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

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
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  • 3D Software is not used for CGI anymore. Besides TV and triple AAA games, the possibility to create your own 3D characters for VR / AR projects has exploded in recent years thanks to advances made in technology adoptions and processing power.
  • Do you need to integrate a 3D Character into your design project? Use Adobe Fuse CC for the fastest and easiest way to model your character.
  • Visit our 3D Design Section for similar articles related to this creative field.
  • Looking for other software to meet your increasing digital life needs? Check out the Software Section and find the best for you.
Best Software to Create Characters

From games to animated clips or movies, animated characters are everywhere. The animation is created for all ages and loved by all, kids and adults alike. But, designing 3D characters is not a piece of cake.

Designers need to be super skilled in 3D designing to be able to use 3D modeling software. But they also need to use the best software to create characters, 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 a software for everyone. However, the trick is to find the best 3D modeling software to create characters with the right specifications.

Here we are listing some of the best software to create characters that are attractive to the clients.

3D software to create memorable characters

Adobe Fuse CC 3D ModelIf 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.

The Adobe Fuse CC desktop app has integration with the Creative Cloud suite so that 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. And you can start changing the pose or even animate using the controls in Photoshop.

The good news is that Adobe Fuse CC can be used by users who don’t have 3D expertise. 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 in 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

Get Adobe Fuse CC to create realistic 3D human characters that can be imported in Photoshop to use them in your work.

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, natural cloth and applies stretches and bends that occur naturally when the character is moving.

Then we have Genesis 8, the latest figure platform which received numerous improvements which 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 those who are using it for the first time, they have added fresh video guides.

This not just helps them to start with the application easily, but also acquire the speed. The current version works perfectly well with the previous 3D models and plug-in and boasts a range of next-gen figures.

There’s also a (paid) plugin called Daz to Maya which allows you to easily transfer a Daz prop to Maya.

Daz3D

Daz3D

Download Daz Studio for free and quickly get your project going with the starter package and free 3D models.

Read our full Daz3D Studio review


 

Autodesk Maya Best 3D Modeling Software

Maya by Autodesk rightly earns its position as the best 3D modeling software in the 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.


Make the best out of CGI 3D modeling and animation with these tools


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

Price: Free trial available, starts from $50/month on a rental basis.

Autodesk Maya

Autodesk Maya

Get this powerful software that offers a complete professional solution for creating 3D characters and worlds.
Free trial Download now

Learn more about Maya in our full review


 

4

Poser

Poser Best 3D Modeling Software

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 human figure. From styling its hair to dressing it up and adding accessories, it enables the users to do a lot.

It also empowers the users to create figures that can walk, run, or dance for animated or short movies. Whether it’s creating photorealistic visuals or cartoons, there’s a lot that a creative professional can do with this tool.

Price: starts from $129.99

Download Poser

5

Blender

Blender Best 3D Modeling Software

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 like for 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, it comes with a camera that’s production ready and offers object tracing.

It further allows users to import raw footage, track these footages, cover areas, and view the live camera shifts on the 3D scene. It basically gets done with the need to change between programs.

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


You may also want to check out our Wondershare Filmora9 review: The best tool for professional video editing.


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.

Price: free and open source

Download Blender

6

ZBRUSH

ZBRUSH Best 3D Modeling Software

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.

Price: starts from $895 for a single user license

Download ZBRUSH

Conclusion

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. It 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?

There are many programs that you can use and it all depends on the complexity and the end-use of the character. Check out our article and see which one fits bests for you.

  • Is 3D modeling easy?

It is really easy if you have the right tools. Adobe Creative Cloud offers Adobe Fuse or Adobe Dimensions for this. But if you are just starting out, Adobe Photoshop can also be used for some light 3D work.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in June 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.