In this Professional Mind post I want to talk to you about 5 free and online programs for 3D designthat is, you can use them through the cloud and your browser without having to install it on your PC.
The world of creating 3D projects at work level is increasing and it is a highly required skill in companies, be it from the creative perspective (creation of characters, environments, video games, short films) to the industrial/mechanical and engineering branch (parts, machines, 3D printing).
Why learn about 3D design?
Technological advances are producing an effect on the labor market that is increasingly demanding with professionals seeking employment. This makes the technology education and complementary skills are urgent. The use of application packages for industrial and creative design, administration, data management and more is on the rise.
The world of 3D printing and modeling is booming since 2014 in the branches of engineering, architecture, mechanical design and also creative. In addition, new professional profiles emerge that reward people with knowledge in 3D design applications.
Study on the future of work (2018) points to a growth of the 3D world and other technologies from 2022.
Among the advantages of learning3D modeling work this 2021 are:
- It is a recent and booming sector so you have a time of adaptation to learnexperiment with different programs and even become an expert.
- If you are in the world of engineering or have a technical profile, invest time in knowing 3D applications and the world of industrial 3D printing.
- If you belong to the creative and artistic area, it is also important to give the 3D world a chance, which can facilitate and enhance your work.
- There are offers of beginner programs, intermediate and advanced and many can be learned without the need to study for a degree. You just need desire, perspective and orientation.
- The range of 3D products and licenses allow you to learn for free.
- The learning curve makes it accessible to anyone who wants to get started.
You might be interested in: 5 practical skills to enrich your work and professional profile
The 5 most recommended online 3D design programs
My condition to include these programs in the list as I mentioned at the beginning is that they are: online, in the cloud, free or affordable (free or with cheap licenses).
1- TinkerCAD: 3D modeling for beginners and advanced
If we are going to talk about an ideal online system to start with 3D modeling then TinkerCAD has to be on the list. Its learning curve makes it usable for people looking to get started in this world and for advanced users who want fast and intuitive designs in their projects.
This system allows you to successfully design professions by implementing basic pre-designed pieces. It uses the polygon union system (lowpoly) that allows you to mesh your projects without greater complexity.
Its appeal lies in its huge library of ready-to-use and print-ready designs. Another advantage is its active community that has tutorials and guides to learn TinkerCAD from scratch.
2- SculptGL – 3D sculpture, artistic, character creation
If you want to experiment with 3D sculpture or a more artistic branch of design, the SculptGL tool gives you the chance to do it for free and online.
Tea allows to shape features, expressions, textures, movements and everything you need to give life and realism to your creations. It presents you with a base figure on which you can put your creativity to the test by giving it details and shape. It also has a library of objects for those who don’t want to start from scratch with a design.
To access the program: stephaneginier.com/sculptgl
3- Vectary – 3D design for beginners and professionals
It is a program for beginners in 3D design that combines standard mesh modeling, parametric plugins and subdivision. It is ideal for practices and personal projects since it has tutorials along with an intuitive interface.
It is for both creative and industrial projects. It has tutorials and educational articles on its website.
Start using it from: www.vectary.com
4- OnShape – 3D mechanical design, parts, textures and materials
OnShape is a 3D modeling system So powerful that although it can be used from the cloud, it needs to fully exploit its functionalities by downloading the desktop or mobile application. But due to its potential and versatility it was impossible not to include it in this list.
It is recommended for users who already have a basic notion of design. It is excellent for industrial design and the files can be exported in many formats such as STL, DWG and DXT. It is the little brother of SolidWorks, since it was created in 2012 by two former CEOs of the project.
Its attractive feature that makes it on this list is its project management via URLs and cloud editing. For non-commercial projects and for educational purposes it is free and they also have a resource center on their website with tutorials on its use.
5- Clara.io – 3D creation for complex projects
Finally, another incredible resource to know is clara.io that works at through browsers and allows both beginners and advanced projects to be undertaken. On its website there are resources and a library of designs that you can use as a base for your creations.
Its only flaw is that it has its limitations in the free version and it asks you to be registered to start. But this does not take away its attractiveness and it helps you to practice and learn more about 3D modeling.
You can also read: 10 options to study online free and paid
For advanced levels: Software programs for 3D modeling
If you are already into the world of 3D design and want to go towards advanced levels I invite you to try other software programs with a free version such as:
- google sketchup: Recommended in mechanical and industrial design, for architectural projects and those of greater technical complexity. It doesn’t lose its intuitiveness despite being a powerful tool. As it is a widespread and well-known program, it is not difficult to find tutorials for its use.
- Fusion 360: Belonging to the Autodesk company, it is ideal for mechanical design projects. integrate manufacturing CAD (computer aided design) with the CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing), which allows it to be perfectly integrated into industrial production realities.
- blender: It is a powerful open source program used for 3D animation, character creation, sketching, film productions, industrial design, architecture, and more. It is free to install.
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