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3D Modelling Software: 5 Best Alternatives to Blender 3D

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If you are looking for 3D modelling programs, free alternatives to Blender or 3dsmax, look no further. Here are 5 great tools

Blender is a free open-sourced 3D modeling program offered for all major operating systems. While it is a fantastic program in itself, there are other options available to meet any needs that a user may have.

1) SketchUp

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SketchUp is a 3D modeling program designed for use by engineers and architects.

Advantages: Formerly known as Google SketchUp, this program is ideal for anyone looking to build a house, shed, or other building. The free version allows the user to create a 3D model and export it into other programs for coloring or finalization.

Disadvantages: The pro licenses for this program are extremely expensive, coming in at over $500 for a single user. There isn’t a lot of information available on the differences between pro and free though, and many users have stated that there isn’t much of a difference at all.

Official Site: http://www.sketchup.com

2) AutoDesk 3DS Max

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AutoDesk 3DS Max is a commercial program that has been proven to be one of the best types of modeling software available on the market today.

Advantages: The program is capable of creating amazing 3D models for films and video game development. Its newest release, the 2014 edition, even has improved tools for things such as crowd rendering and viewpoint performance.

Disadvantages: The price of the program is prohibitive for single users, with a perpetual license coming in at $3,675. The company does offer rental licenses to the tune of $195/month however, and they do offer a free trial for users to determine whether or not the program fits their needs.

Official Site: http://www.autodesk.com/store

3) AutoDesk Maya

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Another option from the AutoDesk Company, Maya is a well-rounded commercial 3D modeling program.

Advantages:Maya is a design program that is focused more on character animation, and as such, is used more for animated films. It is as expensive as its 3DS counterpart, but there is also a free license for graphic design students. It prevents the students from selling models or animations, but it provides a fantastic way to learn.

Disadvantages: While it is also pricy, clocking in at just under $4,000, Maya is much more technical than 3DS. While it can be used to create amazing models, the learning curve is much steeper.

Official Site: http://www.autodesk.com/products/autodesk-maya/overview

4) Sculptris

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Scupltris is a free program created for 3D sculpting artists.

Advantages: This program is ideal for both new users and experienced 3D artists. It is streamlined as well, and many of the technical aspects that users would find in other programs such as Maya or 3DS are all handled by the computer.

Disadvantages: The program has a tendency to crash occasionally. Other than that, the only problem mentioned by users is the inability to modify the 3D mesh once painting has begun.

Official Site: http://pixologic.com/sculptris/

5) Cinema 4D

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Cinema 4D is a high-end cross platform program designed for top-of-the-line 3D modeling and graphics.

Advantages: The program is very artist friendly and nearly infinitely customizable. This commercial program is ideal for both new users and experienced ones, and is used consistently by animated film artists.

Disadvantages: While the programs are not the most expensive on the market, the Cinema 4D program will still set the user back between $1,000 and $1,800.

Official Site: http://www.maxon.net/en/products.html

Blender can be a fantastic way for users to create and hone their 3D modeling skills, but for people who wish to pursue it as a career, it may take a bit more of an investment.

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Published: Saturday, January 25th, 2014 Last Modified: April 15, 2014

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