3D Learning Hub

Discover the top 10 free 3D software for students in 2024


3D modeling software is widely used in many schools. From engineering prototypes, blueprints for architecture, to product visualizations, students across different educational fields use 3D technologies. However, many programs are not cheap, but essential for your future career. There are many options available and today, we will talk about the best 3D modeling software with educational licenses! Which one of these free 3D software for students do you pick?

Choose the right 3D software

It is important to understand what type of software do you need. Is it 3D modeling software or CAD? A lot depends on your major. If you need technical drawings for engineering purposes, prototyping, architectural models Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software might be a better choice.

However, if you need photorealistic visualizations or to design video games, 3D modeling software probably will suit you more. Then you have to pay attention to rendering engines, texturing, or rigging options.

If you’re completely new to 3D modeling, you could start with the easiest software to get a grip of some basics.

3D modeling software

1. Autodesk Maya

Maya is a very powerful 3D modeling software, especially for 3D animations and video games. Thanks to a wide range of rigging and texturing options, realistic simulations, Maya is very popular in many industries. Maya has intuitive tools to help you bring realistic and complex 3D scenes to life. 

System: Windows,  Mac, and Linux

2. 3Ds Max

This 3D modeling software is full of tools for 3D visualizations, animations, motion graphics, and films. It is great for particle animation, perspective matching, and crowd generation. You can also use 3Ds Max to create high-end 3D models for virtual reality.

System: Windows

Check out our battle of software: Maya vs 3Ds Max

3. Mudbox

Mudbox stands out for its 3D painting and 3D sculpting tools. This 3D modeling software will provide you with detailed texturing options and 3D geometry. It is mainly used to design characters and scenes, which can be exported to other programs.

System: Windows, MacOS, Linux

4. Cinema 4D

A big advantage of Cinema 4D is its learning curve. This 3D modeling software is well-known for its user-friendly UI and ease of use. It offers different modeling options, rendering tools, including 3D painting for hyper-realistic renders. With Cinema 4D, you will learn how to create professional 3D animations.

System: Windows, MacOS

CAD software

5. Inventor

Inventor has features for freeform, direct, parametric, and rule-based mechanical design. It will help you to build accurate 3D models, product simulations, and documentation. Build-in collabs allow for your colleagues to work simultaneously, no matter what CAD software they use. Inventor also has tools for automated processes and customizability tools.

System: Windows

6. AutoCAD

This CAD software is widely used by architects, engineers, and construction professionals in need of highly accurate and precise 3D models. AutoCAD will provide engineering students with specialized toolsets that allow planning various components such as electrical and piping installations in building, or intelligent parts for mechanical engineering.

System: Windows

7. Alias

Alias is a hybrid software allowing creating complex 3D models from sketches, concept modeling, 3D visualizations, and modeling. It is mainly used for product design and it’s quite popular for automotive design.

System: Windows, MacOS

8. Autodesk Fusion 360

Fusion 360 integrates CAD, CAM and CAE software making it a very powerful candidate to enhance your education. It brings together design, manufacturing, and engineering. With Fusion 360 you will be able to produce highly detailed, complex and precise 3D models. It will provide you with simulation, prototyping, and 3D modeling tools, documentation, manufacturing toolpaths. It can also be used for 3D printing.

System: Windows, MacOS

3D printing software

9. Slicer for Fusion 360

This software will improve your 3D printing work. It can be used individually or as an add-on for Fusion 360. As the name suggests, it slices the 3D model into 2D layers. It produces 3D instructions, which you can edit to improve the 3D printing process and you can also edit the slicing methods to get the best 3D printing results.

System: Windows

10. Monolith

This 3D printing software is specialized in multimaterial Additive Manufacturing. It offers many different 3D modeling tools, mesh exporting, topology optimization, and rasterization options such as bit map tracing and mappings. But most importantly, you can send your 3D models for 3D printing with multiple materials. Thanks to Monolith, your 3D model will carry information about colors, density, material properties, and others.

System: Windows

Choose your free 3D software now!

As you see there are plenty of choices when it comes to 3D modeling software with free education licenses. From photorealistic 3D visualizations, video game design to highly complex mechanical tools and manufacturing simulations, 3D technologies offer you the ultimate solutions for your needs. Which 3D software do you pick?

If you’re a student with a 3D printing project, we can also help! You don’t need to own a 3D printer to produce high-quality prototypes and 3D printed parts. With an online 3D printing service like Sculpteo, you can cost-effectively produce your projects thanks to a student discount. Contact our sales department for your promotional code!

Don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter for the latest 3D printing news!

Get the latest 3D printing news delivered right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to hear about the latest 3D printing technologies, applications, materials, and software.