3D Projects: Which 3D Product is Right for You?

When it comes to starting a 3-D project, you can save a lot of time and money by choosing the right product from the beginning. To start with, there are quite a few free programs and programming libraries to use whether you’re creating a 3-D film, game or commercial or printing 3-D objects with a computer. It doesn’t take long to learn what you need to know about the 3-D products on the market, and you can get started right away by reading this list.


Blender is a free, open-source 3-D modeling program that allows you to create any type of virtual world you can imagine. It can be used to make still images as well as animations, and you can take advantage of the internal physics engine for game development. If you plan to create mesh models for your 3-D printer, Blender allows you to import and export files for your printing application, so you can easily edit your mesh before sending it to your printer.

You can basically think of Blender as a free alternative to professional programs like Maya and 3-D Studio Max. It has a comprehensive feature set that is expanded every time a new release is deployed. If you’re a game developer, you can import your game world and characters to the Blender viewport and use the powerful editing tools to change anything you need to edit in your file. It’s also easy to export the finished product to an external game development framework such as Unity3D or Unreal.


Unity is another free product that makes 3-D programming a lot easier. You can use it for free if you want to make games for desktop computers, but if you plan to use it for mobile games or other platforms, you’ll need to buy a license. With this visual development framework, you can actually see your game world as you develop the software code, saving a significant amount of time and easily offsetting the cost of a license. Other similar frameworks include CryEngine, Unreal and UDK.

DIY 3-D Printing Kits

You can save hundreds or possibly thousands by building your own 3-D printer from the pieces in a kit. These printers usually come with open-source software that’s compatible with programs like Blender and Z-Brush, but it’s important to read reviews about a product before spending your money. Some printers produce better results than others, and some printers are more convenient to use than others. Features to pay attention to include the type of plastic a printer uses and how difficult it is to replace the filament. Some printers can be improved with a simple modification.

As computing power becomes cheaper and software becomes more powerful, 3-D programs and printers will become more common and user-friendly. The learning curve is fairly steep when it comes to 3-D modeling and programming, but anyone can do it with a little determination. If you have an interest in sculpting or game development, take a look at some of the great products available for free.