Best 3D Modeling Software for Mac in 2022: A Complete Guide

Best Software for 3D Modeling on Mac in 2022

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Stefan Vaskevich
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CEO & Founder Cyberfox

CAD (computer-aided design) is a required technology developed for sectors where the production of technical volumetric drawings is necessary. Dedicated software can thus produce mechanical calculations and create 2D and 3D models of the projects. 

Whether exploring new design ideas or visualizing concepts closer to their final rendering, CAD tools help architects, designers and engineers to transition from manual writing to an automated creation process. 

So, nowadays there are a lot of programs that can do it and this article is aimed to help you understand what kinds of software there are in the area, specifically compatible with MacOS. 
If you are a Mac user interested in or working with 3D, this article will be very useful for you. 

What is 3D modeling? 

3D modeling is the step in three-dimensional computer graphics that consists of creating, in 3D modeling software, a three-dimensional object, by adding, subtracting and modifying its constituents.

Basically, 3D modeling allows you to create or reproduce an object as a 3D image.

3D modeling is used in many sectors, including virtual reality, video games, 3D printing, marketing, images for television and cinema, scientific and medical imaging, computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM).

What to do if you need 3D modeling services 

You should keep a few things in mind if you’re thinking about 3D modeling services. First of all, to have a 3D object made up, you’ll need to take many pictures from different angles. 

Then you will have to choose the right app or program and upload the pictures to the program. This can be done on your computer or smartphone. Once the pictures are uploaded, the program will stitch them together to create a 3D model. 

The quality of your 3D object always depends on the quality of the images you take, but if you see that you need to change them or make an animation out of your project, you will need to have some additional skills and special knowledge for that.  

In this case you can entrust this work to CyberFox. We have a team of experts who are experienced in using the latest technologies and software to provide high-quality 3D modeling services. Contact us today to learn more about our 3D services and how we can help you achieve your goals.

Creating a 3D model with CyberFox

CyberFox makes 3D scans based on drawings, sketches, and photographs. We help implement any project, from modeling parts for production to creating an architectural model. Use the callback order service, and we will tell you the deadline for completing the order and the cost of 3D scan processing.

Punctuality

We give you a realistic assessment of the work completion time. You always get the job right on time.

Flexibility

Based on your project, we will suggest how to achieve the best result. Just send the materials you have.

Knowledge

Our experience and knowledge allow us to offer the best solutions to show your ideas. If you have questions, just ask.

Speed

We perfectly understand when you need visualizations urgently. We work fast.

Experience

We share our expert opinion on how best to present your project because we care.

Saving time

You do not need to understand the software or 3D imaging technology. Everything is available at CyberFox.

Top 7 free 3D modeling software for Mac 

Let’s have a look at 7 top software programs with a free license that can be used for this purpose on Mac. 

1. Blender

Blender is an open source software for creating 3D objects. You will be able to benefit from advanced functions such as UV unwrapping, 3D sculpting, rigging, as well as armature and non-linear editing. It really has a very extensive and dynamic network of users and developers. 

Pros:

  • A wide range of tools is at your disposal to create, model, and animate your 3D images. 
  • Ability to create small 3D animations. 
  • The available effects allow users to have an ultra-realistic result.
  • A huge community of users: there is access on the internet to many tutorials and resource sites created by fans of the software.
  • The conversion of formats is very efficient, given the large amount of plug-ins developed in Python.

Cons:

  • Though a lot of sources on the internet say it’s easy to study, in reality it is certainly slightly complicated to take in hand for a beginner.
  • Note that the interface is quite unusual, there are many shortcuts and the technical nature of 3D modeling will make it difficult to handle. 

But once mastered, there is no doubt that the power and richness of Blender will satisfy you.

2. Tinker CAD

AutoDesk TinkerCAD is a CAD (computer-aided design) service published by AutoDesk, to which we owe the well-known 3D design software AutoCAD, and the no less well-known drawing software SketchBook.

With TinkerCAD, AutoDesk offers an educational version intended for both schoolchildren and people wishing to understand the use of 3D design software. 

Pros:

  • AutoDesk TinkerCAD is a free online service, so it can be used by anyone, as long as they have an internet connection. 
  • Based on the previous point, whatever the capabilities of your computer and its operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux) you can get started in AutoDesk TinkerCAD. An iPad version can also be downloaded.
  • You as a user have access to tutorials and short courses that guide you in the design of 3D models, but also the creation of electronic circuits (with test included) and the design of computer programs for 3D creation.

Cons:

  • A narrow range of effects due to the online feature. 
  • Offering online service only, this is also “cons”, because you can’t use it while offline.

3. Meshmixer

Meshmixer is another software belonging to the lineage of Autodesk. The learning curve is almost negligible and the user interface is very responsive. It excels in designing 3D meshes (the skeleton of 3D designs). You can check their website to know the different use cases of this 3D drawing program.

Pros:

  • MeshMixer offers incredible flexibility for working with animations, texture design, digging, and more.
  • It works well with improving designs and improves their quality. 
  • MeshMixer requires low system requirements to run. 
  • Interface is simple enough for total beginners.

Cons:

  • Unlike most of the software on this list, this free 3D modeling software is used on pre-designed projects, so you can’t use it to model an object from scratch. 

4. 3D Slash

3D Slash is a free online 3D modeling application. 3D Slash has been updated with new features such as Virtual Reality. 

You can only save one project at a time, and if you want more advanced features, you’ll have to pay $2 per month.

Pros:

  • Even beginners with no prior experience can start right away and progress as their experience grows.
  • It can also be used for scale modeling, stand design, digital entertainment, and even educational purposes.
  • 3D Slash remains a fun and easy to use program. 
  • It’s perfect for students or teachers using 3D printing in the classroom, or just for adults who want to have fun.

Cons:

  • The free version of 3D Slash comes with several limitations. Users can only use eight colors, but that doesn’t matter for monochrome materials.
  • Although the free web version has many features, its main flaw is the inability to save your work.

5. MagicaVoxel

This small software is an open-source and free voxel editor with its own integrated interactive rendering engine. 

Pros:

  • It allows you to create, paint and move your voxels in your block editor using a lot of different functions.
  • The modeling tool is simplistic because of its resemblance to a Minecraft block editor.

Cons:

  • It has a wide range of effects, so it takes some time to adapt to.

6. FreeCAD

FreeCAD is another of the best open-source 3D modeling software, which is still in the development phase. However, the features it currently has are enough to develop amazing designs and 3D models. The main area where FreeCAD dominates its competitors is its ability to easily create elaborate and complex shapes. If you’re familiar with object-oriented programming, FreeCAD has a lot in common with it. It is a visual representation of objects and their attributes and how these objects interact with other objects. This all might sound a bit technical, but it takes some getting used to.

Pros:

  • Developers always keep on improving the program, removing bags and correcting weaknesses.
  • There is an extremely wide range of opportunities, such as a long list of effects and shapes for professionals.
  • Mainly oriented towards mechanical engineering logics
  • Support of different formats included (STEP, IGES, OBJ, DXF, SVG, STL, DAE, IFC, OFF, Fcstd file format etc)

Cons:

  • It’s not an easy modeling software for beginners to understand.

7. Sculptris

As you can see on the list, each of these 3D software has advanced features, which makes them better than others in certain areas of expertise. Sculptris, as its name suggests, is perfect for developing digital sculptures. It is easy to learn and use. After a few minutes of tutorial and practice, you can start designing faces and characters.

Pros:

  • It’s quite easy to learn, so beginners are welcomed to have a try.
  • Though it is focused on a special feature like sculpturing, it still has some basic things for modeling. 

Cons:

  • More of a narrow specialized product: sculpting procedure.

Top 10 premium 3D modeling software for Mac 

And now let’s get down to 10 top software programs with a paid license that can be used for 3D modeling on Mac. 

1. AutoCAD

AutoCAD, one of the most widely used 3D modeling software in institutions and businesses, is a versatile and powerful software tool for creating building plans and architectural designs. 

With its advanced tools and efficient rendering algorithms, AutoCAD is one the best ones. AutoCAD skills are considered a prerequisite for many civil engineers applying to construction and architectural firms.

Pros:

  • AutoCAD has a plethora of online tutorials and instructions, making it the favorite software for students. 
  • Because of its intuitive interface, it guarantees flawless user experience.

Cons:

  • AutoCAD is hard for beginners and takes time to learn.

2. SketchUp

As the name suggests, this popular 3D modeling program is one of the most versatile free software on the Internet, compatible with almost all operating systems (ideal for Windows and Mac users, and even Chromebook users). The paid versions (shop, pro and studio), which increase the functionality of the accompanying toolkit, start with $299 /yr.

Pros:

  • Users state it is simple to understand and easy to use. 
  • SketchUp is perfect for interior designers and home decorators. 
  • This 3D software avoids the shenanigans of rigging and UV maps, which is great if you’re just focused on getting your work done quickly and correctly.

Cons:

  • This program is mostly aimed at beginners, so professionals will want to have more.

3. Modo

Modo, developed by Foundry, is a versatile and state-of-the-art 3D modeling program that makes texturing and rendering easy. Modo is developed around the idea that speed and efficiency are paramount when creating 3D models. That’s why Foundry has gone to great lengths to reduce technical issues and hurdles as much as possible. Modo starts with $14.99 / month.

Pros:

  • It is very easy to learn, according to what users say about the program.
  • Modo is excellent for creating mid-level designs

Cons:

  • Working with large projects gets tricky.
  • According to the reviews, the toolkit inside of Modo needs a bit of work if it wants to reach the level of the giants in the 3D modeling software industry.

4. Maya

Autodesk Maya is a robust and versatile 3D modeling program that offers a 30-day free trial (see free section). If you are looking for 3D modeling software for beginners, Autodesk Maya offers a great opportunity to work on a real professional platform. It also has a student license for learners and enthusiasts who are just beginning to dabble in the world of 3D design.

Pros:

  • The program is called one of the best professional programs, but it still isn’t very hard for beginners. 
  • Offer of a trial period
  • There is a variety of opportunities inside of the program

Cons:

  • You cannot commercially publish the projects you create during the trial period, but you can hone your skills.
  • Quite expensive ($225/paid monthly or over $1000 annually).

5. Fusion360

The software requires a high quality processor and great features. You can get great performance from a laptop that has excellent graphics and excellent battery life. 

Pros:

  • It has a lot of features and tools, so it’s a great choice for professionals.

Cons:

  • Although Fusion 360 does not require a graphics card, it will probably need a good processor to run smoothly.
  • Although Fusion 360 works best on the latest version of macOS, it may not be compatible with older versions. 

6. ZBrush

ZBrush appears first in the list of paid 3D modeling software solely because of its ability to create stunning quality 3D designs that are perfect for 3D printing. Going down the list, you’ll find plenty of software that matches or beats ZBrush in terms of tools and ease of use; however, the fact mentioned above makes it a prevailing choice as a 3D artist software, for those who want to do 3D printing and have their designs made in high quality materials. It’s a little more expensive (annual subscription is $39.95 per month) and takes more time to learn, but if the result is good, it’s worth the money and effort. 

Pros:

  • It’s created to be very useful and comfortable for 3D printing.
  • There are a lot of functions and features, made mostly for professionals.

Cons:

  • The program can be really quite hard for the beginners, and takes a long time to figure it out.

7. Rhino (Rhinoceros 3D)

Strength and robustness emanate from the name of this 3D graphics software, which is also very versatile when it comes to operating systems and processor specifications. 

Pros:

  • Rhinoceros focuses on creating barrier-free design through its easy-to-learn tools and add-ons. 
  • Rendering is smooth and does not slow down the system, which is perfect for complex animations and morphing 3D designs. 
  • It comes with a 90-day trial version after which you have to pay a few dollars to continue using the software. 
  • Rhino is a really multifunctional product, made for professionals.

Cons:

  • Users say that the price is a little high (purchasing an old version of the product costs €595, the updated one costs €995), but also they say it’s worth this money.

8. OnShape

OnShape offers a central workspace where different team members can collaborate to create stunning 3D models. 

Pros:

  • Professionals and corporate employees prefer to use OnShape for its fantastic project management capabilities.
  • OnShape is a 3D modeling software that works on a cloud-based SaaS model.
  • It has a central repository that can have branches, very similar to programming repositories like Github.

Cons:

  • A free version doesn’t offer a lot of features.
  • Speaking of the budget, some say it’s hard on it, because it costs $1,500 per user, per year, with all the updates. 

9. Poser

Poser focuses on designing human faces and characters using algorithms that allow rapid design by modifying a “base figure”. Not only can you create human characters, but you can also design backgrounds by importing huge materials. A Poser is a standalone modeling tool that is enough to meet all your requirements from A to Z. 

Pros:

  • It’s very natural and intuitive to use
  • Like the other software on this list, you can work with cr2, pz2, and obj formats with ease. 
  • The program has basic tools for different purposes, though aimed at faces, of course. 

Cons:

  • It is focused on a narrow specialization.

10. Mudbox

Mudbox is another fantastic product from Autodesk. It is, however, a great complementary tool to learn. Mudbox requires 4 GB of RAM and works smoothly with 8 GB of RAM. Use Mudbox as a complementary tool to other 3D modeling software, and you won’t regret it.

Pros:

  • It is simple to use and is great for 3D editing and sculpting. 

Cons:

  • Although it has a lot of tools inside, to add animations and other features, you will need additional software.
  • It is a heavy software, so you will need to have appropriate device characteristics.

Conclusion

Choosing the right 3D modeling software is a tough decision, especially when all of them have mostly similar basic features. 3D modeling is an art, which requires a very creative approach from the master. In addition to this, a strong technical mind and skills are also required. 

Once you get the hang of it, you can judge for yourself and pick the software that’s compatible with your work style, meets all your requirements, and most importantly, delivers the best results.

But if you will have some trouble learning it yourself, the CyberFox team will help you and it is an excellent option for professional-grade sculpting software with many features. 

So whatever your needs, there’s sure to be a 3D sculpting software program that’s right for you. And if you’re still unsure which one to choose, our team at CyberFox can help you make the decision. Contact us today to learn more about our 3D modeling services.

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FAQ
Yes, 3D modeling and rendering and even preparation for the 3D printing is possible on a MAC computer. There are some limitations in terms of what you can do with this computer. Fortunately, the majority of rendering software like Maya, Nuke, Houdini, etc., are compatible with MAC OS.
Apple is taking an interest in 3D in some way by joining the development fund for Blender, which offers a 3D modeling and animation and design application on the Mac.
The easiest software programs are TinkerCAD, 3D Slash, and SketchUp.
The best 3D modeling programs for creating are Autodesk Maya, Blender and Rhino.
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