Review of 3D Model Development Apps for Newbies and Pros

Review of 3D Model Development Apps for Newbies and Pros

It is impossible to create a 3D model for three-dimensional printing without special software. Currently, there are a lot of various software programs allowing specialists to design, develop, and upgrade 3D objects. This article provides a list of modern three-dimensional apps that can be useful to newcomers, advanced users, and professionals.

Features and capabilities
of 3D model development programs

The additive technology market offers various 3D programs designed for the development of three-dimensional models. Each product has its own specific nature. One kind of software helps to examine and fix 3D file deficiencies, some types account for visual effects, and others are intended to design complex details and sculptures.

As of today, 3D programs allow users to:

  • create three-dimensional graphics;
  • process and correct images;
  • work with rendering (visualization);
  • deliver a complete image on a printer or a display.

Marketed software is characterized by modeling approaches. There are three options for creating three-dimensional models: solid-state, sculptural, and procedural.

  • Solid-state modeling is suitable for developing simple geometric figures and 3D objects based on them.
  • Sculptural modeling or 3D sculpting are used to design digital sculptures with a high level of detailed elaboration.
  • Procedural modeling is the most advanced method of producing 3D models. It is applied to draw up complicated mechanisms, machines, accurate details. Such an approach to the development of 3D models is utilized by professionals.

Creation of 3D patterns requires a variety of tools. They allow users with all skill levels to produce composite constructions and figures. Sometimes one should apply several software products to develop a model.

2019’s 3D modeling programs

You would be able to buy the 3D printing software at 3D Print Expo. And in the meantime, check out this selection of software for creating the 3D models.

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Best software for newbies

Autodesk Viewer. This program opens 3D models right on your browser. Objects can be changed in size, turned, and measured there. The software also allows to provide public access to objects. Besides, third parties do not have to install the software or enter the system. A free website where users can look through three-dimensional models in a real-time mode. It allows to thoroughly explore a 3D object, hiding and showing certain parts.

ShareCAD is a free online service for revising drawings using a browser. It supports CAD, 3D, vector, and bitmap formats. The program enables storing files on the server, obtaining access to drawings from any PC, and applying the file manager. The permissible maximum dimension is 50 MB.

3D Viewer is a program for viewing 3D models. Supported formats: STEP, STP, IGES, IGS, STL, SLDPRT, X_T, X_B SAT, DWG, DXF, etc. It allows to convert, measure, and print 3D files.

Conventional 3D modeling programs:

3D Slash. This software allows to assemble 3D models on the principle of cube game or construction kit. To create an object, one should connect various sections or remove certain elements from the large block.

Autodesk 123D Tinkercad. The free software for developing 3D objects and their preparation for three-dimensional printing. Users have access to off-the-shelf elements, which speeds up the model creation.

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Autodesk 123D Sculpt +. An app for producing digital 3D sculptures. It helps newcomers to explore nuts and bolts of 3D modeling.

Morphi is software for iOS and Android devices. The program contains a library with a wide range of modeling patterns and forms. It can be controlled using a tablet touchscreen.

Sculptris is a program allowing beginning artists and designers to learn basic skills of creating digital three-dimensional sculptures. It has simple features and a user-friendly interface. Exploring this software, users can shift to ZBrush, a program for a deeper examination of 3D sculpting technology.

Google SketchUp is an intelligent program for modeling simple 3D objects (buildings, furniture, interior items). One of its core characteristics is almost the total absence of pre-setting windows.

Figuro means software for making 3D models aimed at newbies. The program allows to form volume objects out of geometric figures. They should be replaced, turned, and connected with each other. The software has a user-friendly interface allowing to learn the ropes of program operations.

Autodesk Meshmixer is free software preparing models for 3D printing. Users can edit and upgrade existing 3D models in the program.

Best software for advanced users A full-function tool operating on a browser. It allows to model 3D figures, create animation, and conduct rendering on the cloud. Due to this software, one can produce sophisticated models and photorealistic images. By the way, the program enables object exchanging without installing any software.

Fusion 360° is a CAD/CAE/CAM tool. The program consists of five kinds of object modeling. The software allows not only to design objects but also to elaborate their engineering components and to prepare products for manufacturing. It helps to solve numerous tasks related to industrial design and supports a joint usage of files via cloud platforms.

Canvas. The program scans a room and provides its digital model within seconds. The software will be beneficial to those engaged in building activity, interior design, and architecture.

Conventional 3D modeling programs:

3DS MAX is 3D modeling and visualization software. It contains a lot of tools for 3D printing technology operations. Installing additional plug-ins, users can add new options to the program.

Blender is free software for automated engineering. The app allows to create animation, games, complex volume objects, as well as to design jewelry and edit video files. With the program being open-source, it frequently offers extensions. Therefore, the software regularly obtains new features.

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Maya is designed for 3D patterns, visualization, and animation. The software creates animation, motion graphics, and virtual reality.

Inventor is a professional 3D system of automatic designing. The program has been applied for 25 years, offering a wide range of tools for machine building designing, document publishing, and item modeling.

3D-Coat is applied to create details and overlay texture on objects designed on other three-dimensional modeling apps.

Mudbox is software for producing three-dimensional sculptures with a high degree of detailed elaboration and for textual coloring of 3D models.

Vectary is a 3D design app. It is available on all browsers. The program has a library with off-the-shelf elements for assembling models. Due to various tools, consumers can create their own objects from scratch.

3D-Tool Free Viewer is a tool allowing to open and examine 3D files. The program analyzes objects and determines whether they are appropriate for 3D printing.

ZBrush means software for digital sculptures. Its distinctive feature is the possibility to simulate the process of modeling objects from virtual clay. The program is used to produce movies, games, jewelry, toys, and cars.

Cinema 4D is a complex program for creating and editing 3D effects and objects. It supports animation and visualization. The software includes tools for visualizing scenes, building texture maps, simulating rigid body dynamics, and perform other tasks.

MakePrintable is a program for viewing three-dimensional files and detecting glitches there. The software automatically corrects identified errors, saving the file quality.

Modo is developed by Luxology LLC. The software conducts 3D modeling, object texture mapping, and rendering.

Rhinoceros is software for three-dimensional NURBS modeling. It is applied in architecture, CAD/CAM designing, industrial and visual design, shipbuilding.

LightWave 3D by NewTek is targeted at 3D graphics. The program can be beneficial in the development of films and TV products.

Aartform Curvy 3D allows to draw and draft various items, and convert them to 3D models. Stock objects can be complemented with various details using sculptural and art brushes.

Best software for professionals

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Grasshopper is an algorithm graphics editor. It can solve objectives of various complexity, from the development of simple patterns to complicated structures.

Houdini is a program pack for three-dimensional graphics operations by Side Effects Software. The software enables 3D modeling of items, animation development, physical modeling, compositing, and rendering.

MeshLab is a software for processing, editing, and transforming unstructured 3D scanned models. Users can unite three-dimensional objects and improve the quality of models for further 3D printing.

Conventional 3D modeling programs:

SolidWorks is a software package designed for automating manufacturing facility operations at the stages of constructive and technological process preparation. It allows to elaborate construction documentation, three-dimensional projects of various details, design communications, fixings, and other tools, jigs and fixtures, as well as to conduct the engineering analysis and fulfill other tasks.

Autodesk Softimage is a comprehensive three-dimensional graphics editor for producing 3D models, animation, and visual effects. The program is applied in developing movies, PC games, and advertising.

OnShape is a cloud platform aimed at creating CAD models on a browser. This software system allows to collaboratively work on projects and control them remotely. It provides parametrical three-dimensional modeling. At the same time, local files do not require saving.

CATIA is a designing app by Dassault Systemes. Its focus area is manufacturing.

You can gain necessary knowledge about the 3D object development and discover how you can benefit from a modeling program using educative videos. Such lessons are available on the following websites:,,,

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