Advances in 3D drawing software have resulted in drawing tools that are easier to use, with expanded capabilities and a wide variety of results. Whether they’re used for mechanical design, art or animation, the number of users of 3D drawing tools is growing at a steady rate, as is the price of these tools, with top sellers costing well over $3,000. Fortunately for those who wish to create in 3D without the high costs, there are free tools widely available that provide a level of detail and functionality that’s nearly equal to the best that retail has to offer.
Many 3D drawing tools not only allow you to create 3D models but to animate entire scenes using what you’ve created. Using some of the best free 3D software available, you can animate just as well as those using expensive retail packages. Three widely used free 3D software drawing tools are Anim8tor, Blender and Art of Illusion.
For simple 3D modeling and animation, Anim8or is a tool that lets you create without a huge learning curve. Created by Steve Glanville, Anim8or isn’t as powerful as other 3D modelers on the market, but it was developed to provide ease of use for creators. If you’re new to 3D drawing, this is the introductory tool that’s beginner friendly. It also works well if your computer isn’t cutting edge as it has low system requirements for use.
If you’re looking for a free, full-featured creation suite, Blender is a 3D graphics application that’s capable of performing most 3D modeling and animating activities. Using Blender you can model 3D objects, apply texture to them, rig the objects for animation, perform the animation itself and render a final product. Released under the GNU General Public License, Blender is an open source with a large community of users who provide not only improvements to the software, but add-ons that increase Blender’s functionality.
Since the program is released under the GNU General Public License, any derivative products are required to be free to the public. But program output using Blender is the property of the creator. If you make it using Blender, you own it.
Art of Illusion
For expansion capabilities, Art of Illusion offers a fully customizable experience that lets you pick and choose the functions you need in a 3D drawing tool. It offers the usual modeling and rendering options contained in other 3D drawing packages, all free due to its release as an open source project under the Free Software Foundation’s General Public License, under its creator Peter Eastman. Like other software offered under the General Public License, it is modifiable by a community of programmers and users, who expand its features more quickly than retail releases are updated.
What makes Art of Illusion useful if you’re looking for customizable options is the addition of a built-in downloading tool for installing extensions to the program. Using the download tool you can choose the extensions you want to use, controlling your experience with the program and expanding only those uses you put the program to. It also helps you stay current with advances in the 3D world without needing to wait for a full release.