Our picks for the best 3D design software on the market

Ultimately, 3D design is a great hobby and can, if you’re good enough, turn out to be quite a lucrative career choice. Take your time to learn it, enjoy the ride and practice, practice, practice.

It is also an essential part of many modern engineering projects.

What is the best free 3D design software?

While we’ve included some great 3D design software above, there are others that are widely considered to be the best on the market. According to sources like formatsome of the most successful programs include, but are not limited to:

  • Autodesk Maya
  • Autodesk Mudbox
  • Houdini
  • 4D cinema
  • Fashion
  • Autodesk 3Ds Max
  • ZBrush
  • Rhinoceros

Please note that some of them are more for 3D artists than engineers. However, they are all incredibly capable 3D design programs.

If you need a more engineering-oriented 3D design/simulation program, there’s another one we need to discuss – Ansys’ discovery.

What is Ansys Discovery?

Discovery, according to Ansysis “the first simulation-based design tool to combine instant physical simulation, proven Ansys high-fidelity simulation, and interactive geometric modeling into a single user experience.”


By using Discovery early in the product design process, you’ll see a noticeable boost in engineering productivity, drive innovation, and increase your product’s overall performance. The program allows you to answer important design questions as they arise, without waiting days or weeks, which is usually the case when using more traditional 3D simulation methods.

For example, Ansys Discovery allows you to:

  • Quickly prepare designs for simulation or modify designs.
  • Investigate and evaluate design variations in real time with its interactive simulation capabilities.
  • Refine your designs in high fidelity and expose them to various additional conditions.

Such capability helps organizations not only improve their productivity, but also helps improve a project’s return on investment (ROI) by:

  • Labor costs for design engineers are reduced and there is less need for physical prototyping.
  • Testing of all prepared physical prototypes is greatly reduced.
  • The impacts of engineering change orders are reduced and experimentation with alternatives or design concepts is much more efficient.

These are the reasons why choosing programs like Discovery will pay off dramatically throughout the life of a new product. For professionals (including engineers), Discovery will prove to be an invaluable tool.

What makes the Ansys Discovery different from the rest?

We’ve already covered some of the big moments from Ansys’ discovery above, but there are other tangible advantages over similar products. According to Ansys, these include, but are not limited to: