7 Best Free 3D Modeling Software Tools in 2018

Brynne Ramella
Brynne Ramella  |  October 4, 2018

Sometimes you need more than just words to tell a story. Colors, depth and movement can communicate a message in ways that words simply cannot.

That’s where 3D modeling software comes in.

These tools, similar to free CAD software, enable users to sculpt three-dimensional models of objects and characters and subsequently enhance those graphic design creations with realistic detailing.

3D modeling software is commonly used in entertainment spaces, such as film or video game creation. However, they can also be utilized for building design or marketing and advertising.

And believe it or not, you can get some of those tools for free.


Free 3D modeling software

The list we’ve outlined here includes any 3D modeling solution with an available free offering. It should be noted that this does not include products that are only free on a temporary basis, such as limited trial versions for new users. They may only support one user or one project, but they’re truly free offerings. Scaling, however, will often require full investments.

These products alone have well over 350 validated user reviews on G2 Crowd as of August 19, 2018, and only represent a small portion of the 90-plus 3D modeling software offerings listed on our platform. Whenever possible, the products are ranked by user satisfaction score from an in-depth analysis of the best free 3D modeling software.


1. K-3D

G2 Crowd Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0 stars

Overview: This free 3D modeling software combines flexible plugins with a data visualization pipeline architecture for transforming data from one format to another. K-3D is a user-friendly and powerful tool that that makes it ideal for amateur and experienced artists alike.

Pricing: K-3D is completely free, which means that users have full access to all features at no cost.

free-3d-modeling-software

Image courtesy of K-3D

What Users Say

What users like

“[I] tested a number of alternatives. This is the tool with the features, speed and stability for you.” 
K-3D review by a user in graphic design

What users dislike
“[It’s a] great program all around; only complaint [is I] just wish it had some sort of quick getting started guide.”
— K-3D review by a user in graphic design

Features:

  • Camera mode: This free drawing software offers users the option for pan/tilt, zoom, dolly, modeling and tripod modes.
  • 3D primitives: K-3D offers cone, circle, cushion, cylinder, disk, grid, paraboloid, polyhedron, sphere and torus.
  • Rendering: This free 3D modeling tool has rendering functionalities and supports a number of different rendering engines. 

2. Blender

G2 Crowd Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0 stars

Overview: Blender is free and open-source 3D creation software. This tool offers functionality to support 3D pipeline, 3D modeling, animation, rendering, video editing, game creation and more.

Pricing: Blender is completely free, open-source 3D creation suite.

Blender-free-3d-modeling-software

Image courtesy of Blender

What Users Say

What users like
“Definitely the best free and open-source 3D modeling tool out there. The insanely high number of features available makes it as good as other AAA products on the market. It's a great resource for 3D modeling, sculpting, high quality rendering, and animation and game making."
— 
Blender review by Nicola F.

What users dislike
“The only thing I dislike is that Blender can be difficult to use in the beginning. If you are new to 3D modeling or coming from another program, you'll need to spend a good amount of time to get used to the interface and hotkeys.”
Blender review by Raphael H.

Recommendations to others considering this product
“It's a steep learning curve, but don't let that turn you away. Spend some time diving into it and you'll be up to speed surprisingly fast. I'm not even the artist of my team and I was able to pick it up only casually playing around with it for a few weeks.”  
Blender
review by Kenton H.

Features:

  • Sculpting: Blender allows users to sculpt objects with 20 different brush sets and provides multi-res sculpting support and more.
  • Cycles: Blender’s rendering engine Cycles has functionalities for lighting, shading, layers and passes, motion blur and more.
  • Pipeline: This feature allows files to be imported and exported in a variety of different file types.
  • Game creation: The 3D models created with Blender can be segued into game creation. The module in this free 3D modeling software allows you to export your 3D models to any third-party game engine.

3. SketchUp

G2 Crowd star rating: 4.4 out of 5.0 stars

Overview: SketchUp is a general-purpose CAD solution with powerful 3D modeling capabilities. While it is commonly used in fields such as building design, architecture and engineering, this solution enables line drawing, shape rotation, and push and pull surfaces to make a 3D model of anything you desire. SketchUp also offers a free library of pre-existing 3D models to select and work from.

Pricing: SketchUp offers three different pricing plans:

  • SketchUp Free: This is an ideal option for simple 3D modeling. This includes SketchUp Free for Web, 10 GB of cloud storage, five seats on the platform and free models from 3D Warehouse.
  • SketchUp Shop: This option is available $119/year and is geared toward users who intend to turn their models into real objects. SketchUp for Web, import/export for CAD files and vector images, unlimited storage, unlimited seats for SketchUp, solid tools, tech support and more are available in this plan.
  • SketchUp Pro: This pricing plan is available for a flat rate of $695. This gets you SketchUp Pro for Desktop, extensible apps and plugins, LayOut for 2D documentation, import/export for CAD and vector files and a lifelong license.

sketchup-free-3d-modeling-software

Image courtesy of SketchUp

What Users Say

What users like
“I love how easy SketchUp is to find, learn, and use. It's a great tool for 3D modeling beginners to get an idea of how to push and pull objects, faces, and manipulate images in a 3D environment easily.”
SketchUp review 
by Amanda P. 

What users dislike
“If compared to other 3D modeling software, SketchUp is less precise and a less powerful modeling tool. In most of the cases, SketchUp fills its duties in architecture. And it's not meant to be a tool for precision modeling, it's a way to sketch up volumes and objects.”
SketchUp review by Matteo P. 

Recommendations to others considering this product
“This program really helps the preliminary design of the product or project and when the client sees a 3D model of their design, the more apt they are to want to move forward and are impressed with your skills as a designer.”
SketchUp review by Benjamin W. 

Features: 

  • Sections: Apply names and symbol to various sections in your design to make them easier to find and organize. You can also hide large amounts of geometry in your sections.
  • Drawing: Create linework with scaled vector graphics with SketchUp’s drawing functionalities. You can also import .DWG files directly into the platform.
  • Documentation: Turn your 3D models into documents. Once you use SketchUp’s 3D modeling capabilities to create your design, you can export it as a PDF.

4. Sculptris

G2 Crowd star rating: 3.9 out of 5.0 stars

Overview: Sculptris is the free and limited version of another 3D modeling tool, ZBrush. This free 3D modeling software is specifically geared toward those who are new to this space.

Pricing: While Sculptris is a completely free 3D modeling solution, users can upgrade to ZBrush for $895/seat.

Sculptriis-free-3d-modeling-software

Image courtesy of Sculptris

What Users Say

What users like
“I like Sculptris because it makes 3D sculpting and designing so easy and user friendly. The website also offers so good free tutorials to help you get started. I also like the different hotkeys that you can turn on and off. I was very impressed with the amount of features that it offers.” 
Sculptris review by Beth A.

What users dislike
“Sculptris is very hard to use with just a standard mouse. You really need to add a design pen or special trackpad to get all of the benefits that Sculptris offers. I wish the program offered more tools for sculpting.”
— Sculptris review by Martha T.

Recommendations to others considering this product
“Scuptris is a free and easy-to-use software for introducing yourself to digital sculpting. It is not a product that is being actively developed. It is free and openly available from Pixologic but is meant to be a transtional tool for getting people interested enough to want to buy ZBrush.”
— 
Sculptris review by Richard T. 

Features: 

  • Dynamic Tessellation: This free 3D modeling software allows you to work without concern of your model’s geometry.
  • Immersive Interfaces: Sculptris offers an intuitive and clean interface so users can easily access their design toolkits without cluttering up their workspace.
  • Navigational Controls: Easily toggle between two different applications with this feature. 

5. Wings 3D

G2 Crowd star rating: 4.5 out of 5.0 stars

Overview: Wings 3D is an open-source and free 3D modeling software.This tool is designedd for subdivision modeling, which is a method of representing a smooth surface over linear polygon mesh.

Pricing: Wings 3D is an open source and completely free 3D modeling solution, which means users have full access to these features at no additional cost.

Wings 3D-free-3d-modeling-software

Image courtesy of Wings 3D

What Users Say

What users like
“The application provides all of the basic tools like scale, move, rotate, cut, weld, extrude, bevel, and bridge. It also provides advanced tools like plane cut, intersect, inset, bend, sweep, circularize, and sheer. Like Blender, it takes a while to really get to know your way around; but once you get there, there's flat out nothing to touch it.”  
— 
Wings 3D review by Jonathan David H.

What users dislike
“There is no support in Wings for animation. However, Wings does bear a lot of similarities and is very comparable to Blender as a very legitimate piece of freeware for 3D artists.”
— Wings 3D review by Jonathan David H.

Recommendations to others considering this product
“This is a piece of freeware at the end of the day. Wings 3D offers a comprehensive modeling toolset, an intuitive interface, support for materials and lights that allows beginners or professionals to create 3D content quickly. There is so much going for it, and the fact it may be overlooked by industry professionals is a moot point given the capabilities of this program.”
— Wings 3D review by Jonathan David H.

Features:

  • Modeling Tools: This free 3D modeling software offers modeling tools, including those that support vector and magnet operations.
  • Tweak Mode: Wings 3D allows for users to make quick adjustments to mesh.
  • Editing Tools: This function allows for the editing of lighting, materials, textures, and vertex colors.

6. Seamless 3D

G2 Crowd star rating: N/A

Overview: This open-source and free 3D modeling platform is geared more toward seasoned artists and designers. As this platform has a freeform nature, it requires a bit more patience and practice to master its learning curve.  

Pricing: Seamless 3D is an open-source and completely free 3D modeling solution. Users have full access to all features at no additional cost.

Seamless 3D-free-3d-modeling-software

Image courtesy of Seamless 3D

What Users Say

Be the first to leave a Seamless 3D review!

Features

  • Import/Export Files: Seamless 3D supports the importing and exporting for a number of different file formats, such as VRML, X3D Obj, BVH motion capture and more.
  • Editing Tools: This platform has a number of different editing functionalities, such as WYSIWYG capabilities and an infinite undo and redo option.
  • Animation: Animate your 3D models with Single skinned mesh animation using Seamless 3D’s intuitive animation bar.

7. BricsCAD Shape

G2 Crowd star rating: N/A

Overview: BricsCAD Shape is a 3D modeling tool intended to help architects and engineers streamline their design and presentation work. While it is typically used for those industries, this tool also offers the ability to create 3D models of people, landscape, transportation or anything else needed to enhance your design.

Pricing: BricsCAD Shape is a completely free 3D modeling software.

BricsCAD-free-3d-modeling-software

Image courtesy of BricsCAD Shape

What Users Say: 

Be the first to leave a BricsCAD Shape review!

Features

  • Freeform Modeling: BricsCAD Shape offers easy wall creation, along with the tools to create doors, windows and profiles.
  • Supplemental 3D Modeling: Create models of people, landscape and more to supplement the the design of your building.
  • 3D Model Library: Utilize BricsCAD Shape’s library of preexisting 3D models and import your own. 

Next steps for selecting your free 3D modeling software

Decide which features are a requirement in your free 3D modeling software. The features in the solution you select should allow you to effectively reach your business objective.

You should also consider how you would like to deploy your new solution, and if you may considering upgrading to a paid plan further down the line. Once you have chosen, read through some more verified user reviews to allow you to make the best decision for your business.

For more design resources, be sure to follow all new content on the G2 Crowd Learn design hub.

*Please note: User reviews may have been edited for grammar and spelling.

Brynne Ramella
Author

Brynne Ramella

Brynne is the Buyer Inquiry Team Lead at G2 Crowd. In addition to writing, she leads the research specialists in providing personalized software and services recommendations to buyers. She wishes she had interesting hobbies to include in this bio.