Since human inception, when has there not been a need for designing? Designing is required in every paradigm of life. From designing one’s clothes to architecting a building or modelling a game. Design is required and built everywhere. One of the great inventions of humans is the 3D modelling software. This software help design and construct models, and help analyze, and identify the possible flaws and associated risks with the modelled designs. Owing to the cause that this software serves, the 3D modelling software solutions are adapted in every paradigm and supports a range of users. Some of the key users of 3D modelling software solutions are architects, game developers, software developers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, civil engineers, marketing designers and experts, biomedical engineers, and the list goes on. It is quite evident that the application and need for the solution range vastly among the various disciplines. In this article, we try to highlight the best 3D modelling software solutions that have acquired high acclamation and acceptance, and can also be used across every leading platform, such as Linux, Windows, and macOS, free of cost.
The free and completely open-source enhanced and efficient software, SculptGL, as the name suggests is a tool most adopted for its advanced sculpting features and capabilities. Being a browser-based tool, SculptGL can be used by any user across the globe on any platform free of charge and all the leading web browsers.
The tool opens up a clay lump on the user’s browser, which users can mould into any shape, or design using the set of brushes provided in the toolset. Along with that, the software allows users to import or export files in numerous formats and allows rendering as well. SculptGL is a lightweight tool for sculpting and design and modelling. There is a list of tutorials available on YouTube explaining how to use the tool and get familiar with it.
Start using it now from https://stephaneginier.com/sculptgl/
Wings 3D is another free and completely open-source design and modelling tool. The tool is compatible with all the leading platforms, such as Linux, Windows and macOS. Wings 3D offers a seamless mechanism to get downloaded on the user’s desktops or computers, from where the users can benefit from the enhanced features and functionalities offered in the tool.
Wings 3D allows seamless design, modelling and means to architect a solution. With the tool, the users can also perform mesh modelling. The tool comes equipped with the features most demanded and desired by users such as an intuitive platform showing relevant tools as per user’s current selection, AutoUV, allowing users to map images and textures onto a 3d model, other features include magnets and magnet masking, tweaking and sculpting features, edge ring selection and navigation tools, edge loop, and the list goes on.
Download it now from http://www.wings3d.com/?page_id=84
Blender is a free, open-source, and cross-platform compatible animation and modelling tool that comes feature-packed with the most enhanced functionalities. With Blender, users can perform mesh modelling, sculpting, digital art designing, animation, and game designing.
The platform allows creating both 2D and 3D animation utilizing a list of features and capabilities incorporated in the efficient tool. Some of its features include capabilities such as rendering, modelling, animation, VFX, simulation, pipeline, game creation, video editing, scripting, customization, etc. Blender, though free, offers paid subscriptions as well. The tool is equipped with all the necessary and potential features required for drawing any animation or portraying any illustration. From cartoons to logos, Blender provides functionalities and a platform for all the animators.
Get it now from https://www.blender.org/download/
Highly acclaimed and one of the most adopted 3D modelling software, Tinkercad is a favourite of many. The tool is widely adopted to serve educational purposes. However, its enhanced and advanced feature list and capabilities make it a tool that can be used for serving professional concerns as well. The tool is free but is not open-source, however, it is compatible with the leading operating systems as it is a browser-based solution.
The features provided in the tool allow users to seamlessly perform direct modelling and do OpenSCAD tasks, a simple and intuitive interface allowing the non-CAD users to get acquainted with the software in no time, providing access to a list of shapes such as cylinders, cubes, spheres, etc., drag-and-drop capabilities, ability to move, rotate, scale, and group shapes, and the list goes on.
Start using it by first singing-up for a free account now from https://www.tinkercad.com/join
Vectary is another free and cross-platform compatible, browser-based 3D modelling tool. The tool offers a list of features and capabilities to its users from across the world. Vectary is known amongst its users for providing an intuitive, simple, yet powerful online platform for 3D modelling and Augmented Reality (AR) modelling and designing.
Vectary allows easy mechanisms and means for product designing, graphic designing, animation, mesh modelling, and parametric modelling. Other capabilities and features of the platform include efficient rendering mechanisms, game designing toolset and functionalities, 2D and 3D modelling platform, range of pre-rendered 3D typography or pre-made models, web headers, etc. Though some of the extravagant features are not free, still, many features can be adopted free of charge.
Start using it by first singing-up for a free account now from https://www.vectary.com/signup/
SketchUp is an advanced 3D modelling, product designing, and architecting tool that provides the platform accessible to all. For educational purposes, professional concerns, or personal use, each type of user can benefit from the advanced tool. However, the tool comes free only for personal adaptation. Whereas for other purposes, different pricing packages are available. SketchUp is both a browser-based tool and offers a desktop version too, though the desktop version requires a subscription, and the tool can be used free of charge on any leading browser.
The tool offers a wide range of integrated features and functionalities, such as the ability to draw 2D and 3D shapes, a user-friendly interface with 24×7 guidance and support mechanisms, pre-existing models that can be used as templates, and the list goes on.
Start using it by first singing-up for a free account now from https://www.sketchup.com/plans-and-pricing#for-personal
Like SculptGL, the intuitive and most simple tool offers an easy platform where users directly access a lump of digital clay which they can start sculpting on right away. The free, efficient, and intuitive tool is a browser-based application.
The platform provides the ability to perform sculpting, digital art creation, game designing, and design animation. The features provided in the tool mainly include customizing, 3D sculpting, 3D modelling and printing, the ability to generate letters and various patterns with digital clay, advanced sculpting toolset, collaboration on designs, and the list goes on.
Start using it by registering a free account now on https://makers.leopoly.com/
Like Tinkercad, the 3D modelling tool, BlocksCAD is also widely adopted for serving educational purposes. The tool specializes in offering OpenSCAD features and capabilities. Users can use the free tool on any leading web browser on any platform.
The features and capabilities of the tool include script-based rendering capabilities, enhanced precision, instant gratifications, advanced visualization features and user experience, colourful BlocksCAD script which can be copied to OpenSCAD for getting a range of file formats to export the file into, tutorials and support provided to acquaint users with the advanced tool and enhanced features of the platform.
Start using it by registering a free account now on https://www.blockscad3d.com/
The article summarizes the leading 3D modelling software solutions. The top 8 listed tools in the article are SculptGL, Wings 3D, Blender, Tinkercad, Vectary, SketchUp Free, Leopoly, and BlocksCAD. All the discussed tools offer seamless product designing, modelling and architecting capabilities on any leading platform and browser, all free of charge. Though, only a few of the discussed offer open-source platforms, specifically, SculptGL, Wings 3D, and Blender. Still, the other platforms too provide and ensure an optimal user experience and integrated support mechanisms.
Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications including CCNA RS, SCP, and ACE. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various websites.