8 Awesome 3D Tools of 2017

Over the years, technology has dictated how we present visual data. From the age of 1-dimensional object projections all the way to the current 3-dimensional projection, we have witnessed how advancement in technology has made it possible for certain softwares that facilitate 3d modeling, to be developed. The tools have been made for various uses including design, animation and gaming experience among others.

Ever since the introduction of 3D technology, many things have been made possible while others have been made exciting. The latest technology which allows 3D printing has taken the world by storm due to its stunning ability. Gaming has also been changed for the better as now gamers can experience gaming in 3D. Movies have also been made more exciting with the introduction of 3D movies which gives the audience an ‘inside the movie’ feeling.

Below are some of the best 3D tools as of 2017. Note that they perform different functions.

1. K-3D

K3D

K-3D features a plugin-oriented procedural engine for all of its content, this makes it a very versatile and powerful package. It also excels at polygonal modeling and includes basic tools for NURBS, patches, curves, and animation. It is the free-as-in-freedom 3D modeling, animation, and rendering system for GNU / Linux, Posix, and Win32 operating systems.

It features a robust, object-oriented plugin architecture, intended to scale to the needs of professional artists, and it has been made-from-the-ground-up to generate motion-picture-quality animation using RenderMan-compliant render engines. Some of the greatest animations enjoyed today are a product of this epic software. With its sophisticated nature, it would not be surprising if a 4D software is developed in the years to come.

Website: K3D

2. Zanoza Modeler (ZModeler)

Zanoza_Modeler

This is a software for creating and modifying 3D artwork (models) for various games. Compared to advanced 3D Graphics packages it is not intended to produce very detailed 3D models required for photo-realistic renderings, instead, it should be used for low or average-detailed 3D models for real-time rendering in games. The more you accurately create and texture 3D models, the better they’ll look in-game.

On the other hand, very highly-detailed models, even while they look much more impressive, can and usually cause a slowdown of game’s performance and sometimes make gameplay experience unsatisfying. The Proper balance of details, texture-work and polygons optimization is what 3D artist should aim to do. When you want to bring your game idea to life, this is the best tool for you to begin with. If you master it well enough, you can be able to generate some interesting quality graphics. It takes time to get the hang of it but once you do, it is smooth all the way. 

Website: Zanoza Modeler

3. Blender

Blender

OS Support: Linux, Mac-OSX, Windows | Website Link

Features: Modeling, UV mapping, Texturing, Rigging, Skinning, Animation, Simulations, Scripting, Rendering, Compositing, VFX, Game Creation.

It can be used to create 3D visualizations such as still images, video and real-time interactive video games. It is very well suited to individuals and small studios who benefit from its unified pipeline and responsive development process. Blender is cross-platform and runs on Linux, Mac-OSX and MS-Windows systems with a small memory and disk footprint. Its interface uses OpenGL to provide its users with a consistent experience across all supported hardware and platforms.

Website: Blender

4. Unreal Engine 4.15

UnrealEngine

February saw the release of version 4.15 of Epic Games’ popular game engine, Unreal Engine. The latest release sports 79 improvements presented by UE developers on GitHub.

The most attention grabber is support for the Nintendo Switch, albeit experimental for now. It also comes with the long-awaited addition of High Dynamic Range (HDR) display support, GPS Data accessibility in Android and iOS, and PlayStation VR Aim Controller support. Elsewhere, compile times have been shortened by up to 50 percent, there’s a new Blendspace editor, and animation blending is now achievable in Sequencer.

Website: Unreal Engine

5. Modo 11.1

Modo

Modo 11.1 was Foundry released in June. It is the second of the three updates to its 3D modeling, rendering and texturing tool. And its new Unreal Bridge feature has everyone’s talking, it allows you to work in an uninterrupted flow between Modo and Unreal Engine. You can either work between the two tools on the same computer or remotely across two or more computers on the same network.

They also introduced a new Box Transform tool for moving and positioning UVs more fluidly, a UV coverage indicator for organizing UV Maps more efficiently, and support for object space normal map baking.

Website: Modo

6. Iclone 7

iClone7

Such a time last year, real-time 3D animation and renderer Character Creator for iClone 6 hit, and back then we were very impressed with it. Towards the end of June, makers Reallusion launched version 7, with a lot of new features.

Standouts amongst them were; PBR rendering and real-time Global Illumination, morph animation tool, new facial and camera settings that duplicate the movements of real-world production cameras. iClone 7 also comes with the latest pack of embedded content and two new stock 3D characters.

Website: iClone7

7. Clarisse 3.5

Clarisse

Isotropix launched version 3.5 of its image-centric (2D/3D) and VFX animation for VFX artists in May. It was upgraded from version 3.0. The latest release includes a new scattering system, which allows users to scatter instanced objects, such as rocks or plant-life, by directly painting particles across a surface.

It also comes with collision detection to control the spacing of instances, upgrades to groups and file referencing, new Standard PBR material inspired by AlSurface, and also a free student edition.

Website: Clarisse

8. Arnold 5

Arnold

Website: Arnold

This April saw Global illumination ray-tracer Arnold get a big new release with version 5. The biggest change is actually not visible to users, though, as maker Solid Angle has transitioned the software to a brand new architecture. Through this transition, the software will be able to make major improvements in future.

That said, there are still very many new features to enjoy right now in Arnold 5. Both render startup and ray trace time have been speeded up considerably, with the company pledging a 10x speed boost when pre-processing textures in Arnold’s .tx format.

Several new shaders have been added, including Standard Volume, a new physically based volumetric shader. And perhaps the best news for users is that support for Arnold 5 is also one of the key main features of 3ds Max 2018.

Users keen on enjoying the features of the new version have to get a little bit creative as it takes time before you can actually land the settings. Otherwise, it’s a pretty decent 3D tool.

Conclusion

3D tools have been invented for various reasons. Whichever reason you have for using any of the tools, the above article should guide you on which one can best serve the purpose. These are some of the best 3D softwares available, however, there are plenty more which come close to doing what the above does. If you cannot find one or be able to use it, look for an alternative since they are in plenty. Each 3D tool comes with its own tutorial but if you cannot locate it, feel free to search the web on how to use it so as to utilize its full potential.

Rinkesh Kukreja

Rinkesh Kukreja is very passionate about environmentalism, technology, cloud computing and latest gadgets. He loves to write on these topics and has received accolades from various people.

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