Last updated on July, 22

🏆 Best 3D Design Software for August 2021

Improve your visuals by using the best tools. 3D Design Software makes 3D modeling efficient with robust toolset and features to help you create more imaginative designs.

What is 3D design software

Back then, professionals create all their designs, models, or presentations manually from scratch. Today, technology is changing the course of designing practice forever with the help of 3D design software. 3D design software is a digital tool for creating 3D designs with superior accuracy and image quality. You can create calculated representations of a three-dimensional object or shape. 

Why do you need 3D design software?

3D design software is deemed vital in industries like architecture, interior design, engineering, product design, etc. As a designer of the future, you are responsible for utilizing your tools, in whatever shape or form. Here are the great things you can do with 3D design software and how you can benefit from it. 

All Your Drawing Tools in One Software

Gone are the days of traveling in a hassle pack of drafting paraphernalia. With 3D design software, all the materials you need are in one device. Say bye to bulky measuring devices, scales, technical pens, and pencils. With the portability of a computer and 3D design software, you can bring your vision to the world with ease.  

Saves up Your Time, Big Time 

Time is the currency in any design industry. Thus, having 3D design software enables you to finish your projects ahead of the deadline. Not only are you saved from bringing bulky tools, but you spend fewer hours in drafting work. The software offers tools and shortcuts that are faster and more accurate than traditional designing techniques.  

Creates Perfectly-Drafted Presentations

If time is the currency in design fields, your visual presentation is the language you use to express your concept. Delivering your idea neatly in 3D is crucial in design. The design industry is innately competitive, and you want to make sure you’re keeping up with the latest techniques. 

Minimizes Your Overflowing Workload

As someone in the design industry, you will know that output production takes a village to complete. Having 3D design software is like hiring a team for yourself. In manual drafting, a minor error requires redoing everything. But with the convenience of an undo shortcut button, you can keep your work momentum going.

Offers Different Types for Every Need

3D design software has everything from basic drafting to 3D modeling and everything in between. Each variant of design software has a functionality that works for an intended goal. Thus, professionals in the design industry can use various software types, which accommodate a specific requirement in their work nature. 

Working Paperless Is Smart

Going digital is convenient because you can safely carry your files wherever you go without worrying about bringing piles of paper. Saving it in digital storage is secure and accessible. Chances of keeping your manual documents intact are lower as they’re vulnerable to fire, moisture, creasing, and other detrimental disasters.

Go Green at Work

Electronically saving your drawings and files reduce your paper resource consumption. This way, you are practicing a work habit that is environmentally friendly and sustainable. 

Option to Go Premium or Free 

Having a premium 3D software is worth every penny, but don’t worry because you can start your design practice free. With the increasing demand for assistive tools, you can now have 3D design software free to download on your computer. You can also draft in 3D design software online for free if you don’t want to download and install one.

Core features of 3D design software

User-Friendly Interface

The UI or User Interface is the space where you interact with the software, and the tools are clickable with graphic icons. 3D software can look intimidating, especially if you’re new to using it. Having a simple UI design improves your familiarity in operating the software. The control panel tools should be recognizable, so you can learn to navigate fast.

Integrated Design Automation

Design automation features enable you to design, configure, and customize creations at a better speed. With integrated design automation, various tools and functionalities can help you simplify your design process. Plus,  it minimizes your working time by altering unavoidable design changes that are costly and disruptive. 

Digital Drawing and Modeling Tools 

In traditional drafting, you need a lot of materials to build your design from scratch. With this functionality in one software, it offers you all the digital tools you need to create different automatic model components like lines, polylines, shapes, etc. with accuracy and speed. 

Commands and Shortcuts

With commands and shortcuts, you will only need to type letters to use the specific tools you need automatically. You don’t have to look for the tool icon one by one on the control panel. These hotkeys are fast, automatic, and easy to memorize.

Animation Features

The animation feature allows animators to make keyframes, tweening, and other transitional effects accurately. This feature enables a seamless motion for your 3D characters, objects, and other elements. With this feature, animating your model is ten times easier and convenient. Since the animation process is quite tedious, this feature can help you achieve your goal faster.

Virtual Tour Creation

This feature is a tool that imitates the motion of walking through space or property. Examples are virtual tour video walk-throughs, 3D virtual tours, and interactive 360-degree tours. This feature enables you to incorporate motion to your models with ease. A changing environment will give you insights on how to approach the components that need improvement. 

Collaboration Feature

This feature enables multiple users to design 3D creations and more in one workspace. Collaboration takes a considerable portion of any design process, and you can do all of this in 3D design software. With this feature, team projects progress faster and improve productivity for all. 

Types of 3D design software

You may have encountered 3D design more times than you know because 3D design software is everywhere. It has developed over the years to accommodate various design fields and market audiences.  Here are the different types of 3D design software.

3D CAD Software

3D CAD software is a digital tool for creating, modifying, analyzing, and optimizing 3D representations and drawings. CAD or computer-aided design is common in the architecture, interior design, manufacturing, and engineering industry. This type of software has design functionalities for both 2D and 3D. CAD can be a 3D home design software, 3D landscape design software, and 3D interior design software. 

Pro #1: High Precision 

3D CAD software is a state-of-the-art program maximizing high precision in drafting while minimizing the percentage of errors. It has tools that can help you set your units of measurements in different degrees of precision. Therefore, achieving on-point measurement accuracy.

Pro #2: Automates Design Process 

Unlike traditional methods of designing, CAD software allows you to make changes and modifications easily. With a few shortcuts and tools, you can make changes without having to redo an entire model. 

Pro #3:Time Efficient

You can create subparts of a model, so when you reassemble it as a whole, you can check its cohesion and accuracy. Thus, designing in an automatic workspace is more convenient and time-efficient.

Con #1: Requires Higher Device Specs 

Using free 3D design software allows you to save extra money, but that doesn’t mean spending on a computer device is an exception. Since 3D CAD software is a powerful technology, you may be needing a computer device with advanced specs for it to work seamlessly. 

Con #2: Requires Skill Training

Operating this type of software can be difficult, so you may allocate some time to familiarize yourself with basic to advanced techniques. Its interface may hinder your process with unavoidable instances of committing errors and mistakes. 

3D Modeling Software

3D modeling software is a highly-advanced technological tool for creating a mathematical representation of 3D objects from simple shapes to complicated polygon models. The finished product is called a 3D Model. This applies to a variety of industries, such as film production and video games. 

Pro #1: Spot-on Representation of the Creator’s Concept

You can capture your vision in a 3D form. Designs in a 3D rendering have the means to highlight details with high precision and quality. Unlike a traditional method of modeling, the level of accuracy is drastically better. This way, you can express your design in a variety of perspectives with ease, and in return, your potential clients can understand the design as well

Pro #2: Interactive rendering

Your model gets to have a walkthrough rendering. What it does is present your model from different angles and perspectives by a specialized camera movement feature. By having a walkthrough, you can check ahead how it looks in a moving environment and monitor what elements can be improved and eliminated. 

This is an excellent alternative for communicating with viewers who are having difficulties visualizing 2D presentations. This way, they can have an interactive experience with your designs. 

Con #1: Time-consuming 

Even though 3D modeling software can help you minimize your work, half of the overall 3D modeling work will still come from you. Thus, you have to follow a strict time commitment when planning in 3D modeling software. 

Visual Effects Software 

People confuse Visual Effects or VFX with Computer-generated Imagery or CGI. To make things clear, they are closely related, but different. CGI is rendering 3D creations digitally using a computer. Special Effects are concrete effects shot in a live-action shoot such as props or prosthetic makeup. 

Visual effects software combines the live-action footage and computer creations in post-production. This is a practical way of achieving the goal of making real-life footage and VFX seem happening at once.

Pro #1: Brings imagination to reality

One of the most significant advantages, why VFX software is a go-to technique for almost every filmmaking process is its ability to create a fantasy or action look believable. When the director and writers’ vision is virtually impossible to recreate in reality, VFX can make that happen. With this, films can have the means to tell the story better and more engagingly. 

Pro #2: A visual treat for the audience

If you’re a filmmaker, you want to catch the attention of your audience. VFX can instantly make a lasting emotional impact on the viewers. Study shows that our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text. This study concludes that after 3 hours, we are more able to recall visual information 80% better than spoken ones. 

Con #1: Requires pro-level skills 

Using VFX software can be very demanding when it comes to the skills. As this software tends to have stages and lengthy processes, you may need to take time learning from the basics to pro techniques. 

CAD/CAM Software

CAD/CAM software stands for computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing. CAD/CAM works side by side for manufacturing processes. CAD design software is for the creation of the parts of a design using wireframe geometry such as points, lines, and circles. You need CAD before the completed design transfers to CAM. 

The CAM will process and program the CAD designs to calculate precise cutting paths for the tools to follow. This software will then complete programming to produce a machine language out of the CAD designs. 

Pro #1: Automates modification process

One of the biggest pros when it comes to CAD/CAM software is it allows you to make changes without having to worry about completely redrawing the entire design from the start. The features and tools in this software can help you alter certain parts if it does not fit as a whole. Not only this improves your progress and productivity, but it also enables you to save your resources as well

Pro #2: Production of prototypes 

Designing your creation in 3D software is one thing, but the advantage of having CAD/CAM is you can program and manufacture its prototype. This gives you a heads-up to what it will look like in its actual form. This way, you can check the rightness of the proportions, contours, etc. of a product.

Con #1: Requires high-technology computers 

Since CAD/CAM software includes significant designing and manufacturing processes, you will need powerful, high-quality computer hardware and advanced manufacturing devices. Therefore, the CAD/CAM software operation is quite expensive.  

Con #2: Complexity 

CAD/CAM software is not as easy as 1-2-3, so it can be a hindrance, especially if you have minimal experience with managing and operating this type of software. And because the software is complex, you may require a team of software operators that can handle the designing and manufacturing processes. 

Con #3: High maintenance

One of the major expenses when it comes to CAD/CAM software operation is the maintenance of computers and machine tools. You may want to prevent major damages on your computers, so you must follow a strict maintenance schedule. 

Who needs 3D design software?

One of the main objectives of technology is innovation. Nowadays, it’s incredibly advantageous if you can present and create your design without a skill barrier. That’s why modern designers in different industries adopt 3D technology to keep up with the advancing world. Here are the top industries and professionals who can significantly benefit from 3D design software.

Architects and Architecture Students

Nowadays, you can choose from a wide array of CAD tools that can be used to create a 3D house and building design. Presenting your designs in 3D models can help you translate and elevate your vision to a higher level, and it can modernize and speed up your design process. Also, photorealistic 3D rendering can deliver better image quality, providing you and your future clients a clear visualization.

Engineers and Engineering Students

CAD software can drastically improve the quality of your designs with thousands of templates to choose from. Plus, it simplifies the tedious task of manually documenting the components of your plan, that boosts your productivity at a hundred percent. With 3D CAD software, your designs keep up with international standards as it supports BSO, ANSI, DIN, CSN, GB, ISO, and GOST drafting platforms.

Interior Designers and Interior Architects 

Capturing the flawless finishes of materials is obtainable with the use of 3D photorealistic rendering tools. The overall process of constructing the layout of the space is effortless, as it allows rapid changes, accurate color schemes, and line quality. Presentations occupy a considerable part in client meetings, so your clients should have a clear understanding of your designs.

Fashion Designers 

Similar to the previously mentioned professions, designing clothes can be possible with 3D design software too. It enables designers to visualize how rendered garments look and modify the colors easily if necessary. The fashion design industry is one of the leading fields in design innovation. Modern productions of clothing now incorporate 3D printing techniques to experiment with novelty materials. 

Product Designers

3D design software can provide an automated workspace for product designers in the ideation and rendering process. The product design industry primarily uses CAD-CAM and 3D print design software technology. Or if you are still in practice, you can use free 3D printing design software. CAD-CAM, a 3D printer, and its design software can create accurate representations of the parts of your designs and program the manufacturing process.

Film/TV Production Companies

3D design software is a staple tool in filmmaking. The majority of modern films today use VFX technology as an ideal solution for the challenging parts of the shooting process. Fantasy, cosmic horror, action, adventure, and many more genres of movies can now be possible with the aid of 3D design software. It’s practical, convenient, and produces a superior visual image quality and experience. 

Game Developers

Now, 3D design software strengthens the backbone in any professional game development and virtual reality creation. 3D modeling is a perfect software for building character design, modeling background components, object animation, rendering, and texturing. Plus, the image qualities it can produce are some of the best photo-realistic renderings we have today. 

Dentistry Professionals 

CAD/CAM software technology serves a significant solution in modernizing restorative dentistry, prosthetic dentistry, orthodontics, and dental implants procedures. You can program and manufacture dental prostheses like dentures, crowns, veneers, fixed bridges, inlays, and onlays. Not only it simplifies your dentistry work but offers you high-quality, accurate dental materials.  

Step-by-step guide on how to install 3D design software 

Step1: Identify what type of 3D design software is best for your work.  

The first step you need to do is know what type of 3D design you will work on since different 3D software serves specific purposes. You should be able to single out the right 3D design software type for you to install. 

Step 2: Provide your work status.  

The software developer website will ask if you are a student, professional, or educator. This way, the site will sort the software that fits the range of your career status. 

Step 3: Choose your preferred software.  

Your chosen software developer may provide a list of software types depending on what it specializes in. Choose the best software that fits your work requirement. 

Step 4: Sign-in with a software account. 

The website may require you to sign in, so you need to log your user or email address information to continue. But if you have no account yet, you can choose to register for an account. 

Step 5: Check your operating system.  

You may check your operating system first,  if it runs a 32 or 64 bits system, to ensure compatibility. Note that 32-bit software can run on a 64-bit system, but 64-bit software cannot run on a 32-bit operating system. 

Step 6: Pick your software version.  

After determining your device’s operating system,  go back to the website where you will select the version of the 3D software you prefer to download and install.

Step 7: Copy the serial number and product key.  

Some software may require a unique serial number and product key to activate. This step is essential as these numbers will be used for the activation and authentication process. After copying the numbers, look for the ‘Download’ button and click. 

Step 8: Accept the agreement form. 

The website may direct you to a page where you can read and analyze a license agreement. Read the terms and conditions to make sure you do not miss any information. After that, click ‘I Accept’ or ‘I Agree.’ 

Step 9: Complete the installation.

The finished installation of the software file will ask you to specify where you want to save your file. A few more windows may follow, then click the Install button to start the installation process. Wait for the process to load and complete. 

Step 10: Finishing process.  

After the installation process is finished, click the Finish button.  After clicking the Finish button, make sure to paste the product key and serial number information. Wait for the activation to complete until the software is ready to start. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Yes, and most of the 3D design software offers last for up to 30-days, excluding premium tools. A free trial package includes their basic tools and functionalities to get you started. Using a software free trial is a way for you to test the product on your own, to see if it meets your needs and expectations and if it’s worth paying for. 

Yes, and once you upgrade to a higher subscription plan, you will begin in a new plan. The remaining prepaid amount from your former plan will be credited to your new subscription package. One of the best things about upgrading your subscription is having additional tools, features, and functionalities that optimize your design process even more. 

Most software allows you to cancel your subscription before the renewal date of your plan. What will happen is that even if you have started the plan cancellation, you’re still eligible to access the 3D software and its services. Moreover, once your plan is successfully canceled, the renewal process becomes ineffective, meaning you will no longer be credited in its automatic renewal fee.  

Yes. If you’re a member of a 3D software subscription program, you have full ownership of your creations, even if you cancel your subscription plan. For example, you can reproduce and sell the designs you had created in your 3D design software. Copyright will protect your work’s originality and your right to reproduce it, so if anyone wants to reproduce your projects, they will need your authorization.

The benefit of having a 3D subscription plan is you’re automatically entitled to download software updates in the latest version. 3D software developers offer these updates to fine-tune your software for better performance. These updates are part of your software maintenance as it fixes recently discovered bugs, improves its security, and keeps its condition at the best state. 

For payment of a subscription plan or 3D design software product license, active debit and credit cards are accepted. Some developers also accept payments from a digital wallet. What you need to do is submit your card or e-wallet information on their check-out page. Once you’ve completed this step, the transaction process will automatically credit you for the amount of your purchase. 

You can choose from various software that can provide you assistance based on what your work requires. However, free 3D software may have limits. Essential features and tools may not be offered in free versions of 3D software. So it’s advisable to invest in a premium software to utilize its functionality and have the best quality outputs. Nonetheless, always make sure the software you’re downloading is valid and compatible with your computer device. 

Nonvalid software is an unreliable product sold by unauthorized sellers to unwary buyers. This software is unsecured, and using a nonvalid software can double your risk in malware intrusion and software dysfunctionalities. All of these factors can affect the quality of your work. Plus, using nonvalid software may put you in danger of legal issues like copyright infringement. Thus, always purchase licensed software from authorized sellers or directly from its developers.  

Yes. After all, if you’re still practicing, using this tool can improve your 3D designing skills and outputs. There are great free 3D home design software and CAD design software out there that can deliver functionality even if it’s free. Also, some 3D software offers educational or student versions for your learning.

If you’re looking for software to help build your speaker box, some developers offer 3D design software specifically to plan and calculate formulas to create high-performance bass boxes. With this software, you can develop your subwoofer enclosure plan, quantify speaker box volume, and port length. The software can do all of the necessary calculations for you in a matter of seconds.    

There are few 3D landscape design software, that is free to download in full version, that can provide you basic features and functionalities that are enough to finish a 3D project. However, if you’re designing professionally, it’s not advisable to use free design software. The main reason is premium software has the complete and better functionalities, features, security, and tools that free software versions do not have. After all, you are opting for consistent projects in the best quality, and premium software can help you with that.