Starting out, which software should I pick?

Discussion in 'Software and Applications' started by eduzanni, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. eduzanni
    eduzanni New Member
    Hello everyone.

    I'm interested on making and printing a few designs, but I'm an absolute beginner when it comes to 3d modelling. I don't wanna hire a modeler to do my work either, I wanna learn this thing!

    The thing is, I'm not sure which is the best software to use. I've looked at Blender, but it's more rendering-animation oriented and I was wondering if there's anything out there better for printable 3D models.

    So, which software would you guys recommend, and why?

    Also, thanks in advance :)
  2. It depends rather heavily on what type of modelling you wish to do. For mechanical parts, I would suggest mechanical design software like Inventor or Solidworks. For character modelling, you might try Z-brush, Sculptris, or any one of a number of other programs available. Some are free, some are very expensive, some have steep learning curves, some do not.

    It's like asking what tire you should buy. Are you driving a motorcycle, a drag racer, a pickup truck or a heavy hauler? "What's best" depends heavily on what yu're trying to accomplish. Tell us more about what you're interested in creating and you'll get more helpful answers from some very knowledgable people.
  3. eduzanni
    eduzanni New Member
    Thanks for the input. Since I'm just starting out with 3D modeling I'm not going to model complex characters just yet, but I may want to model simple ones. I want to start with jewelry like rings and pendants with basic geometry. A bit further down the road I'd like to model a 3D puzzle of sorts, with no mobile parts but a metal ball that has to be ran through the puzzle piece.

    Also, although I'm a beginner, I'd like to learn software that'll be useful down the road. I don't want anything that's too limited in it's own domain.
  4. Krisztianna
    Krisztianna New Member
    Ahh I'm so glad this post is here - NOOOOOBTASTIC addition coming up!

    I am in a similar quandary. I've starting playing with Blender, Google Sketch-up, AND Sculptris - I'm trying to create organic and character modeling based shapes, but with interlocking parts like custom bolts that can swivel - I am in way over my head because though I have a background in sculpting characters in clay and have some of that going for me, I have no background in industrial or product design - There is MUCH I need to learn, and am having trouble on what aspects to focus on first. Dabbling little bits in lots of things at once is not working for me. My progress is slow, and my mistakes too many. I end up with more questions than answers. Don't get me wrong, I'm still at it, and will continue - but - I have been wondering some things...

    I pose an additional few question to this thread:

    1. If wanting to combine organic feely shapes with moving components that require exact measurement, is there one program I can throw myself into, to bleed and learn and cry over...instead of many?

    2. Or, do I learn a few programs and then combine them in the end? If so, what two are highly recommended (have a smooth-ish workflow) for what I have attempted to describe? (Feely and exacty)

    3. For those of us with no background in product design/movingparts/making things to spec, what crash course can you recommend?

    Thanks for your time. I'm still finding the RIGHT questions to ask for specific issues.
  5. Plonie
    Plonie New Member
    Hi there everyone,

    I'm also trying to find the best software to use when it comes to design for 3D printing.
    Could you tell me what your experiences are and which program you can use for design jewellery or Interior design for example.

    I really want to learn how to design 3d objects but i can't find a right answer on the internet.

    Thanks in advance!
  6. HOLDEN8702
    HOLDEN8702 Well-Known Member
    Hi, I'm using blender to mix parts of different "fathers" into an only model. I like too the "biotechnologic" H.R.Gigerish look, but I haven't had time to make a model of it.
    These models are made mixing in blender parts from autodesk inventor and parts designed in sculptris into one part. It's only an example .html?li=my-models&materialId=26 ml?li=my-models&materialId=26

    Blender is a very unfriendly software to work with, but is easy to mix, rotate, scale and give color to elements.


  7. Freakazoitt
    Freakazoitt Well-Known Member
    Please suggest me free software with similar interface as 3ds Max and correctly working booleans modifications
  8. SteveS3D
    SteveS3D Member
    Just because Blender is aimed at the rendering and animation crowd doesn't mean that it doesn't have powerful modeling tools. Just about anything you can do in Max you can do in Blender. Yes the learning curve is steep, but there's plenty of tutorials on Youtube.

    My favorite modeling program is Moment of Inspiration (MoI.) It's not free ($300) but it's very intuitive and easy to use.

    Steve S
  9. Silvanus
    Silvanus Well-Known Member
    Blender has booleans. I don't know if is there a way to do real correct booleans in any software, hehe. :D

    There's few if any at all, softwares similar in GUI to Max.

    There are more packages that behave like Maya, Lightwave, etc.

    I know well Max, but since long I use Blender, Wings, Sculptris, etc. One that is rarely mentioned, has a nice interface, and seems to handle well heavy meshes is Metasequoia. It's been a while around, but not much people know it. Metasequoia LE is the totally freeware version. The shareware one was usable till certain limits, of course unless you purchase it (it used to be pretty cheap, I don't know now )

    Edit: Yes it, 45 bucks is not gonna change anyone's financial situation...

    I has "some" little things that remotely remind of Max. But probably more, Lightwave.

    I don't know. What I did in its moment, decades ago, was to grab every 3D software I could till I found my comfortable work flows.

    Speaking of which, I got suddenly super nostalgic, and went to check if there existed yet that old little thing called Aim8or. It does! Is not my favorite modeler, but is a curious application

    My advice is: Go with Blender. At least as a... main package. Is so complete... and free. But for actually modeling, anything will do, and each tool shines best at its area of specialty.

    I would use sketchup for light architecture models, or even a lot of non organic modeling.

    Wings 3D , for meshes where you don't need very dense meshes. But still want a very flexible and capable modeler. I do my main stage of organic modeling there. There is indeed some sort of booleans in it via added plugin, but for that I'd go perhaps with Blender. To mention that a lot of operations are possible in Wings and many modelers without using booleans. This software can do non organic modeling pretty well.

    Blender for practically everything. You just need to get used to it. There's lots of documentation, books, and video tutorials, has a huge user base and comunity. IMO is the safest bet. If you end up enjoying the interface.

    For cad oriented stuff... A cad expert might tell you :D

    Last edited: May 13, 2014
  10. numarul7
    numarul7 Well-Known Member
    Lets get it right.

    There are no easy way to learn 3D. I did think that because I can think in 3D and model easy with my hands it will be easy ... it is not , in order to know to use 3D you must learn basic perspective and graphic design.

    Let`s cut it right.

    Blender 3D it is the biggest bang for the buck you will ever get. Only thing it is that you must learn the interface and start with Poly by Poly modeling aka SUBD modeling *YES that is the mother of all 3D modeling (can be very angry inducing for an artist used to natural medium like pen paper , clay).

    Other thing it is that Blender 3D has sculpt mode with tesselation support like Sculptris and Manual Retopology that is better than other software (Automated Retopology it is in the works of GSOC 2014).

    Why Blender 3D it is good now for 3D Printing ? IT HAS A RULER!

    One note it is that it is better to use 1 Blender unit = 1 mm in order to have a nice modeling space and don`t crumble your mind.

    And use Netfabb Basic for nasty stuff like "manual thickness check (same software is used by Shapeways)

    That it is the only way to combine organic forms with mechanical forms ... the bad news it eats time like water and you must have patience like a rock.

    But heh! Be happy it will print to many years after you finish it ... so that time it is well spent!
  11. roofoo
    roofoo Well-Known Member
    +1 for Blender. It's got dynamic topology sculpting (like Sculptris/zbrush), robust modeling tools, great 3D printing tools for checking your model before exporting, measurement tools, & texture painting & UV unwrapping (if you want to print color models). All for free! And there are tons of free video tutorials on the web to get you started.