Explore the best 3D modeling software of 2020 for both beginners and professionals in 3D modeling.
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Have you been following 3D printing news lately? If you are updated on the current trends in additive manufacturing, you will agree with me that there is a radical advancement in this industry lately. Companies are turning to 3D printing for product design as new best 3D modeling software are being launched and existing ones improved.
One advantage of this industry is the wide variety of powerful CAD programs that allow designers to create amazing and functional designs. Both online 3D modeling software and downloadable versions. Having the correct 3D modeling software is a must as it helps you in creating perfectly assembled 3D models. Choosing 3D modeling software that makes a great fit for your needs isn’t as easy as it may sound. You need to consider several factors before deciding on which program to go for.
Factors to Consider before Choosing a 3D software
- What key features are you most looking for (for example, rendering, animation, parametric modeling, inbuilt slicer, sketching, sculpting brushes)?
- Which industry do you plan to create projects for? (such as engineering, industrial design, interior design, gaming)
- Which is the supported file formats?
- Does the software have a timeline editor?
- Is there a difference in usage between paid and free tools?
- How much does the usage cost?
In this article, we will review some of the most commonly used 3D modeling software for both beginners and professionals in 3D modeling.
AutoCAD is a well-known professional 3D modeling software that is the industry standard. Autodesk developed and marketed it. They released the first version in 1982. It runs on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It’s used by architects, graphic designers, city planners, engineers, artists, and other professionals.
Features of AutoCAD
- AutoCAD allows you to draw your projects with high accuracy.
- It also includes collaboration options and robust customization that make sharing with the team members easy and efficient. This is very important for enormous projects. The entire team could handle that. They gear it more towards manufacturers and engineers, though it has many architectural and BIM features too. If you have a complex project that requires the use of a CAD program this program is dependable.
- AutoCAD is well known for its capability to draft and edit 2D geometry with solids, surfaces, and mesh objects. You can also customize the program with your preferred APIs and add-ons.
- It has more than 700,000 parts and features that mechanical designers can use when working on their projects.
- The drawing capabilities allow one to create dimensional styles
- When working with your 3D models, AutoCAD allows you also to add materials and lighting to make them look more real.
- You can analyze the inner parts of 3D models and ensure that everything has been done accurately.
AutoCAD is a great program for engineers, however, it has a high cost when compared to other professional programs like SelfCAD and FreeCAD. It may be a splendid solution for enormous engineering companies but won’t work for beginners and small startups, which need a less-featured and less pricey solution.
Learning how to use AutoCAD needs a lot of time. It also requires a powerful computer for it to run efficiently and takes a lot of hard drive space. Hence, if you have a less powerful computer, I recommend you try out online 3D modeling software as they need less memory.
SelfCAD is a young user-friendly online 3D modeling and printing software founded in 2015 by Aaron Breuer and launched in early 2017. It has become popular quickly and now it’s one of the most popular CAD programs for both beginners and professionals. They often compare it to Fusion 360 or TinkerCAD, because of its simple interface. However, the functionality behind the simple UI look is powerful and impressive. Prototype designers, makers, jewel designers, architects, and big industrial design companies are also using SelfCAD.
Features of SelfCAD
Amongst the features of SelfCAD, you can find:
- Very comprehensive 3D sketching and modeling tools.
- You can create, sсulpt, slice, and magically fix 3D models easily.
- Additionally, SelfCAD offers artistic FreeHand drawing and 3D sketching (with standard or dynamic plane orientation) tools that one can use to design complex designs with great ease.
- You can export and import objects and apply tools to each imported 3D object because SelfCAD runs on mesh-based geometry, which allows further modifications even for complete items.
- The Image To 3D helps to turn any image into a 3D printable model.
- It has also powerful sculpting tools you can use to change your object to suit your needs.
- Just within a few hours, you’ll be able to make your first simple projects and in a few days you’ll end up using SelfCAD with ease.
- You can save your designs online and access them anywhere, even when you don’t have your main device with you.
SelfCAD team wants to prove and show that 3D modeling isn’t rocket science as many people think. It may be difficult in learning and mastering, but with SelfCAD you can get started easily without spending much time. With the help of overviews, courses, and modeling tutorials, beginner users just have to repeat the moves and memorize the displayed techniques.
Are you a beginner trying to wrap your head around the complexity of 3D modeling? or an experienced designer looking for accessible software that can do the work without the high cost? SelfCAD is a perfect solution for both professionals and hobbyists who just want to get the CAD job done. You can read our blog post on SelfCAD Tutorial- A step-by-step guide to learn more.
Modo is another great program appearing in the best’s list 3D modeling software of 2020. It’s a British development group with headquarters in London. Modo is a 3D modeling, sculpting, and animation program. It’s simple in use and has mesh fusion, which allows creating nice geometry. It includes the best tools for hard surface modeling like weapons, cars, and more.
Key Features of Modo
- Modo has highly efficient tools for adding textures to your models.
- Selecting, modeling, texturing, animating, and performing other activities is easier.
- There are shading tools you can use to make your design appear the exact look you want.
- Modo’s baking tools allow one to switch and review the settings before doing the actual rendering.
- Finally, there are rigging tools for creating, editing, and managing complex models.
However, this great software also has some disadvantages. It costs $399/year or $1799 per individual license. This is expensive for beginners. Also, working with large scenes is a challenge and the UI sometimes is confusing and it becomes hard to know all its features. Loading Modo takes a lot of time and saving speed is slow too. Despite those disadvantages, Modo is still a great program that you can try it.
Modo Product Link
3D Slash is an online 3D modeling software that has a simple interface. It’s ideal for students and none-designers, it can be used in both online and offline modes. As the name suggests, the users of 3DSlash start modeling with a solid cube. Other tools like the hammer are then used to slash the parts of the cube to create the model.
This program has advanced features for precise work. It also comes with team features ideal for schools. Startup companies. agencies, hobbyists, and even big enterprises are using 3Dslash. 3Dslash is one of the brilliant tools popular among students because of its simplicity, though it can’t create complex models. If you are an advanced modeler, you can try other programs like SelfCAD which are easy to use yet powerful.
3Dslash Product Link
FreeCAD is an open-source general-purpose modeling software that was first released in 2002. Product designers and mechanical designers are some professionals using FreeCAD. It’s ideal for designing real-life models with varying sizes. Experienced 3D modelers, educators, programmers, and hobbyists with programming skills can also use FreeCAD. It’s a scriptable CAD program that can be extended around engineering and architecture. Users themselves can also extend its functionality using the Python language because it’s an open-source program.
Features of FreeCAD
- Rendering of three-dimensional scenes and scene graph representation can be done easily. Open Invento-based 3D viewer allows this.
- FreeCAD also has a reliable API and python interpreter. These tools handle every aspect of the interphase, application, and geometry representation of a 3D viewer.
- One can also make a 3D drawing at any projection or angle using this program.
- There are path mode and robot simulation capabilities.
Freecad Product Link
Modeling Software Conclusion
You need to note that it means each CAD program for a particular purpose and a particular target group. Either for beginners, intermediate or experts. Therefore, before you choose any program, consider that and figure out your needs first.
Cost is another key factor you need to keep in mind before choosing the right program for your needs. Paid applications usually come with more features included when compared with the free version, though there are many free programs that can be a substantial help, especially when combined with other apps.
We hope that the list and our explanation above will help you in making the right choice.