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3D modeling software for Mac in 2020: What are the best programs?

Introduction

Are you a mac user? You certainly know it, all 3D modeling software is not available on the same operating systems. That is why if you are a Mac user, you will necessarily have to pay attention to find a CAD program compatible with your operating system.

We know that finding the right 3D software can be a struggle. That is why we decided to help you with that! We made a special compilation of the best 3D modeling software for Mac. These programs will help you to create your best 3D printing projects! Let’s discover our selection right now!

Operating system: A parameter to take into account!

There are a lot of parameters to take into account while choosing your 3D modeling program, and the operating system is one of them. Some programs will exclusively run with Mac, while some others will only run with Windows.

Most of the 3D design programs are running on both Windows and Mac, but there are some exceptions. For example, neither 3Ds Max or the famous 3D modeling software SolidWorks is available for Mac users.

So, what is the best 3D modeling software to use with a Mac? Here are all of the best 3D modeling software for Mac you can use!

Free 3D CAD software for Mac

3D Slash

Do you know the game Minecraft? That’s exactly how this 3D modeling software works: with blocks. So if you’re thinking about beginning your journey in the world of 3D modeling, 3D Slash is perfect for you. If you already have some 3D modeling skills, you probably don’t want to play around with 3D Slash.

This 3D design software works with tools such as a hammer or drill. You start with a solid block and edit it by adding or subtracting cubes. 3D Slash is very easy to learn and fun, however, it is also limited in terms of tools and options.

Blender

Blender is certainly one of the best programs to use on a Mac. It is free, open-source and provides 3D modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing, motion tracking, video editing, and game creation. All of these great tools can be used to create animated movies, visual effects but also great 3D printed models.

Blender has a flexible Python controlled interface allowing you to create your own tools.

 

MagicaVoxel

Magicavoxel is a free program, and you don’t need any commercial license to download it, and it is available on both Windows and Mac. It is a simple and user-friendly interface that will allow you to use it even if you are a beginner.

Are you looking for a program to create voxel art with your Mac, you’ve just found the perfect software for you. This software works using blocks also called voxels. It really allows creating quite sophisticated designs. Voxel’s designs are particularly popular thanks to some games like Minecraft or Monument Valley.

 

Wings 3D

Free and open-source, Wings 3D is a nice way to begin with 3D modeling, thanks to all of its basic tools you won’t get overwhelmed. It has some powerful 3D modeling tools and a customizable user interface and a built-in Auto UV mapping facility to add texture to your model!

This advanced subdivision modeler is powerful but also easy-to-use, available on Windows, Mac, and Linux!

 

TinkerCAD

If you are a Mac user, you also have the possibilities to use browser-based programs, as they don’t require any specific operating system, you can access these programs from any computer. That is the case with TinkerCAD.

This software is particularly good for educational purposes as it is fun and easy to use. If you want to prepare your 3D models before 3D printing them using our online 3D printing service, don’t forget to take a look at our tutorial.

 

Sculptris

Are you looking for a free 3D sculpting software? Sculptris, a CAD program developed by Pixologic might be a good choice if you want a digital sculpting program. Sculptris’ features are easy to learn so it is easy to get started with this 3D design software.

It is quite similar to ZBrush, except that it is free. You build up levels of details step by step thanks to complete sculpting tools. It has all the software tools you need to work on graphic design and create your additive manufacturing project.

Check our Sculptris 3D tutorial!

 

Meshmixer

Mesmixer is a program developed by Autodesk, it is free for Windows and Mac. Meshmixer has a lot of amazing tools allowing drag-and-drop mesh mixing.

This software is particularly great if you want to create 3D models for 3D printing. You can use it to create branching support structures, you can also use its great thickness analysis which is particularly useful to control the wall thickness of your future parts, ensuring that they are actually 3D printable and won’t break during the printing process.

MeshMixer 3d modeling software mac

Do you need a little help to prepare your 3D models? Take a look at our Meshmixer tutorial.

FreeCAD

FreeCAD is an accessible and flexible open-source parametric 3D modeler. This program reads and writes to many file formats which makes it a convenient program to integrate into your workflow. From product design to mechanical engineering, FreeCAD will help you to create your best 3D projects. It can really suit all CAD users using Mac!

If you are looking for the best free 3D program, check out our last blog post we made a top of the best free 3D CAD software!

freecad 3d modeling software mac

Premium CAD software for Mac

SketchUp

There are different versions available of this software: SketchUp Free or SketchUp Pro. Like a lot of other programs, SketchUp also has an educational license called SketchUp for schools.

Using SketchUp Pro, you will access a very complete version of this software. You will be able to create from scratch highly-detailed models for 3D printing, but also for visualization. This program is well-used in the architecture or automobile sector, for example.

While using SketchUp you can also find already made 3D models in 3D Warehouse, the world’s biggest library of free 3D models!

sketchup 3d modeling software mac

Maya

Animation, rendering, simulation, Maya is a really complete 3D program with really advanced features, used in the film industry, for example. It has an intuitive sculpting toolset, it is possible to sculpt virtual 3D surfaces like you sculpt real 3D objects from clay or other modeling materials.

It is also making symmetrical modeling much easier. Maya is an advanced software and will enable you to create complex designs.

AutoCAD

Developed by Autodesk, AutoCAD is also one of the best 3D modeling software you will find on the market. This computer-aided design software is perfect for any professional, from engineers to architects. It is allowing to make drafts, edit 2D projects and 3D models for 3D printing.

AutoCAD is a perfect program to create realistic 3D models, using solid, surface and mesh modeling tools!

Modo

Use the direct modeling tools of Modo to create 3D printing projects. Modo has integrated sculpting and retopology functionality. It is a great software if you need to design characters. Modo has a flexible node-based rigging system that will make it easy for you to create, edit, manage and reuse complex character rigs.

Fusion360

We talked about this powerful software in our recent battle of software. This software offers cloud storage, which is really convenient while working on projects with a whole team: everyone can access the same files. This cloud-based system is a great asset for data management. It will ease the whole team’s daily work and improve collaboration.

This CAD program has advanced simulation, optimization and analysis tools. Check out our tutorial to prepare your 3D model for 3D printing using Fusion 360.

Rhino

Rhino is also one of the best 3D modeling software available. You can purchase a Mac version of this program, but there are a few functionalities available with the Windows version that you will not get as a Mac user: work sessions and animation tools, as an example.

All other CAD software features are available. Indeed, it provides mesh and analysis tools. Using Rhino, you can create, edit, render and translate NURBS curves, surfaces, and solids, point clouds, and polygon meshes.

3d modeling software mac rhino

Cheetah 3D

Cheetah 3D is a software specially built for Mac. It is easy to learn, powerful and allowing to create nice 3D artworks thanks to a full set of polygons, subdivision surfaces, and spline modeling tools.

If you are a new CAD user, you will be able to start 3D modeling quite easily using this software!

 

Cinema 4D

Easy to use, Cinema 4D is a powerful 3D modeling software with a user-friendly interface. Thanks to its wide range of CAD tools, you will be able to create great animations and even start amazing 3D printing projects. It is the perfect program if you are willing to achieve a complex design. There are 4 different versions for this software: Studio, Broadcast, Visualize and Prime. There is necessarily a version that will fit your project!

OnShape

Are you looking for cloud-based software? Here is OnShape, a program able to run on any machine through a web browser.

This parametric modeling software can help you with multi-part design. This program really enables to collaborate thanks to real-time sharing and commenting. It can be a real asset for your team if you are working on a 3D project with other people.

Mudbox

Mudbox is a 3D sculpting software working in a similar way as traditional clay sculpting does. In 3D modeling, it is called ‘’progressive detailing’’. It allows you to start with a generated template and work the details up. To do so, you will use brushes.

This 3D modeling software for Mac is user-friendly and has an easy learning curve. There are plenty of advanced options, which means Mudbox is still used for professional applications. If you’re interested in 3D printing, keep in mind that Mudbox does not export STL files, therefore you will need another software to convert your file.

Poser

This 3D modeling software for Mac is especially interesting if you want to design characters for animations and video games. It is a professional-grade but has an easy to learn character creation tool.

It provides you with options to work on complex, detailed characters. It is possible to 3D model people and animals, additionally, you can choose characters and objects from the library. Poser had a good rendering engine which will result in photorealistic images and 3D animations.

Your 3D characters will have automatic rigging options that allow you to work on 3D animations. The results should be pretty realistic. Poser is a great 3D modeling software for advanced users focused on details and quick outcomes.

ZBrush

Zbrush works in a similar way to Mudbox. You start with a pre-loaded shape and add details. The difference is mainly in workflow and some tools. ZBrush, as the name suggests, also uses brushes, however, it gives you more options.

This 3D modeling software for Mac gives you a lot of specialized and customized brushes. You start with the biggest one to define limbs of your character, then with smaller brushes you design muscles, fingers etc, and lastly move on to real details like wrinkles, eyebrows, and others. 

Learning ZBrush is not so easy, but once you get a hold of the tools, you will discover what amazing, photorealistic renders you get with this 3D modeling software for Mac. Another benefit of this 3D program is a 3D printing plug-in which allows you to 3D print in full color.

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