Design Applications for every Designer – 3D Apps

There are multiple job titles that are related to design. From the auto industry to our own web design industry every designer needs a tool. Here is a post dedicated to those of you interested in other areas of design or simply interested in various design applications. Listed bellow are some of the most important 3d applications suitable for any needs.

3D Content Creation Software

I will start with 3D applications dedicated to game and movie industry and not only. These application are awesome tools that can transform simple sketches and ideas into awesome experiences. You can see the results of this kind of tool everywhere on the web in the form of renderings, games, characheters, movies etc.

1. Autodesk 3ds Max

Autodesk 3ds Max is the most popular 3D application. It has a great community and it requires relatively small amount of time to learn it on a basic level. This is possible due to the huge number of tutorials available on the web. It is the leading application in the game industry but it is also a great package for the movie and media industry.

To sustain all the buzz around it are the movies and games that were created using Autodesk 3ds Max. Spider-Man 3, Hellboy, The Dat After Tomorrow, The Matrix Reloaded, The Mummy, X-Men Trilogy, I, Robot or games like Assassin’s Creed (photo), Tony Hawk’s Project 8, Gears of War and many others.

2. Autodesk Maya

Autodesk Maya is “the” choice for creating impressive visual effects for the movie industry. This statement can be easily confirmed by the movie titles that were relying on Autodesk Maya: Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (photo), The Golden Compass, Monsters and Aliens, Star Trek, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Stardust, Ice Age.

3. Autodesk Softimage

Formerly known as Softimage|XSI and owned by Avid Technology, Autodesk Softimage is one of the top players in the 3D content creation category. Used in media, movies and games industry, Autodesk Softimage has gained a great reputation mainly in the game development area. With games like Crysis, Half-Life 2, Hitman, Lost Planet, Metal Gear Solid 4 and movies like 300, Sin City and Transformers it is quite easy to understand why Softimage is a great pick for numerous studios.

4. Newtek Lightwave 3D

Now that Autodesk has 3 top products, Newtek Lightwave 3D may seem the only real competitor. It is hard to compete but the great tools and power behind Lightwave 3D make this application a great choice in the movie and media industry. Just looking over its portfolio you can realize what kind a product it is: The Dark Knight, Eagle Eye, Hancock, Jumper, Iron Man (photo), Armageddon, The Matrix Revolutions, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black, Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End, 300 and many others.

5. Maxon Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D from Maxon is somehow a smaller player in the 3d content creation applications compared to the previous names. But that doesn’t make it an outsider from the set of features perspective. Looking at its legacy we can say that the application has great potential: Van Helsing, Open Season, Polar Express (photo), King Arthur, Beowulf, Surf’s up and others.

6. Blender 3D

Blender 3D is the first open source solution with awesome capabilities and great community. It is the most downloaded 3D application and because it has nice features it was addopted pretty fast by the 3D enthusiasts. From game engine to advanced movie editing capabilities, this free tool will help you transform your ideas into 3D generated content. There are several movies and games based on Blender 3D: Big Buck Bunny, Elephants Dream, Yo Frankie!, Sintel and other indie productions.

7. Daz3D Carrara 3D

Carrara is a general purpose 3D figure posing, modeling, landscape design, rigid and soft-body dynamics, animation and rendering all within a single application. Carrara features a full set of modeling and animation tools, compatibility with Poser and DAZ format 3D figures, along with a selection of landscape generation tools at a price that is extremely competitive with rival packages.

8. Microsoft TrueSpace

About a year ago, this package was entitled Caligary TrueSpace and it was one of the smaller competitors from this domain. Then it was purchased by Microsoft and now the full commercial application is offered free in order to boost the interest for this tool. Just head to TrueSpace’s home page and you can download the entire application, as well as tutorials and documentation.

9. SideFx Houdini

Houdini is a high-end 3D animation package developed by Side Effects Software. It covers all areas: Modeling, Metaballs, Animation, Particles, Dynamics, Lighting, Rendering, Volumetrics, Compositing, Plugin Development – development libraries for user extensibility. With all these features included, Houdini comes in 2 versions with a pretty solid price: $2000 for the Houdini Escape and $6700 for Houdini Master.

In the end…

From open source application (blender) to high-end packages, these applications will serve you well in your tasks. It really depends the type of task you want to accomplish and … your budget as well. Hopefully this article will help you, and make sure to check with as soon, for in the next post we will cover 3d sculpting applications.


3 ideas on “Design Applications for every Designer – 3D Apps

  1. Khyne

    As a general question, how easy are these softwares to learn and which would you recommend for someone who is relatively new to 3d design?

    I’m assumming some of them are better then others for beginners and that they all have some similarities meaning once you master one it is not so difficult to transition.

    • Andy Gongea

      Definitely 3DS Max would be my recommendation both because of the shorter learning curve and also because of the great community.

  2. Magento themes

    Blender 3D is my favourite