6 best software to create 3D characters on PC & Mac

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
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  • You can use character creation software to digitalize your awesome creations and bring them to life.
  •  Looking for a great 3D human model maker? Our thorough selection cannot disappoint you.
  • Add realistic physics to your models with programs such as Adobe Focus and others mentioned below.
  • You can even learn 3D modeling as a hobby with our list of the best free character creator software.
best 3d modeling software
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From games to animated clips or movies, animated characters are everywhere. The animation is created for kids and adults alike, so you need the best 3d character creator.

Designers need to be super skilled in 3D designing to be able to use 3D modeling software, along with the right budget and required skills.

Video games and animation are serious business these days, worldwide. 3D design software programs are the best tools to create photorealistic graphics.

From beginners trying to up their 3D skills to professionals trying to upgrade their tools, there’s software for everyone. Here is a list of the best 3d character creators.


What is the best software to create 3D characters?

Adobe Fuse CC

Adobe Fuse CC 3D Model

If you want to add a 3D character to your design or prototype, the best way would be to install Adobe Fuse to model your new character and then import it in Adobe Photoshop.

You will already have available a ton of high-quality 3D content available so that you can customize your characters’ body, hair, eyes, and clothes.

This makes the process much faster than starting from scratch and it lets you focus on the details that matter for your project. It also has integrated Creative Cloud Suite.

This way, once you save your character to the Creative Cloud Library, it will automatically be available in Photoshop as a 3D element that you can edit as a 3D layer.

You can also start changing the pose or even animate using the controls in Photoshop.

The good news is that Adobe Fuse CC can be used by anybody. When it comes to animating your 3D character, Adobe offers over 3000 animations readily-available.

The animations have been recorded from the real-life performance of actors so the motions will look highly realistic and natural.

Therefore, the end result is quite realistic. This tight integration enables you to work much quicker than if you were using a different application.

It is also important to note that 3D characters made in one software and imported into another one might not look identical.

The reason has to do with the different 3D packages where materials, lights, and such are different. This is another good reason to use the entire family of software from Adobe.

To recap, here are the strengths of Adobe Fuse CC:

  • Creating a human 3D character and customizing it is easy and fast via the 3D content library.
  • It is aimed at photographers, designers, and digital artists.
  • Over 280 attributes of the 3D character can be adjusted.
  • Strong integration with Photoshop and Creative Cloud means you can use the tools you are used to and create the project faster.
  • Currently free during the beta period.
Adobe Fuse CC

Adobe Fuse CC

Bring your imagination to your desktop computer by creating the 3D models of your dreams with Adobe Fuse CC
Check priceView website

Daz3D

Daz3D Best 3D Modeling Software

Daz3D is one of the best software to create characters for games and videos. It provides assistance to create realistic characters for free.

It helps users to create exclusive digital art and animations using virtual characters like humans, environments, props, animals, and more.

To create beautiful animations, users simply need to pick their subject, or choose settings, organize accessories, and fix the lighting.

Daz3D combines a couple of different technologies: dForce is a physics technology that simulates hair movement. Its natural cloth applies stretches and bends when the character is moving.

Then we have Genesis 8, the latest figure platform which received numerous improvements that increased its versatility.

If you combine these technologies with Nvidia Iray render engine option, it means you can use Daz3D to create rendered images quickly and with a very realistic feel.

While it looks more polished than its previous version, it has also become much easier to use. For the newbies, they have added fresh video guides.

The current version works perfectly well with the previous 3D models and plug-in and boasts a range of next-gen figures.

Daz3D

Daz3D

Create wonderful 3D models with realistic hair and clothing physics thanks to Daz3D and its plethora of features.
Check priceVisit website

Autodesk Maya

Maya by Autodesk is the best 3D modeling software in our category. Along with 3D animation, it also provides services for 3D modeling, simulation, and rendering equipped with a combined and robust toolset.

From animations or environments to virtual reality, creating characters, or motion graphics, the software can be used for all of these.

Apart from stunning VFX effects, it also offers a super easy and a faster way to create animations using the Time Editor feature.

The Arnold RenderView on the other hand, helps users see the changes in scenes in real-time that includes lights, materials, and camera.

Moreover, motion graphics toolset helps create animations with quoted objects and complicated routine effects.

The software also allows users to design and edit UVs collaboratively using the UV toolset offering similar processes as Maya modeling workflows.

Cached playback, responsive performance, and an attractive working environment are some of its other major features.

Autodesk Maya

Autodesk Maya

Create animations, virtual reality, and creative 3d models with motion graphics by using Autodesk Maya
Check priceVisit website

Poser

Poser is leading software for 3D animation and rendering. It offers a total solution for creating art and animation using 3D characters.

From human forms to animals or 3D elements, the software transforms images into photorealistic visuals and videos, ready for use in films, webs, and prints.

It offers a perfect way to include pre-rigged, completely-textured, and prepared animated 3D characters in the production channel.

In the more advanced version, users can unlock the confidential process of how to create a realistic human figure, by styling its hair and dressing it up with clothes and accessories.

It also empowers the users to create figures that can walk, run, or dance for animated or short movies. The animations are also great and fluid.

Whether it’s creating photorealistic visuals or cartoons, there’s a lot that a creative professional can do with this tool.

Download Poser


Blender

A free and open source software to create 3D characters, Blender is one of the best 3D modeling software around.

It provides support for complete 3D channels animation, modeling, rendering, video editing, rigging, game creations, and more.

It comes with a powerful integrated path-tracking engine, Cycles, that helps users with a wide range of modeling tools that help users create, change, and edit the models easily.

Moreover, its production-ready camera offers object tracing, allowing users to import raw footage, track these footages, cover areas, and view the live camera shifts on the 3D scene.

Blender offers superior quality tools for animation and rigging that are used to make several TV commercials, TV series, and short films.

Users can even draw right on the 3D viewport offering unparalleled workflow liberty, especially for 2D designers and story-boarders.

It features a Python-based interface and a layout that’s flexible in terms of fonts, size, and colors. The numerous add-ons are a bonus for the users helping them design their own Python API.

Download Blender


ZBRUSH

ZBRUSH gives a fun angle to the creation of 3D characters. It offers digital sculpting using customizable brushes that help shape, create texture, and paint virtual clay.

It’s all done in a real-time environment that offers immediate feedback. The software offers the same tools that are used by game developers, jewelry designers, illustrators and artists across the world, film studios, and more.

It offers a unique feature like Project Primitive, which helps blend several pieces of geometry in one place in a new way. Polygroupit is another feature that that helps create the polygon groupings crucial for the smooth process.

Sculptris Pro, on the other hand, allows users to easily brush across the surface. Using this tool, users can powerfully induce and reduce polygons at any place and time it’s required.

Download ZBRUSH


Whether it’s creating characters for games, videos, or movies, creating 3D visuals is an art. Any art needs the right kind of skills, but also need the support of the best software to create characters.

So, choose wisely, from the above list and get going with your designing skills. These tools are also great recommendations in case you are looking for:

  • character creation software – You can get the job done with any one of the tools found here.
  • 3D character modeling software – Some tools include all the bells and whistles while others focus more on modeling. Choose whatever is best for you from this list.

FAQ: Learn more about 3D characters software

  • What is the easiest 3D program to learn?

Adobe Fuse CC is the easiest and faster way to create a 3D model or character that you can later use in your Photoshop project.

  • What program is used to make 3D characters?

Check out our thorough article dedicated to the best professional 3D modeling tools and see which one fits best for you.

  • Is 3D modeling easy?

3D modeling is easy if you the right tools. Take a look at our detailed article containing the best 3D modeling software that will help you make the right choice.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in September 2019 and was revamped and updated in January 2021 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.