Everywhere you go in the modern world, you cannot miss the work of 3D. 3D can be found in movies, TV commercials and printed materials. It is used in visualisation and product promotion as well. 3D art is now a mainstay art form.
Here is a list of some popular 3D software on the market.
1. 3D Studio Max
8. Cinema 4D
This list is no exhaustive, though. Of the list above, Blender and TrueSpace are both free and can be downloaded from the internet.
3DS Max and Maya are widely considered as the most high end of the commercial lot. But, in terms of capability, Blender, although is free is also very feature-rich and powerful.
Open source and free software are changing the software landscape as well. For doing 3D work, there are in fact free and low cost alternatives to expensive applications.
Here are some of the free or low cost equivalent
3DS Max, Maya alternative. There is only one that we can think of. And that is Blender 3D.
Zbrush, Mudbox alternative. Sculptris is a very nice free alternative. Blender also have sculpting option.
Texturing software alternative. GIMP can be a viable 2D texture creating software.
Landscape and terrain generator and rendering programs. Vue is the best of such software in the market. But we will recommend Carrara as a low cost but excellent alternative. Carrara can be used for 3D modeling, rendering and animation. It also sports cool tools such as terrain and plant generators. Carrara’s modeling features can be powerful but the interface can be tricky. Bryce is another program that is specialised in doing landscape rendering.
With the advances in 3D modeling and rendering technology, sometimes it is quite hard to tell if an image is a photo or a computer rendering. Just take a look at King Kong the movie. King Kong was fully virtual and digital, yet he was so life-like that he managed to draw strong emotions from the human audience.
What is also interesting now is that 3D art software for modelling and rendering programs are freely available over the internet. In the past, they were the domain of high end and expensive graphic technologies. Not anymore…
Below is an image that was created using Blender 3D and Yafray.
Blender 3D was used to create the 3D model, while Yafray took care of the photo realistic rendering. The best thing is that both software are totally free and can be downloaded from their respective websites.
There are many software programs that can replace some of the role traditionally held by product photography studio setups. These are 3D art programs with high quality renderers. These renderers are usually based on Global Illumination technology that allows the software to fully mimic the properties and materials and light sources.
As a recent update: Yafray is not longer supported. Instead it has a new successor known as Yafaray. Now Blender is supported by Yafaray.