The 5 best 3D sculpting software

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3D sculpting software is used to create free-form designs and bring organic shapes to life via polygonal meshes that act like real clay. Character animation, game design, product design and more all use 3D sculpting software.

There is a large selection of software to do this; most include features to animate, paint, and texture your designs.

This article covers a list of the top five paid and free 3D sculpting software on the market today. Let’s dive into it.

1. Mixer

Blender is powerful open source software. If you are a hobbyist or professional looking for free 3D modeling software with sculpting capabilities, this is your best choice.

The software is packed with tools and features, including advanced sculpting functions, character animations, and texture controls. You can use it for creating games, motion tracking, and video editing, to name a few.

Blender offers many types of brushes, mirror sculpting, and dynamic topology sculpting. It also offers Bezier and NURBS curves, which use less memory and storage space while you create.

Thanks to Blender’s active online community, beginners can always find help throughout the sculpting process if they need it. You can also check the web page for manuals and tutorials. And the best thing about Blender is that it’s completely free.

To download: Blender for Windows, Mac and Linux (free)

2. Maya

Maya from Autodesk is renowned for her amazing sculpting tools and improved workflow. The software has several different plugins for sculpting, modeling and rendering animation, including LBrush, Realflow, Ziva, and Render Man.

This award-winning software is intended for professionals and is primarily used in the television, film and video game industries.

For better precision and control of details, it is recommended to use a graphics tablet with touch controls; check out our list of the best drawing tablets for digital artists. But you can also use a standard mouse.

Related: 8 Things To Know Before Buying A Graphics Tablet

With Maya, you can sculpt polygon models, create characters and movements, and render natural elements like wind, water, fire, and earth. When you are done sculpting, you can export the design as a 3D file for viewing or 3D printing.

If you want to get started with Maya, there are plenty of tutorials online that will help you move in the right direction.

The sculpting tool will set you back $ 215 per month or $ 1,700 per year. It also offers a 30-day free trial.

To download: Maya for Windows, Mac, and Linux (subscription required, free trial available)

3. ZBrush

ZBrush is 3D digital sculpting software used to create high resolution models. The software offers some of the most advanced tools, making it ideal for professionals and intermediate users looking for creative freedom.

This market-leading sculpting software offers excellent customization capabilities for sculpting, allowing you to sculpt and render organic shapes in great detail. That’s why professionals in the film and video game industry love it.

ZBrush includes 3D brushes, PolyPaint, FiberMesh, DynaMesh and Transpose. These tools can help you create whole figures, complete with props and clothes, ready to render.

It also uses “pixel” technology which stores the color, lighting, depth information and orientation of the points making up all objects on the screen. Essentially, pixels are 2D pixels with additional information.

Related: How To 3D Print For Beginners And Newbies

ZBrush supports all major 3D printing file formats including Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), Wavefront OBJ, and STL (STereoLithography). Because it integrates seamlessly with software such as Blender, Maya, and Cinema 4D, some creators prefer to design their product elsewhere before importing it into ZBrush for the finishing touch.

Being one of the most recommended sculpting software, there are plenty of training materials and online courses to help you learn how to use it.

This software will cost you $ 895 for a perpetual license or $ 39.95 per month. To get an idea without making a purchase, you can start a 30-day free trial. If you are not sure if you need the advanced feature set of ZBrush, you can use ZBrushCoreMini for free or get ZBrushCore.

To download: ZBrush for Windows and Mac (subscription required, free trial available)

To download: ZBrushCoreMini for Windows and Mac (Free)

To download: ZBrushCore for Windows and Mac ($ 179.95)

4. Mudbox

If you are looking for affordable and professional sculpting software, Autodesk Mudbox may be for you. This software is mainly used for high resolution digital sculpting, texture painting, moving and normal map making.

It provides a set of tactile and intuitive tools for creating and modifying 3D geometry and textures. You can use it for high-poly modeling and paint maps directly on meshes.

Mudbox costs $ 10 per month, or $ 90 per year, and is ideal for 3D sculpting professionals and intermediates looking for an affordable way to create. While this software can be cost effective, there is no shortage of cutting edge features.

To download: Mudbox for Windows, Mac, and Linux (subscription required, free trial available)

5. Modo

Modo is a complete 3D sculpting software with user-friendly tools and a solid rendering system. The software’s modeling, animation and texturing tools are among the most powerful in the industry. It also integrates with several third-party plugins, making it seamlessly integrated into your workflow.

It offers three types of sculpting: image-based, mesh, and multi-res, which you can apply for different purposes. This makes the software a great choice for expert and intermediate users looking for a fast and flexible sculpting solution.

With image-based sculpting, you can produce fine details for the models. Mesh sculpting is great for creating a rough shape. And Multi-Res sculpting doesn’t require images or UV mapping to sculpt on multiresolution meshes. You can also use Modo to create polygonal designs using both direct tools and procedural techniques.

The latest version of the software includes powerful additions such as static analysis and curve booleans. Static Analysis is the new, updated software system to detect performance issues such as unused images, floating tops, and empty groups. Boolean tools allow you to intersect and subtract 2D curves and convert the resulting shape to a 3D model.

Modo’s perpetual license costs $ 1,909, while the monthly subscription will cost you $ 65 each month.

To download: Modo for Windows, Mac and Linux (subscription required, free trial available)

Choose your 3D sculpting software

With the growing demand for 3D content, increasing sums are being invested in industries such as film, games, 3D printing, advertising and product design. This has led to a great influx of 3D artists and designers.

Mastering 3D sculpting means you will open yourself up to a variety of career opportunities. Try some of the best 3D sculpting software listed here, even if you are new to the world of graphic design, you might be surprised with what you create.


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