individuals who want to learn how to use it to make free 3D models.
TinkerCAD is ideal for those who are new to 3D modelling software. However, compared to premium options, its capabilities are rather limited.
However, keep in mind that TinkerCAD lacks sophisticated capabilities like modifiers and complicated boolean operations, making certain projects more difficult to accomplish using free modelling software.
#4. 3D Slash
3D Slash is a free 3D modelling programme for novices that ranks among the finest free CAD alternatives. Sylvain Huet created it, and its working principle is preassembled cubes.
If you’ve ever played Minecraft, you’re surely aware that you can make basic as well as complicated 3D objects in the virtual world using only cubes. Although it would be an oversimplification, that is how 3D Slash works, so if you are a newbie, we’ll leave it at that.
Aside from its inherent simplicity, what truly distinguishes 3D Slash is that this free 3D modelling programme was created to assist users in designing 3D-printed products.
To do this, it gives you a lot of easy-to-use, almost self-explanatory features that make 3D modelling feel like a game.
Meshmixer is a free 3D software tool that was designed to make 3D printed tings more durable. The model fixing tool lets you fix broken geometry, make hollow objects solid, and change the shape of objects without changing any of their other features.
The interface is simple and virtually identical to that of common image editing tools such as Photoshop. It also offers hotkeys for rapid access to its tools without having to look them up in the menu every time.
Meshmixer can be used to combine multiple models into one or to fix geometry problems that can happen when converting one file format to another (like fixing holes in STL files).
This free 3D printing programme also includes sculpting capabilities, as well as other important features like support creation and the ability to import and export numerous file types (like OBJ and PLY).
Blender is perhaps the greatest free 3D modelling programme if you’re prepared to put in the effort to learn it. If you don’t mind spending hours in front of your computer screen googling things like “Blender keyboard shortcuts,” then this application will help you create designs swiftly and efficiently.
Blender, on the other hand, takes a long time to learn-some users claim to have spent over 100 hours training themselves how to use it properly! As a result, it is not recommended for novices who have no prior knowledge of CAD software.
You’ll need a lot of time to discover Blender’s capabilities and processes if you want to make video games or movies (with this free 3D modelling application), architectural or industrial design projects, animation, or sculpture.
Blender was created in C++, Python, and Cycles, a lightweight HTML-like markup language. It has its own built-in game engine as well as a collection of physical simulation tools for designing games.
Although the greatest free 3D software isn’t as fast as certain OpenGL-accelerated commercial applications from large corporations like Autodesk, it does provide some unique features that most other free modelling tools don’t.
Although CAD software for PCs, such as Fusion 360, is excellent, it is not the only option for 3D printing fans.
If you don’t want to commit to a 2D/3D combination pack that includes modelling and printing capabilities, Vectary is a good option. Users may use this free online 3D modelling application to build their own designs without a prior understanding of CAD systems.
What’s particularly noteworthy about this tool is that it can be used by anybody due to the lack of intricate shortcuts or hidden features—but this may be a disadvantage if you’re searching for strong functionality. Vectary has a plethora of tutorials to help you grasp how everything works if you’re not sure where to begin.
#8. Fusion 360
Fusion 360 is a complete piece of software developed by Autodesk that allows you to not only build 3D models, but also evaluate and improve your process.
This is one of the greatest free CAD tools for manufacturers since it includes a CAM engine for creating GCode from drawings.
Fusion 360 is free for students and only a little bit expensive for businesses, but even with a discount, it is still not cheap.
Fusion 360 is compatible with Windows 7 and later, Linux-based operating systems, Apple OS X 10.9 and later, and Chrome OS. To get the most out of this programme, you’ll also need a 64-bit browser!
In terms of compatibility, Fusion 360 supports STL file formats that are compatible with 3D printers, making them the ideal solution for getting started in CAD modelling without spending too much money on specialised software—even though they only work well, only 3D printing applications are supported.
It is believed to have been built with the objective of being highly beginner-friendly, so it may be an intriguing answer if you’re searching for a method to get started with 3D printing—however, many people believe Tinkercad provides a more user-friendly experience.
BlocksCAD is a great alternative to AutoCAD for anyone who wants to improve their 3D modelling skills.
One of the most major benefits of this programme is that it is expressly developed with CAD users in mind, which means that individuals will discover a variety of features and shortcuts that they are already familiar with.
Another benefit of using BlocksCAD is that it requires no prior knowledge or abilities from non-AutoCAD users. In other words, if you have some modelling expertise, you should have no trouble getting acclimated to this tool!
BlocksCAD contains capabilities such as procedural generation, recursion, and macros to provide variety. By modifying just one line of code, procedural generation is created. Meanwhile, recursion produces items by combining them with other objects. Furthermore, macros enable you to generate repeating jobs.
BlocksCAD also has an API that allows power users to have greater control over the application itself, which is wonderful news for individuals who want to tamper with it or alter anything if they believe it will enhance their work process.
Although there are several 3D modelling tools for the PC, many of them fail miserably when it comes to printing your model.
Unfortunately, most free 3D modelling software does not contain tools for creating models for manufacturing, which might be an issue if you want to take advantage of all the fantastic benefits that 3D printing has to offer.
SelfCAD, on the other hand, overcomes all of these issues with its extensive features and simple UI! One of the primary reasons this application is so amazing is that it provides a wide range of options, from simple geometric forms (cubes and spheres) to complicated ones (such as screws and bolts).
Another significant aspect of SelfCAD is that it does not require any code. Therefore, if you do not want to bother with programming, this free 3D modelling application is a must-try.
#11. Wings 3D
Wings 3D works with Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows and is one of the most user-friendly tools for novices. When you run this software for the first time, Wings 3D will ask if you want to watch any tutorials to learn how to use it.
Despite the lack of documentation for this application, it manages to provide significant functions, such as a large variety of tools and the ability to import and export 3D models.
You must employ a collection of fundamental primitives, such as cubes and cylinders, to design new items. It’s a good thing since it will help you understand the fundamentals without being too overwhelming.
The one disadvantage of using Wings 3D is that its restricted tool set makes it unsuitable for designing complicated things. However, this is not an issue because you can combine several primitives to make basic models.
One of the most important reasons to use OpenSCAD is that it is a 3D modelling programme that is designed to be easy to use even if you have never used this kind of software before.
In other words, while basic objects may be built quickly due to OpenSCAD’s user-friendly interface, power users will benefit from features like variables, recursion, and modules.
When it comes to the interface of this software, one of the most intriguing characteristics is the so-called programming language.
This feature enables users to design things using code, which may be accomplished by inputting text! But if you don’t know how to code, you don’t have to worry because there are many resources available to help you learn the basics.
Most people (programmers, designers, etc.) know this tool for its unique way of modelling in 3D.
3D Modeling Software (FAQ)
What is the best free 3D modelling software?
TinkerCAD, 3D Slash, FreeCAD, SketchUp, Blender, Meshmixer, Fusion 360, Vectary, SelfCAD, BlocksCAD, OpenSCAD, and Wings 3D are some of the top free 3D modelling tools.
Can you make a 3D model for free?
Blender is a free and open-source 3D modelling and animation software. It can model, animate, simulate, and render 3D projects. Blender can also be used to make music and track motion, edit movies, and make games.
Which 3D modelling programme is simple to use?
Tinkercad is a product of Autodesk, the industry leader in 3D modelling and CAD software. It’s free software that you can get online. It’s simple to use and teaches you the fundamentals of 3D by utilising primitive forms. It’s quick and simple, and you’ll be creating your first 3D model in no time.