3D Modeling Software - Top Picks for Designers


We have selected the best apps that allow you to work in different styles. With this collection, you can find great software for landscaping, character creation, low poly models, and more.

If you think that design is the area where you would like to work, then go for it. Every successful designer should have a good portfolio of diverse projects to show the employer that your skills are broad. You can build a good portfolio with Portfoliobox.

To create such a portfolio, you need to master at least several different software.

Every self-respecting person is in constant motion. Namely, always learning something new. If you are a 2D or 3D designer, then you are in luck. You have a huge choice of how you can develop yourself. It is logical that for 2D design, the continuation and discovery of something new is 3D modeling. But what if you are already a 3D designer? The answer is simple. Learn new software.

Design is an exciting area in which you can make discoveries every day. For people who have never encountered this field of activity, but would like to try, information about 3d modeling programs will be also helpful. Plus, now is the best time to start.

How do 3d modeling programs work?

Thanks to these apps, you can easily create mathematical models of anything. The principle of operation is that you can build a model according to parameters such as height/depth, length, and width. You can create anything. This is the reason why there is always room for development in this industry. For example, you can start by creating cartoon characters, and over time, learn how to create realistic models for the presentation of innovative equipment.

3D modeling software offers the following opportunities:

  • creation of a 3D model
  • processing and correction of the model
  • render the finished image
  • feed an image to a display

Each program has its specifics, so you need to know about the pros and cons to find a convenient option for yourself. In addition, many programs have a full set of qualities for comfortable and high-quality work, and at the same time, they are free.

There is a wide range of applications, some of them differ in some features, price, or quality. But the main difference between such software lies in the approach to modeling. There are only three options for creating models.

  1. Solid. Such software allows you to create simple objects.
  2. Sculptural. With this method, it is convenient to make models with high detail.
  3. Procedural. A more professional method is used to create complex mechanisms.

Each application will allow you to try yourself in a different style and create different objects. This way it will be easier for you to understand where you want to go. In the process of training, you will accumulate good works for showing to the employer.

Best 3d modeling software

1. Autodesk Maya

Autodesk Maya

It is a paid software that is easy to install. Professional 3d designers are aware of how powerful it is. What are its advantages? Firstly, there is a wide selection of tools that work well and have many functions. Autodesk Maya is not the easiest program to learn and will take a lot of time and effort, but it's worth it. If you feel comfortable with the program, you will be able to create quality models with ease. As a guarantee of quality, Pixar animation studio uses Autodesk Maya. Because it is so comfortable for  creating more detailed models.

2.  Houdini


The software is in no way inferior in quality to Autodesk Maya, but has a slightly different principle of operation. With a knot-based production style, the designer has more control over the model. Very handy for visual effects. In this case, the training will also be difficult, but it will give more results. With a wide range of tools and functions, you will be able to create high-quality models in a short period.

The program is paid, so you can subscribe to an annual or monthly subscription. But there is a free version called Houdini Apprentice. This version has all the tools, but you can only use them to learn. This is a wonderful gift from the developers. You can try Houdini for free to see if the software is right for you or not.

3. Cinema 4D

When you buy software, you get a huge bonus. The company will provide access to the site for training, and you will also receive many instructions and lessons on the application. The volumetric modeling function allows you to significantly save time on creating the necessary shape for an object. There is a wide range of tools and functions. If necessary, you can buy additional features. Also, the developers provide a trial period of fourteen days. It means that you can try the program and see if it is convenient for you or not. 

Despite numerous functions, the software is so easy to use. Everyone can easily learn. The faster you master the program, the faster you will learn everything and make your portfolio already there.


Despite its narrow focus, it is a very functional and convenient program. Here you can make interiors, exteriors of buildings, landscapes, courtyards, streets. In general, the application is architecturally oriented. Therefore, it is convenient for this area, but not suitable for the rest. The peculiarity of the application is that you can simply draw a picture, and the application itself will create a 3D model.

5. ZBrush

Thanks to this program, you can create high-quality models for films and video games. It is one of the best visual effects software. ZBrush is also very convenient if you want to make 3D printing, thanks to it, you can model the future product to the smallest detail and it is convenient to choose colors. Of course, it will take a lot of time to learn how to use this program, but if you are going to turn your skills into the field of cinema or games, then you will not regret spending more time on study than you expected.

6. Substance Designer

Texturing takes a very long time, especially after the artist has spent many hours creating a model. Thanks to Substance Designer, you can quickly, easily, and realistically create quality textures. It doesn't matter what field you plan to work in, but this software is worth a try. You will discover the simplicity of texturing and learn how to save time doing it.

7. MakeHuman

With this software, you can only work in one direction. As the name suggests, you can create different people and animals in the app. These can be cartoon characters, people, fantastic creatures. The picture can be realistic like in a movie, or it can be simple and not detailed. MakeHuman is very easy to learn but has enough tools for professional work. This is great software to get started with 3D modeling, as you can create both simple and complex projects there. You can also find many answers to questions with problems on the forum. And of course, you can ask a question on the forum, you will be answered quickly and in detail.

8. OpenSCAD

It is ideal software if you want to create real devices and toys on a digital printer. This is a great technical design app. Thanks to OpenSCAD you will be able to calculate all the necessary parameters of the object. In this software, you will not be able to create characters or design an apartment, but you can create a future gadget or toy. The app works great on Mac, Windows, and Linux.

The best free 3D modeling software

1. Blender 3D

Blender 3D

The main advantage of Blender is that it is free and user-friendly. Quite a decent program to be in the top. Because it is suitable for new and experienced designers. The software has all the necessary functions for comfortable work. For example, you can move all points, lines, and planes in an object, make the object as smooth as you need it, work with different materials, work with drawings conveniently, and much more. You can do everything there, from modeling an object of any complexity to texturing and rendering. A huge advantage of Blender 3D is that the developers regularly release free updates. 

2. Modo

A user-friendly application with an excellent rendering system. The program includes many tools and functions that are very easy to use. This means that it doesn't take much time to master Modo. It is ideal if you need to create polygonal shapes. The application has extensive modeling capabilities, but they will still be less than, for example, in Autodesk Maya. But the quality of the render in the software is free to cover all the flaws.

3. SketchUp

This free software can fit almost any type of device. The software has a wide range of tools and functions, making it easy to learn and comfortable to work with. You can extrude the required shape from simple materials, combine objects into groups, add themes, and so on. The program also has ready-made templates for sites that you can use for free. SketchupFree allows you to do your work not only in good quality but also quickly. This app is great for interior designers. It is easy to create realistic models in SketchupFree because the program works from sketches. It is by far one of the best free 3d modeling programs.

4. Daz Studio

The program is free and has many features. Thanks to this software, you can work at a fast pace without sacrificing quality. You don't need a super-powerful computer to work in Daz Studio. For full functioning and smooth operation, you need only 1 GB of RAM, and for fast work, 2 GB. The tools are provided in an extensive selection, however, if this is not enough for you, you can purchase additional tools and functions for more comfortable work.

5. Hexagon


It is a free app, where you can model surfaces very easily. The purpose of the software is to model clothes, but you can make any model, as the toolbox can allow it. But there is one caveat. You can download Hexagon only if you already have a Daz 3D Studio account. If you are interested in Hexagon separately, then you can buy it.

6. Leopoly

A very popular free software that is easy to use. The free version provides a wide range of functions and tools, which are enough for comfortable work. You can make high-quality low poly models and then render them in the same application. If you need additional features, you can buy them. The free version is suitable for inexperienced artists. It is better to buy a paid service package for professional artists. The software is great for VR modeling because the textures look very realistic.

7. Wings 3D

Modeling software available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. In this application, you can create a model. To do it you have to use sharp shapes and then smooth them to the shape you want. After that, you can also generate the form. Convenient software for trying yourself in polygonal modeling. The app is free.

As you can see, there are many 3d modeling applications. Anyone who tries himself as a designer or starts working in a new direction can find  convenient software. It will be enough to try yourself in several free applications for learning. You have to do it to understand which direction you are interested in and gain experience in the field of modeling.

3D modeling is a great way to make money. It is simple and interesting to develop in it, and Portfoliobox will help to simplify the search for customers.


How can a beginner learn to make 3D models on his own?

Start with video tutorials on YouTube, there are many lectures, tips and instructions to help you. Follow the patterns from the lessons until you realize that you are ready to do something yourself. Further it will be much easier.

How do you know which program is better if you are a beginner?

Try to start with simple and free software that is easy to use (for example, Blender 3D), later gradually change programs, and try different applications for a free period. Only by trial will you understand where it is more convenient for you to work.

How much do 3D designers earn?

It is impossible to give an exact figure since it depends on the country, the company, and the level of the artist's skill. This is a very profitable profession in which you can grow and earn more and more. Moreover, it is a very demanded profession.

An online portfolio made for Creatives

With all the tools a professional needs

  • Dynamic Grid
  • Even Rows
  • Golden Ratio
  • Square Ratio
  • Align Center
  • Puzzle
  • Random
  • Horizontal
  • Horizontal 2
  • Horizontal 3
  • Vertical
  • Two-One
  • Three-One

Get started for free

Create your online portfolio website now

Build your own portfolio
For a limited time only, get an automatic 20% discount on all plans. Upgrade Now! ×