Do you want to learn how to render beautiful art in 3D? Is visualising objects and wanting to bring them to life your thing? Then this one’s for you.
The 21st century is rife with creative careers. And 3D modelling is one such highly rewarding profession.
There are plenty of mediums that employ the use of 3D modelling. Be it the highly coveted video games development industry, engineering companies, films, video production or software firms, graphic designing, illustrations, architecture, special effects or commercial advertising. 3D modellers are in great demand across the media industry.
A whole another industry has emerged around the concept of 3D printing as well. Each industry or application requires a different set of 3D modelling processes and tools. This is particularly why the area is vast and involves a variety of skills to learn.
3D modelling is an essential part of a 3D artist’s job. It’s a key building block for modern 3D games and 3D animations. A 3D modelling course is a good starting point as it teaches you a variety of required skills. However, it’s very possible to make your own 3D model from the comfort of your home and begin your journey as a creative professional already!
With a wide range of tools and software readily available on the internet along with greater ease of access to training material, you can easily create your first 3D model within a short span of time.
But given the abundance of such tools, deciding which one suits you best and can help you achieve your goals can be a tough task.
Here’s our take on the top 5 3D modelling tools to begin crafting your first 3D model!
MAYA by Autodesk
A flexible, industrial powerhouse, Autodesk’s MAYA is amongst the elite 3D modelling, animation, simulation and rendering software. The software boasts of an unbeaten set of features and tools that can do wonders for your work. If you’re willing to put in a lot of hard work and time.
The breadth of features MAYA offers is vast and complex. It’s really good for working on the specific 3D modelling part of the 3D art pipeline – but other software in this list are considered more specialised towards the later stages of this pipeline.
You’ll have to give it your all to make the best of this mighty software. You might also need to gauge if MAYA fits your needs. It’s an upscale software and costs accordingly. However, you’re in luck if you’re a student because it’s free for you!
MAYA might not prove to be great for you if you’re a beginner. But if you’re willing to work really hard, it’ll definitely be the coolest and most powerful 3D modelling software to use.
Houdini by SideFX
Powerful, pricey and industry-leading, Houdini by SideFX is a procedural software that uses a node-based approach to help artists create incredible 3D imagery. It’s widely used throughout the media industry.
Houdini’s also better for quick modelling or modification of multiple characters or objects as compared to others in the list. It’s stronger at different tasks than Maya or 3DS Max – it’s much better for working on the later aspects of the modelling process.
And although it is tough to get the hang of Houdini right from the start, SideFX also offers Houdini Apprentice – free software for students to kickstart their creative journeys!
Houdini Apprentice, although free, comes with access to all features of Houdini FX. So you don’t have to worry about its features being less than great as opposed to its pricey counterparts. Houdini Apprentice allows students and artists to work on personal, non-commercial projects only. But this bodes well for designing your first 3D model from home!
3Ds Max by Autodesk
Autodesk’s 3Ds Max is a 3D modelling and rendering software designed exclusively for Windows users. It has an impressive set of features such as hair and fur modifiers, enhanced spline tools, open shading language support, mesh and surface modelling and so on, for artists to employ in their work.
It comes with both a procedural modelling approach as well as direct manipulation techniques which makes it appealing to wider audiences. Artists can use either of the techniques to create stunning 3D artworks.
The user interface is easily navigable and 3Ds Max is simpler to learn and use as opposed to its maker’s high-end 3D modelling software MAYA. In fact, its simplicity and speed are unmatched in the industry. 3Ds Max’s polygon modelling allows you greater control over the little details of work, making it possible for you to have more autonomy over what you do.
If you’re an absolute beginner, you might have to spend some time getting to grips with 3Ds Max.
Blender by Blender Foundation
Blender Foundation’s Blender is open-source and free software for 3D modelling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering that supports even game creation. The software works with all major operating systems and has quite a robust toolset for 3D modelling.
Blender’s flexible Python-controlled interface allows you to customise layout, fonts and even colours. You can also create your own add-ons and tools on the platform.
Blender is often recommended to beginners as a great tool to start with. The reason is that you don’t have to make an investment and can try out 3D modelling and see if it’s your thing. If you’re a complete beginner, the tools might seem a little too daunting at first. But it’s arguable that’s just because 3D modelling is a complex art to learn, and you’d have the same issue with any other Software in this list.
Blender is a great tool to start with if you’re interested in sticking to open-source software. You’ll never have to worry about licensing fees or royalties. You get all the features that the software has to offer from the start – you don’t have to worry about “upgrading” to get access to all features.
Moreover, Blender has an extensive and amazing community support system. This vast and dedicated base of artists shares tips, offers advice and answers any questions you may have while using the software. The internet also provides a wide range of tutorials for learning and resources for troubleshooting that makes Blender popular amongst artists of all levels.
Sketchup by Trimble (Inc.)
Formerly known as Google Sketchup, Trimble Inc’s Sketchup is a beginner-friendly 3D modelling software. Its clean and easy-to-use interface puts you in control of your work right off the bat. No wonder Sketchup’s a popular choice for a variety of artists.
It comes in different versions, all of which you can check out to determine what suits you best. Sketchup Make and Sketchup Free are both free-to-use versions. These are great to start with if you’re building models for personal use or practice.
But you won’t get all functionalities or sophisticated tools with the free versions. The better features come at a price. Sketchup Pro offers extra features and tools such as allowing you to export or import files in a variety of formats, customisation of projects and so on.
Unlike MAYA and Houdini, the learning curve with Sketchup isn’t tough. And it comes with plenty of tutorials for you to reference. With a lightweight software that works on both browser and PC, Sketchup can be your preference for making your first 3D model. It makes for simple yet quality software.
Sketchup is one of the best 3D modelling software for absolute beginners! The toolset isn’t complicated to learn, which is why you can stop mulling and kickstart your first 3D model right away!
All these tools work best when you have the right mindset, passion and guidance. And you no longer have to worry about learning everything alone!
MAGES brings to you a well-designed 3D Animation Diploma course to help you bring your creative ideas to life. Check out the course here and get taught by industry professionals!
Get Started With Your First 3D Model!
That these software or tools will make you the finest 3D modeller of all times is not written in stone. Whether or not you become a better artist depends on how well and frequently you hone your 3D modelling skills.
Creating incredible works of art and animation are as much a matter of hard work, creativity and dedication as they are about using the right tools. However, choosing the right 3D software is quite important and not an easy task always.
It depends on a lot of things, that mostly has to do with your:
- And skillset.
The most important thing to do, however, is to get started. You can’t allow yourself to spend a lot of time on analysing every 3D tool or software out there and dithering about which one to use for your first 3D model.
Remember, there’s no “one best” 3D software.
Every software boasts of certain unique strengths. Every software comes with its own set of limitations. You have to be able to quickly judge which software fits your desired goals and needs. And then get started with your first 3D model already!
In our next post, we will go over a few tips to keep in mind while working on your first 3D Model. Keep an eye out for it!
The right guidance always works wonders for artists looking to make a mark in the creative industries, especially aspiring 3D modellers. But nothing works in a vacuum. Your hard work, passion and dedication need the right guidance to help you produce great artworks and flourish!
Want to save yourself from the pain of having to learn everything alone?
At MAGES, you get taught by industry professionals who help you chart your path to become successful 3D modellers. Check out MAGES courses and take a 3D Animation Diploma course here to begin your creative journey now!
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