This pandemic has generated all-time high demand for 3D artists, animators, and VFX artists on popular streaming services as there has been uncertainty over how much actual filming can take place.
Quite obviously, this is an appropriate time to try out the best 3D digital art software no matter how skilled you are. Gone are times when one had to get their hands on expensive software on top of a specific OS demanding a high-end hardware configuration.
Most computers these days are coming with enough graphic performance to handle complex designs that artists envision. Unlike earlier times, there is now quite a lot of free, inexpensive add ons to assist in designing complex shapes like the interior of a building promptly and efficiently.
We tried our best to handpick the top 3D digital art software among the overwhelming number of options flooded all over the internet.
Clip Studio Paint
Clip studio paint is one of the famous 3D digital art paint software nowadays. The software is used by many people whether you are a professional or a beginner. This software is friendly to everyone. It is famous for making Manga Art, illustration Art, Comic, Animation, and many other things.
The software has only two versions clip studio paint ex and pro. While comparing clip studio paint ex vs pro the difference we found that clip studio ex is good for animation.
Another best part of this software is budget-friendly software however to get more discounts you can apply a clip studio paint coupon code while purchasing you will get upto 50% Off.
Corel Painter is another best 3D digital art software used by many professionals. Many filmmakers use this software for their video editing and sound effects. The software has many advanced features also it provides you great customer support. While comparing Corel painter vs clip studio paint we found that Corel painter has a wide range of brush, effects, and features options.
You can give a shot to this software for making your digital art, videos, and many other things. The software is a little bit costly hence it has so many features and facilities it worth the value.
One of the largely popular names in the industry and the best 3d digital art software. Maya has been a one-stop option for brands like Pixar, ILM, DNEG, Framestore.
Still, for those of you who didn’t know, Maya is the industry standard CG tool that offers a vast range of tools and features, that so far made a benchmark. Maya introduced hair and fur rendering in animation.
It also in its latest release, included Bifrost procedural effects. This software can do modeling, texturing, lighting. It can also render particles, hair, fluid simulation.
Pricing Of Autodesk Maya
A power-packed option that comes at a hefty price if you opt for the paid version. The paid version costs $1,620 a year.
There is one free trial version that you can use for 30 days. Beginners can take this opportunity to learn, while experienced can sharpen their skills using the free version. A point to note is that you cannot publish the work commercially that you completed during the trial period.
To have a glimpse of the work done on Maya, check Mind Flayer from Stranger Things season 2, Pixar animated films, etc.
Pros And Cons Of Autodesk Maya
- A great range of tools and features
- Procedural effects, Arnold rendering.
- Too expensive
- demands powerful configuration.
ZBrush offers both digital sculpting and painting program features. It is a powerful software offering elegant UI, advanced tools for modern-day artists, intuitive workflow, freedom of sketching 2D and 3D concepts, and everything to take your work to completion.
Renders are all realistic given the presence of lighting and atmospheric effects embedded in the software. ZBrush is perfectly suitable for the creation of organic forms. Scheduled updates keep improving all hard-surface abilities.
Readers should note that the working interface and operations are initially hard to learn so users’ patience is required to help themselves become good at it. Features like creating UV maps, painting textures can stir our season artists to action.
They can also craft entire figures with good clothing and stuff with the help of ZBrush. It also offers 3D printing tools enabling artists to 3D print action figures, trendy toys. You can use this best 3D digital art software for creating a great piece of art.
Another feature that artists love about ZBrush is the non-linear production path allowing rollback, roll forward features that make artists afford occasional mistakes, change of thinking, design improvising.
Pricing Structure Of ZBrush
Now about the downsides, this software is quite expensive. The learning curve is quite steep. The UI needs a graphics tablet to offer the best results so this can be a trade-off.
Now about the price, this software costs $895 for a perpetual license and if the monthly subscription is preferred, it will cost $39.95 per month.
Pros And Cons Of ZBrush
1. Amazing rendering
2. Plugins have a wide range
3. Sculpting toolset is great
4. It can handle millions of polygons
2. Subscription only
3. Not easy to learn
Autodesk 3DS Max:
Another software from Autodesk is Autodesk 3DS Max. Before jumping into the description of this software, you should note that this software is only for Windows users, though back in 1988, its original version could run under DOS. Also, note that this one is more like 3D modeling software.
Autodesk 3DS Max is one of the best options for the Windows operating system. 3DS Max is comparatively easy to learn than Maya. This one is widely preferred for TV, feature films, games, product visualization, etc.
Like Maya, 3DS Max is also packed with heavy features and tools especially for 3D modeling. It brings along fluid simulations, character animation, and rigging, hair and fur textures.
It has a huge library of various modifiers that makes the job easy for newbies and intermediate artists. There are professional toolsets, game assets, standard features that comprise skeleton and inverse motions.
There is the freedom to add external add ons or plugins to get the best rendering if the user is not content with the output. Plugins are both free and paid. Paid ones are mostly the better ones.
Pricing Of Autodesk 3DS Maya
Being a 3D modeling software, 3DS Max allows conventional polygon construction, patch surfaces, Non-Uniform Rational Basis Splines, or NURBS making it a great tool altogether.
There are downsides as well. Like when you use plenty of plugins, they don’t always function as expected, causing stress to the PC and making the whole program unstable on some occasions.
About the pricing, this one comes both in a free trial as well as the paid version. The free version lasts for 30 days. The paid version is more popular among new users as the pricing is not as aggressive as Maya. The paid version charges $1700 per year or $215 per month subscription.
Pros And Cons Of Autodesk 3DS Maya
1. Good for game makers
2. Multifaceted modeler
3. Great selection of plugins
1. Stability issues with plugins sometimes
2. Not very pocket-friendly
This one is free-to-use, open-source software, and great 3D digital art software. Open source means that anyone is welcome to contribute to its code to make it better. Blender has been growing for a long time by now which is why the team backing it managed to house all sorts of experts like artists, teachers, and enthusiasts who came on board from time to time.
All of them with their contribution made Blender what this is today. Don’t get any wrong ideas for its free use feature as Blender offers highly impressive 3D modeling, sculpting tools, great image production, simulation, rendering, even 2D elements that are included in its 2D animation pipeline.
Coming to pipelining aspect of this software, unlike other paid tools which focus primarily on modeling and rendering, the entire pipeline is where Blender put its focus. From modeling, rigging, rendering, compositing, motion tracking to video editing, Blender does a quite commendable job.
If you are working in a team, Blender can be best suited to your needs as the pipeline aspect allows real-time rendering using the EEVEE engine to carry out both real-time and offline processing work simultaneously.
Blender can be the best viable alternative to the paid software programs. Beginners and enthusiasts who always got fascinated by digital art can now use this software as there is no excuse regarding price.
If asked about the downsides, Blender doesn’t support NURBS, so watch out before deciding to shift all your work under its roof, if you have been using this feature in your work so far.
Pros And Cons Of Blender
1. Free to use even for commercial use, and this fact is never going to change
2. Full pipeline model of operation
3. Community is active and supportive
1. NURBS is not supported
Houdini Apprentice and Houdini
First, we will talk about Houdini Apprentice. Why? Because it’s free. Houdini Apprentice is one of the top 3D digital art software free versions of the award-winning Houdini FX software program. Houdini is known for its extensive use in the media industry for film, entertainment, visualization, broadcasting animation.
Apprentice nomenclature quite tells the story. Houdini Apprentice is free as it is restricted to only learning purposes and personal projects. You can’t publish your work on commercial platforms. Therefore, this extends a great opportunity for learners and hobbyists.
You won’t believe it if I tell you that Houdini Apprentice gives you access to all the features of the full version. But it is true. There is no catch except the one we mentioned above regarding its limited publishing aspect.
Pricing Of Houdini Apprentice And Houdini
Coming to the full version that cost differently based on the three variants it offers. The most expensive one, Houdini FX is for $4,495 a year. There is a Core variant that is worth $1,995 per year and lastly the Indie variant that is for $269 per year. The pricing model is both perpetual and rental.
Let’s see the features that are here. Houdini offers more flexibility of controls than Maya. It uses node-based procedural rendering and algorithms for animation. What is a node-based procedural approach?
Well, it is a unique approach that delivers unprecedented control, power to the user and it certainly is not liked by many. Houdini also consists of traditional tools that help users directly interact with polygons on screen, for those who prefer the traditional methods.
Downsides include the difficulty to get to grips with the workflow of it, just like Maya. But as it has a free version as a workaround, and that too with no time restriction, that part is not much of a trade-off.
Conclusion For 5 Best Digital Art Software
So, this is our list of the top best 3D digital art software programs. We hope we catered to your needs concerning the selection of the right software among the tsunami of options.
We curated both paid and free software and if you have qualms about why the prices are high, we want to recall that famous quote “If you are good at something, never do it for free”.
So now you know why you should invest in them if you are genuinely into 3D art. Otherwise, our recommended free ones from the list will serve you just right if you are just starting your incredible journey with a little crunch in your pocket. We look forward to witnessing your big-time success.