Best 3D sculpting apps

The 2021 list of the best 3D sculpting software which 3D artists should be aware of

Though it is the expertise of artists that determines the excellence of 3D sculpting services offered, the apps used by them plays a significant role. A lot of applications keep on emerging but there are certain apps that are being largely used by the best 3D sculpting companies in India. While outsourcing these services, inquire about the apps the concerned service provider is using. Some of the top apps that every 3D artist must be aware of are enumerated below.

Quick overview

  1. ZBrush
  2. Mudbox
  3. Cinema 4D
  4. Modo
  5. 3D Coat
  6. Blender
  7. Sculptris
  8. Meshmixer
  9. ScupltGL
  10. Rocket F
  11. SelfCAD
  1. ZBrush

    Z Brush traces its origin back to 1999 as a tool with least functionalities and in course of time, it evolved as a great app. Using this tool, an artist can start his/her 3D sculpting work from the scratch and if needed fine details can be added to the meshes created in other programs with ease. The tool is really powerful but the unconventional interface, as well as workflow, makes the learning curve steep.

    zbrush software

  2. Mudbox

    The finished product was released in 2007 and follows the certain level of traditional approach. It looks and works like just any other three-dimensional application with familiar palettes, layer systems and menus. It has fully featured painting system and multi-resolution sculpting. The latest version released has great interoperability with Maya, multitile UV mapping and P-tex texturing technology.

    mudbox software

  3. Cinema 4D

    The 2012 release of this tool caught attention with its novel sculpting module. It featured multi-resolution sculpting and had advanced options for symmetry. To add fine details, it offered the wide range of different brushes, stamps and stencils.   There is also mirroring as well as mesh projection. Recently announced the update, R16 adds furthermore features that enhanced the favouritism of this tool among the outsourcing service providers.

    Cinema 4D sofrtware

  4. Modo

    When released in 2007, MODO version 301 had a great sculpting tool-set. By this, it was possible to sculpt the meshes using a blend of mesh vertices management followed by vector displacement (image-based) maps for creating fine details.

    Over the subsequent releases of this tool for 3d sculpting services, refinement of the system continued. MODO 501 arrived with multi-resolution sculpting and MODO 801 is equipped with the ability to pressure brush whacks to splines applied to mesh.

    Modo software

  5. 3D Coat

    Contrary to other apps used by the outsourcing Indian companies, 3D COAT is associated with three-dimensional pixels or voxels. This avails the benefit that the user need not have to be concerned about underlying topology.

    The user simply draws a volume and can add or geometry as he likes; the program will add voxels based on the need. Then the sculpted image gets converted into surface just like other apps. As the objects are built using triangles, the final model should be retopologised for creating a mesh that can be workable; the app has the really effective manual and automatic tools for the same. Besides, there are also all-inclusive tool-set for UV mapping as well as a great painting tool-set.

    3DCoat software

  6. Blender

    With version 2.43, BLENDER got equipped with sculpting tools. Here also the multi-resolution system works almost like Mudbox and ZBrush. Dynamic topology was added in version 2.66.

    The shrewd system allows the user to add or remove geometry as per his wish. But the output generated will be a thickly triangulated mesh. You may thus have to spend time for retopologising it. The 3D sculpting by BLENDER is highly advanced and user-friendly.

    Blender software

  7. Sculptris

    This digital sculpting software was developed by popular 3D tool development company named Pixologic and it supports 3D printing as well. You can use this tool to generate elaborate meshes. This software comes for free and so you can use it to upskill yourself by using its various easy-to-use features. You can also import 3D meshes in .obj formats for adding more detailing and modifying the sculpts. This free tool does not have comprehensive features that you can find in ZBrush and so it is limited in terms of functionalities.

    Sculptris software

  8. Meshmixer

    This is an advanced sculpting program that supports easy handling of triangle meshes. This software was developed by Autodesk. This is one of the most popular software for generating 3D meshes. This software supports functions such as 3D scanning, 3D printing, sculpting, and object designing. When you use this software, you can ensure that all the objects are represented in proper geometry. Its latest version is 3.3 and some of its features are drag-and-drop, surface stamping, functionalities for creating lattices and patterns, measurements, mesh smoothing, mirroring, surface alignment, hallowing, etc. This is a free program and so you can experiment with all its features and make your learning more effective.

  9. ScupltGL

    This is not exactly a program, but it is a free, browser-based application that you can use for free. This Javascript and WebGL-based program does not need you to sign up in order to be able to use it for your project. This software can be used easily by beginners to master their digital sculpting skills. It has some really useful sculpting tools including standard tools such as twist, brush, drag, inflate, etc., PBR vertex painting tools that supports the functionalities for roughness and color, etc. It supports multi-resolution sculpting and features surface nets meshing algorithm that supports voxel remeshing and uniform remeshing. It features a triangle-only topology and its files can be operated on in real time. It supports the import and export of files in OBJ, PLY, and STL formats. It comes with Redo/ Undo functionality.

  10. Rocket F

    Rocket F is a really useful 3D sculpting software for beginners. Designers and concept artists use this software to create polygonal models. Developed by Samardac & IStonia Partnership Ltd, this software gives users a feel of drawing. This is a very simple program that motivates beginners to try their hands on digital sculpting.

  11. SelfCAD

    This software is a comparatively-new program in the market, but it is noted for its versatility. It comes with a lot of features that support 3D printing. It comes equipped with tools that support 3D sketching, sculpting, mesh modeling, and model slicing and repair. You do not need to download it to your computer because it is a browser-based application. However, you need a reliable internet connection to use this application efficiently. It has both paid and free versions. The free version comes equipped with major modeling features, however; you need to pay $ 15 per month in order to get access to certain features such as 2D to 3D image conversion, direct exportation, etc. This is a great option for beginners as well as users in the intermediate level. This application works well on all major browsers.

So these were our picks for aspiring 3D sculptors. If you think that you can add more to this list, we would appreciate your inputs. Do let us know if you have used any of these programs; we would be happy to hear from you. Stay in touch with us to get more updates on 3D services.