Best apps for 3d drawing

3D drawing is the art of creating imaginary objects in the third dimension. There are many different methods to do this, but most people use a computer program to create the illusion of depth.

3D modeling is how artists and designers create 3D objects or images using specialized software. These designs are made by manipulating regular shapes, complex models, and polygons. The representation, called a 3D model, conveys an object’s shape, size, and texture in a three-dimensional setting.

3D drawing has been around since the dawn of computers, and it has become increasingly popular as more people have access to computers that can run these programs and as they become more affordable.

If you’ve ever wanted to give 3D drawing a try, but weren’t sure where to start, this article will help you pick out some of the best apps for 3D drawing on Android devices.

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Best apps for 3d drawing

1. AutoCAD

AutoCAD 360 is a helpful and easy-to-use 3D engineering drawing Android application that allows users to draw, edit, and make 3D models directly on their mobile device or tablet. With this app, you can save your projects and view and edit them at a later point in time.

The application also allows you to open 2D and 3D drawings in DWG format, transfer them from the network storage, work with them in standalone mode, and check all their parts.

Key Features: 

  • Convenient and intuitive interface.
  • For navigation in giant drawings, you’ll be able to zoom and use panning gestures.
  • Orientation within the drawing using GPS.
  • Create and edit precise designs in a snap.
  • Add and edit text annotations directly within the drawing.
  • Save changes within the AutoCAD 360 space on the web.

Download for Android and iOS.

2. uMake

If you want to express your design intuitively into a 3D model, download uMake, an award-winning 3D sketch app that’s easy-to-use, yet powerful. It is available at a yearly subscription for $149.99.

The most amazing feature of uMake is that it helps you define a certain point in space while sketching in 3D. This is all possible due to Sketch Planes, which are relative to the position of the camera.  

Key Features:

  • Importing the photograph, managing curve-weigh and color, and quickening the creation by live symmetry and mirroring.
  • Exporting your 3D style in OBJ, STEP, and IGES format.
  • Dragging your project files into a cluster style to organizing them. You can also duplicate these files for numerous styles.

Download for iOS.

The app is not yet available for Android.

3. is the most easy-to-use and intuitive 3D sketch app with a simplistic user interface, thus making it the ideal choice for children and beginner designing enthusiasts. The unique aspect of the app is that it is majorly made for education purposes in that it offers discounts to teachers and schools if they integrate the app in their curriculum.

While the app is free to use, it can be upgraded to get more features for $2.99 per month or $14.99 per year. As mentioned before, it has uncomplicated features with a gallery of all your designs. Moreover, it also has some templates that you can take inspiration from if you’re new to the business. To edit an image, you can upload it in .OBJ format and print it in .STL format.

Key Features:

  • Easy to use app.
  • Simplistic features with a great user interface.
  • Allows editing and viewing an image.
  • Files can be uploaded in .OBJ and .STL formats.
  • Ideal for beginners and students.

Download for Android and iOS.

4. Verto Studio 3D

Desktop studio programs are a thing of the past as Verto Studio 3D has taken its toll on the 3D sketch software industry. It is incredibly innovative and fully functional. The app is meant for all who want to take a dive in the 3D design industry and can be used by professional 3D modelers, game developers, and even beginners. What makes it different from the others is the fact that it connects designing with testing.

Apart from editing, importing, and exporting 3D models of all sizes, Verto Studio 3D also allows users to create precise shading effects using the built-in shaders or the GLSL shader editor. It also has an Auto-Tool that allows you to tap, swipe, pinch, and twirl to edit the scene.

Key Features:

  • Built-in GLSL shader-editor
  • File import/export (DAE, OBJ, STL, .X, 3DS).
  • Verto Studio file format support and exchange via email
  • Dropbox import of Verto Studio and OBJ files
  • Mesh generation using quads and triangular faces
  • Camera view with a 4-view split screen.
  • Orthographic projection mode for 3D engineering drawing and CAD
  • Fly-through mode to fly through the scene using FPS-game-style controls.
  • Fully supports the retina display of the new iPad for maximum screen usage.

Download for iOS.

The app is not yet available for Android.

5. Shapr3D

Exclusively created for iPad, Shapr3D is a 3D sketch app offering desktop-quality expertise in a mobile format. Just like you do on paper, you would be able to design your own characters with the help of this app seamlessly. While there is a free version of the app that provides a complete set of modeling tools, it is recommended that you buy the pro version for $8.25 per month for a wholistic workspace and more export choices.

Key Features:

  • Design manipulation with incredible modeling tools.
  • Import 2D and 3D designs from other CAD apps.
  • Import hand-drawn sketches and blueprints.
  • Export to other CAD tools.
  • Share the screenshots of your images with your client.

Download for iOS.

Benefits of 3D modeling

When you know how to create a 3D model efficiently, the sky’s the limit for what you can bring to life. Benefits of 3D modeling include:

  • Streamlined product design: 3D modeling gives designers a more significant number of possibilities during the design process because you can make revisions quickly and more efficiently. 
  • Accessible design process: Users can automate the design process with 3D modeling, increasing productivity and giving everyone involved clear visibility into what’s being created. Plus, designers can create 2D and 3D renders so that the entire team understands the necessary visualization.
  • Limited quality issues: It’s common for design teams to waste resources on faulty designs and run into a long list of quality issues after production is underway. 3D modeling can conserve these resources by making it easier to catch these issues before finalizing anything. 
  • Simple prototyping: If a team needs a physical prototype, 3D modeling is the first step in producing one through 3D printing technology

Benefits of 3D modeling software

3D modeling software gives the designer the tools needed to roll up their sleeves and start creating! This type of software has specialized features that allow construction and modification of 3D graphic models. Some of these benefits are:

  • Cost savings: Without 3D modeling software, creators have to create numerous prototypes to reflect every change in the design phase, which can be incredibly costly. This can be tenfold when developing multiple products at once. The use of 3D modeling software ensures that companies can save on the use of these raw materials.
  • Ease of use and efficiency: The use of software to design digitally means that changes or updates can be done in just a few clicks. This improved visualization of products means the user can preview these changes and sharpen small details in minutes.
  • Confidence in project approval: 3D modeling is one of the easiest ways to imagine a project’s final appearance. People can pitch a vision with words, but until they provide a visual aid, potential partners won’t be as inspired or willing to approve. Architects and product designers turn to 3D modeling software to secure approval on a project.
  • Detailed and accurate design: 3D modeling software can let team members construct any shape or object within their imagination, making ideas easily come to life. Modern software gives a new level of detailed and accurate design that sketching or 2D designs cannot.
  • Faster to market: When teams are armed with the proper 3D modeling tools, results are finished quickly, and a market-friendly product can be completed sooner.

How to effectively use 3D modeling software

Effectively using 3D modeling software likely depends on what designers are creating. Regardless, there are specific steps to take to ensure you’re using all these tools have to offer.

  • Learn the basics: Like any software you use for the first time, it’s always a good idea to learn the basics of the interface. This includes navigating through menus, locating specific features and tools, and doing a few practice rounds to familiarize yourself with how the software works.
  • Seek help from tutorials and communities: Many of the most popular 3D modeling tools come with a community behind them. You’ll often find tutorials, answers to commonly asked questions, step-by-step guides, and even quick how-to instructions. Take advantage of this community of designers and the information they provide.
  • Be patient: It’s common for 3D modeling software to come with a steep learning curve – especially if it’s your first time using this software. Be patient with yourself as you learn how to do simple designs before diving into a complex model. 
  • Embrace trial and error: Because there are so many things this type of software can do, it’s likely you won’t get every design right the first time. Lean into trial and error and remember that the perfect 3D model sometimes takes a few rounds of designs before it’s exactly how you imagined.

3D modeling best practices

3D modeling software takes even the most outside-the-box idea and brings it to reality. Follow these 3D modeling best practices to ensure your vision comes out precisely how you want it.

  • Focus on the big picture: As you create a design in 3D modeling software, it’s crucial to think about the overall shape and structure of what you create. Because there are just some shapes that are harder to design, like ears on a character or the perfect curve of a sports car, keep in mind that even the most complex elements are a combination of simple shapes.
  • Use real-world scale and reference: Modeling in real-world scale sets up a design for success. The model’s size impacts elements like how the lights in your scene look and how simulations interact. Plus, it’s easy to get proportions wrong when you don’t design to scale. Objects that are the wrong size in relation to others can throw off the look and feel of a 3D model.
  • Reuse past meshes: Because no one likes designing the same object repeatedly, it’s always a good idea to save and reuse as much of past meshes as possible. To avoid designs that look too similar, consider varying the size, modifiers, rotation, or material properties.
  • Understand surface quality: Bumps, pinches, or warped areas can alter how the light interacts with the surface of a model. Paying particular attention to the topology of an object can help avoid these issues.

Choosing the best 3D modeling software for your company

Ultimately, choosing the best 3D modeling software for your company comes down to what your team uses it for. Certain tools within this category are best suited for specific types of projects. For example, companies focused on computer games and animation likely need a different type of 3D modeling tool than organizations focused on architecture and construction.

3D modeling software: Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

1. What are some standard features in 3D modeling software?

3D modeling software typically has features like:

  • UV mapping: Projecting a 2D image to a 3D model’s surface for texture mapping.
  • Sculpting: Allows users to sculpt virtual 3D surfaces as if they were made of clay.
  • Rendering: Takes a 3D model and updates it with color and better computer graphics to make it look more realistic. 
  • Animation: Specific tools that help bring characters and objects to life by adding expressions and realistic motion to characters.
  • Simulations: Features that produce effects such as rain, fire, snow, wind, or even how clothing moves on a character’s body in real-time.
  • Collaboration: Allows multiple users to work on a model at once to leave notes, make comments, complete edits, and provide annotations.

2. What are the types of 3D formats?

3D designers should know 3D file formats, types, and features. These include:

  • Stereolithography (STL)
  • Wavefront .obj
  • Autodesk FBX
  • Collaborative Design Activity (COLLADA)
  • Initial Graphics Exchange Specification (IGES)
  • Standard for the Exchange of Product Data (STEP)
  • Virtual Reality Modeling Language/Extensible 3-Dimensional (VRML/X3D)

3. What comes first – a 3D model or a 3D render?

3D modeling always comes before 3D rendering in the 3D visualization process. Once a 3D model is finalized, the 3D render transforms the model into a high-quality, true-to-life image.

4. What free 3D modeling software is available?

Designers on a budget should take advantage of this list of free 3D modeling software that offers either free trials or free packages for download.

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