6 Free 3D Modeling Programs Every Artist Should Have

Posted March 18th, 2013 by Gnomon School — Category: Tools & Techniques — 0 Comments

Google SketchUp

Google SketchUp

We know that breaking into the world of 3D modeling can be a bit expensive. Yesterday, we talked about all of the scholarship options that can make that distant dream of further education a reality. Scholarships can help take the strain off of your bank account, but you still have to spend money on a high-powered computer and a few pieces of 3D modeling software. We want you to spend more time creating 3D art and less time wringing your hands over expenses, so today we're going to highlight some incredible pieces of 3D software that won't cost you a penny.

1. Google SketchUp

Google SketchUp may not be as powerful as other pieces of software on the market, but if it came from Google then you know it's got to be good. The greatest advantage of this program is that it's integrated with advanced Google features, so you can easily share your creations with anybody. This program is great for beginners who are just getting into 3D modeling and want to try out a convenient, intuitive modeling program.

2. 3D Canvas

3D Canvas flattens the learning curve by using a simple drag and drop system. Want to add a sphere? Just find it in the last, drag it over into your creation, and then scale it to the appropriate size. This program is literally so intuitive that a child could use it, which is a rare claim in the world of 3D modeling software.

Image source: Amabilis.com

3. Blender

Blender is a free, open-source program with an absolutely huge list of features. From modeling to sequence editing, Blender will allow you to create entire 3D worlds.

4. Softimage XSI Mod Tool

This mod tool was built specifically for aspiring video game developers and modders. The license allows you to use the program for free as long as you stick with noncommercial games. The program will plug into many popular game platforms, including computer games and flash games.

Image source: Garagegames.com

5. 3DTin

3DTin is about as basic as it gets, which is kind of a good thing. The program doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but it's simple enough that it can run within your computer browser. That's great if you're doing some modeling on your buddy's computer and you don't want to install a huge program. Depending on what type of phone you have, you might even be able to create a simple 3D model while you wait for the bus.

6. Truespace

What do you do with your 3D model once you've added the last touches? Load the model in Truespace to add texture, light, and animation. The other programs on the list let you build your creation; Truespace brings it to life.

There are dozens of other free 3D modeling programs out there. You'll have to scan through the options to see which one is right for you, but the most important thing to take away from this is that you shouldn't be discouraged by pricey software. You'd be amazed by what you can accomplish with the perfect combination of free 3D modeling programs. This is especially true for beginners who are just getting started in the world of 3D modeling. Afraid to spend money on a new hobby? Don't sweat it — just download one of these free programs and give 3D modeling a whirl.

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Founded in 1997, Gnomon has trained thousands of students and professionals for careers in the entertainment industry. Find out more