The Best & Free 3D Design Apps for Games and 3D Printing

3DTwo years year ago I’ve bought a 50 hectares of land for my dream project to open a world-class human potential development school in Africa in 2017.

The school is planned to open in 2017 or earlier, and I’ll spend the rest of my life caring about the place and the people. I can’t wait for that moment to happen!

Recently I have started putting into place an overall plan, but quickly realized that I need some tools to be able to visualize my ideas. I asked the help of few friends, and together we dug into the web to find free tools that could help us achieve our goals. In the process we found more stuff than we currently need, but the information we have gathered is worth sharing, so I’m sharing with you here. I hope you like it.

Blender

Blender is the best free and open source 3D modeling and animation application which can be used for modeling, UV unwrapping, texturing, rigging, water simulations, skinning, animating, rendering, particle and other simulations, non-linear editing, compositing, and creating interactive 3D applications.

More information here: www.blender.org/

SketchUp

SketchUp is a 3D modelling program for a broad range of applications such as architectural, civil, mechanical, film as well as video game design — and available in free as well as ‘professional’ versions. The program highlights its ease of use,  and an online repository of model assemblies (e.g., windows, doors, automobiles, entourage, etc.) known as 3D Warehouse enables designers to locate, download, use and contribute free models. The program includes a drawing layout functionality, allows surface rendering in variable “styles,” accommodates third-party “plug-in” programs enabling other capabilities (e.g., near photo realistic rendering) and enables placement of its models within Google Earth.

Sketchup

More information here: http://www.sketchup.com/product/gsu.html

Sculptris

Sculptris is an elegant, powerful and yet easy to use 3D sculpting software, allowing the artist in you to simply focus on creating amazing 3D artwork. Gone are the technical and often tedious constraints typically associated with digital art. If you’re new to the world of digital sculpting, Sculptris is the ideal ground on which to get started. If on the other hand you’re experienced in CG, what you will find in Sculptris is a blazingly fast way to realize your concepts. It’s intuitive, fun and user friendly, so you can focus as an artist on pure creativity.

More information here: http://www.pixologic.com/sculptris/

Sweet Home 3D

Sweet Home 3D allows your imagination to run wild without you having to lift a finger or costing you a cent. Apart from being a very useful interior design application, it’s also a hell of a lot of fun, allowing you to mix and match furniture with ease, take virtual walks around your creations, and indulge yourself in designs you’d probably never be able to do in real life.

Sweet Home 3D offers more than 50 different pieces of furniture, ranging from beds to lamps and desks tables, but you can import even more from the developer’s website. To create your rooms, all you need to do is drag and drop elements into the grid view and you’ll see them building up 3D in the viewing screen below. Once you’ve done this, use the virtual visit tool to get a 3D preview of what it looks like and talk a walk around.

SweetHome3DMacOSXSmall

More information here: http://www.sweethome3d.com/download.jsp

Homestyler

Autodesk Homestyler is free online home design software will bring your interior design ideas and remodeling dreams to life. Take the guesswork out of home decorating and remodeling projects by laying out floor plans with all the finishing touches such as doors, windows, furnishings and colors.

Homedesign
More information here: http://www.homestyler.com/home

FreeCAD

FreeCAD is a general purpose feature-based, parametric 3D modeler aimed directly at mechanical engineering and product design but also fits a wider range of uses in engineering, such as architecture or other engineering specialties. It is 100% Open Source and extremely modular, allowing for very advanced extension and customization.

FreeCAD is based on OpenCasCade, a powerful geometry kernel, features an Open Inventor-compliant 3D scene representation model provided by the Coin 3D library, and a broad Python API. The interface is built with Qt. FreeCAD runs exactly the same way on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux platforms.

More information here: http://free-cad.sourceforge.net/

HeeksCAD

HeeksCAD is a free, open source, CAD application. Here are the main Functionalities: Import solid models from STEP and IGES files. Draw construction geometry and lines and arcs. Create new primitive solids, or make solids by extruding a sketch or by making a lofted solid between sketches. Modify solids using blending, or boolean operations. Save IGES, STEP and STL. Printer plot the 2D geometry or to HPGL. Import and export dxf files; lines, arcs, ellipses, splines and polylines are supported.

More information here: https://code.google.com/p/heekscad/ and https://github.com/Heeks/heekscad

K3DSurf

K3DSurf is a program to visualize and manipulate Mathematical models in three, four, five and six dimensions. K3DSurf supports Parametric equations and Isosurfaces. K3DSurf can be used by every one interested in 3D Mathematical drawing functions and don’t require any special competences by users.

More information here: http://k3dsurf.sourceforge.net/

OpenSCAD

OpenSCAD is a software for creating solid 3D CAD objects. It is free software and available for Linux/UNIX, MS Windows and Mac OS X. Unlike most free software for creating 3D models (such as the famous application Blender) it does not focus on the artistic aspects of 3D modelling but instead on the CAD aspects. Thus it might be the application you are looking for when you are planning to create 3D models of machine parts but pretty sure is not what you are looking for when you are more interested in creating computer-animated movies.

OpenSCAD is not an interactive modeller. Instead it is something like a 3D-compiler that reads in a script file that describes the object and renders the 3D model from this script file (see examples below). This gives you (the designer) full control over the modelling process and enables you to easily change any step in the modelling process or make designes that are defined by configurable parameters.

More information here: http://www.openscad.org/

Art of Illusion

Art of Illusion is a free, open source 3D modelling and rendering studio. Many of its capabilities rival those found in commercial programs. Highlights include subdivision surface based modelling tools, skeleton based animation, and a graphical language for designing procedural textures and materials.

More information here: http://www.artofillusion.org/index

Wings 3D

Wings 3D is an advanced subdivision modeler that is both powerful and easy to use. Originally inspired by Nendo and Mirai from Izware, Wings 3D has been developed since 2001, when Björn Gustavsson (bjorng) and Dan Gudmundsson (dgud) first started the project. Richard Jones (optigon) maintained Wings and coded many new features between 2006 and 2011. Wings 3D is currently maintained by Dan and Richard with the help of the great community. Wings 3D offers a wide range of modeling tools, a customizable interface, support for lights and materials, and a built-in AutoUV mapping facility. There is no support in Wings for animation.

More information here: http://www.wings3d.com/?page_id=84

Truepsace

TrueSpace is a modeling/animation/rendering package. It features a plug-in architecture that allows the user to create tools to enhance the core package. One of the most distinctive features of trueSpace is its interface, using mainly 3D widgets for most common editing operations.

More information and download here: http://download.cnet.com/TrueSpace/3000-6677_4-10187286.html and here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TrueSpace

 

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About Mawuna KOUTONIN

Mawuna Koutonin is a world peace activist who relentlessly works to empower people to express their full potential and pursue their dreams, regardless of their background. He is the Editior of SiliconAfrica.com, Founder of Goodbuzz.net, and Social activist for Africa Renaissance. Koutonin’s ultimate dream is to open a world-class human potential development school in Africa in 2017. If you are interested in learning more about this venture or Koutonin’s other projects, you can reach him directly by emailing at mk@linkcrafter.com.

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