Best 3D Software

Looking for the best 3d software? Check out our 3d software comparison, and see which 3d-modeling program best fits your needs.

Or thinking to buy a 3d printer? See our 3d-printer comparison to learn about our 3d-printer prices and specs.

Company Price Power Versatility Support # File Formats OS Compatibility Website
3DS-Max 3d software $3,500 Top-of-the-line Documentation, Forum, 3rd Party Tutorials 38 Windows, Mac Open Autodesk Site
Daz 3d software $150-$550 Very Strong Forum, documentation, tutorials 16 Windows, Mac Open DAZ 3D Site
Turbo Cad 3d software $150-$1500 Very Strong Tickets/Phone Support, Paid Documentation 24 Windows, Mac Open TurboCad Site
Poser 3d software $500 Strong Online Q&A/Chat 10 Windows, Mac Open Poser 9 Site
Rhino 3d software $300-$1000 Very strong Wiki, Blog 30 Windows, Mac (beta) Open Rhino 3D Site
Google-Sketchup 3d software $0-$500 Moderate Forum/Blog, Free Tutorials 2 Windows, Mac, Linux/Wine Open Google Sketchup Site
Blender 3d software Free Basic-Moderate Strong Community 18 Windows, Mac, Linux, Free BSD Open Blender Site
Tinkercad 3d software $0-$500/month Basic FAQs standard .STL Browser-based Open Tinkercad Site

3D modeling, animation and rendering software

Produced and developed by Autodesk Media and Entertainment, Autodesk 3ds Max packs industry-grade 3D power into out-of-the-box software. 3ds Max features the Nitrous Accelerated Graphics Core, which improves performance and display quality. The 3ds Max Design edition is geared more toward architecture/engineering/construction (AEC) and design professionals. Exclusive to the Design edition are the Exposure Lighting Simulation & Analysis, and Civil View Feature Set tools. 3ds Max comes with serious support, including extended documentation and a dedicated forum, as well as an SDK and the native MAXscript programming language. Plus, due to the thriving community of users, a plethora of third party tutorials are always one web search away. Read more


Nurbs modeling for Windows

Developed by McNeel & Associates, Rhino 3D strikes a solid compromise between power and functionality on one hand, and low cost and ease of use on the other. Rhino is versatile enough for application in the manufacturing and architecture/engineering/construction industries, as well as for use in analysis and computer animation and rendering. The current version, Rhino 3D 4.0, supports over 30 file formats and comes with its own SDK and scripting language based on Visual Basic. McNeel has developed a number of plugins to expand on Rhinos functionality, plus over 100 third party plugins are easily available on the web. A vibrant user community has deeply influenced the evolution of Rhino ever since its inception as a closed source public beta back in 1994. Rhino has traditionally been available for the Windows platform, but a Max OS X version is currently in beta, as is the next generation of Rhino, v5.0. Read more


3D modeling for everyone

SketchUp was first developed by @Last Software in 2000. Owing to its short learning curve, @Last touted the program as 3D for everyone. Now that its under Google management, SketchUp is still living up to that. SketchUp runs on Windows, OS X and Linux/Wine, and comes in two flavors: the free version, Google SketchUp, and its more powerfulthough still inexpensivecousin, SketchUp Pro. The freeware features deep integration with Google Earth, but its only capable of exporting two file formats. Companion to the program, Google maintains 3D Warehouse, a web repository where SketchUp users can browse, download or contribute free 3D models. Read more


Blender is the open source, cross platform suite of tools for 3D creation

Blender is free and open source 3D modeling software. Though aimed primarily at the film and video game industries, Blender works just fine for 3D printing. For example, French 3D printing service Sculpteo allows for the uploading of files directly from Blenders interface. The program runs on Windows, OS X, Linux and FreeBSD. Users value its small install size and modest hardware requirements, and Blenders power and functionality place it almost on par with higher end and considerably more expensive 3D software. The not-so-intuitive interface is offset by an enthusiastic user community which has erected informative websites, tutorials and discussion forums to guide newbies along the learning curve. Blender was first developed by Dutch 3D guru Ton Roosendaal, who went on to form the non-profit organization, the Blender Foundation though, truthfully, the community has been as instrumental in shaping the program as has Roosendaal. Read more


2D and 3D CAD design and documentation software

Developed by Autodesk, Inc., AutoCAD has been a staple in computer-aided design and drafting, and its more modern iterations have incorporated 3D modeling and rendering functionality. The current version, AutoCAD 2012 operates on the Windows, OS X, iOS and Android platforms. AutoCAD started out in 1982 as a re-coding of a CAD program named Interact, from its proprietary SPL programming language to the more prevalent C. The recoders in question were Marinchip Software Partners, which went on to become to Autodesk we know today. Read more


Create real things. With Tinkercad & 3D printing

Finnish startup Tinkercad operates, an easy, yet powerful browser based 3D modeling program tailored specifically for 3D printing. Tinkercad features a super simple browser interface and fun quests which guide users up the 3D modeling learning curve. The website plays host to a Things marketplace, over which users can share their 3D models. The program itself exports files in the standard .stl format. Plus, Tinkercads broad compatibility with consumer printers and partnerships with 3D printing services like Ponoko, Shapeways and i.materialise present users with a variety of choices. Tinkercad is cloud-based, so users can access their creations from any computer with a browser. Read more


[Also] 3D modeling for everyone!

The brainchild of software engineer Jayesh Salvi, 3DTin is heralded as the worlds first browser-based 3D design program. 3DTin exports files in .stl format and is free to use, providing models are saved under creative commons licensing. Creations are saved to the cloud, so users can access them from any computer with a browser. 3DTin also brands saved models with unique URLs so users can link to their work. The program also features social media integration and an offline mode, so you can work on your model even when not connected to the internet. Owing to recent partnerships, 3DTin can upload files easily to 3D printing service i.materialise and Makerbots Thingiverse website. Downsides include the rudimentary, building-block modeling style and the fact that they stole SketchUps motto. Read more


Supercharge your projects with 3D design

Alibre Design Personal Edition (PE) brings to the table formidable 3D power and automatic 2D drawing creation, and at the affordable price of $199, its also decidedly hobbyist- and DIY-friendly. Alibre Design PE runs on the Windows platform and can even be used on Macs with the aid of emulators (though Alibre currently offers no support for Mac users). The program exports files in .stl format, the de facto standard in 3D printing. The programs developer, Alibre Inc., was founded in 1997 and then acquired by 3D content-to-print powerhouse 3D Systems in the summer of 2011. Read more