Graphic designs—in the form of illustrations, animation, texts, or photos—have brilliant uses. If you’re a graphic designer, you can create one to design a website or create an advertisement. That’s why virtual artists who can produce high-quality 3D designs are ahead of their time. And most agencies and companies choose them to drive businesses digitally. 

If you’re a new or seasoned graphic artist who wants to explore the different areas of visual art, here are the best 3D modeling software to get you started. 

Autodesk Maya

  • Price: $795 for a perpetual license; $50 to $245 a month (rent or subscription)
  • OS: Windows 7 and above, Apple macOS 10.11.x and above, Linux Red Hat Enterprise and most versions of Linux 7

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Maya is arguably the best 3D modeling software perfect for all Windows, macOS, and Linux users. This application is not just for 3D modeling; it’s also perfect for simulation, rendering, and compositing. In short, Maya is an all-in-one production platform that can satisfy the various needs of graphic designers, animators, and all types of visual artists. If you’re thinking of collaborating with other talented creative professionals in, chances are they’ve heard of Maya. 

Autodesk AutoCAD

  • Price: $1,610.00/year
  • OS: Windows 7 and higher (64-bit only); Apple® macOS® Mojave v10.14.0 or later

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AutoCAD is another revolutionary software developed and marketed by Autodesk. It was first released in 1982. And up until now,

AutoCAD remains as one of the top options for 3D modeling because of its versatility and ease-of-use. In fact, most universities offering courses in graphic design and computer animation make use of AutoCAD for training, examinations, and applications. 

AutoCAD can help you draft and manipulate 2D geometry and 3D models; customize apps and APIs; and attach texts, dimensions, and forms to your original drawings. If you have other complicated projects in mind, you can use AutoCAD’s specialized toolsets. 

Lightwave 3D 2019.1

  • Price: $995 (USD plus TAX/VAT where applicable)
  • OS: 64-bit: Windows 7 through Windows 10 64-bit Edition; Minimum Sierra, 10.12 or better

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freelance_sell_sidelinesIf you love designing or drafting 3D fantasy and sci-fi graphics, Lightwave 3D is the best 3D modeling software for you. It’s a 

specialized application for graphic designers with different roles and needs. As a modeler, you can use Lightwave 3D for building assets. As a layout artist, you can use it for texturing, lighting, animation, and rendering. If you want to be the jack of all trades in the design industry, then you can use this software as a motion graphics or animator.

Houdini FX

  • Price: $4,495 USD a month; $2,495 USD a month for annual upgrade
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 and above; 64-bit Intel-based Mac with OSX 10.11 and higher

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Houdini FX is a 3D animation software developed from the ground up by SideFX. Houdini FX is one of the greatest rivals of Autodesk Maya, but one of its main selling points is its collaborative platform and procedural nature. All drafts and actions you make at Houdini are stored in a node, so you can tweak each node to change the outcome of your designs in one snap. On top of this, Houdini FX offers some of the best artist-friendly tools, visual effects, and asset creation tools. 


  • Price: Basic – Free; Premium – € 9,90/month
  • OS: 32-bit and 64-bit Windows, 64-bit macOS, 32-bit and 64-bit Linux




Blender is a vast, open-source 3D modeling software for animators and graphic designers. You can use this software if you want to make visual effects, virtual sculptures, photorealistic renders, 3D printed models, story art, and interactive applications for free. If you’re a seasoned virtual artist, you can create the most realistic images on Blender using the premium version and fool people that it’s an actual photograph.