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I have tried out Blender and Milkshape 3D, but my question is mainly asking if there is any 3D animation/modelling software that is open source, free, or has an indie license available that is widely used by indie developers?

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5  
Blender is free animation/modelling software using by indie developers. –  The Communist Duck Aug 26 '10 at 19:11

6 Answers 6

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I really like Wikipedia's comparison articles; the Comparison of 3D computer graphics software article is particularly relevant to this question.

In particular, you may want to check out the discontinued Caligari trueSpace which was used in game modeling IIRC, or Ayam, "a free 3D modelling environment for the RenderMan interface."

But Blender, by far, is the most widely used free 3D software, and I do believe your second choice, Milkshape, would probably be the second most popular. I enjoy Milkshape myself because of the ease of implementation of the MS3D format.

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Solidworks is far from free, and you would be hard pressed to do game modeling with it (I tried in Uni since we had a campus site license). –  coderanger Aug 27 '10 at 5:26
    
Oh sorry I sorted by price and it was grouped around free products so I didn't notice the question mark in its price field. I'll edit. –  Ricket Aug 27 '10 at 11:44
    
There have been a few answers mentioning Blender as being widely used, so I think this is the best answer. Thanks everyone! –  BarakatX2 Aug 27 '10 at 22:38

I have mentioned it in another thread here, and I will mention it again: If you need a free Z-brush alternative, get Sculptris:

http://sculptris.com/download.html

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Wings 3D. Great tool for modelling. I found it easier to learn than Blender and I managed to get shapes I wanted reasonably fast.

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Blender fits all of those requirements. Perhaps specifying why you are looking for something else might help people direct you better. By and large though my experience is that people use blender. I had some experience with a little modeler called Anim8or before I moved to blender and I can say it eased me into the 3d mindset.

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Not really (other than Blender), granted I'm sure more than one indie team has acquired Maya or Max through less than legal channels, but thats a horse of a different color. There are a few free tools that are closer to ZBrush, but I can't find the names now.

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Sculptris is the name you're looking for. And it was acquired by Pixologic (makers of ZBrush) recently, although they've decided to keep making it available for free. –  U62 Aug 27 '10 at 0:38
    
Total win, that is exactly what I was thinking of :-) The author posts on /r/gamedev every now and then. –  coderanger Aug 27 '10 at 5:24

Two of the widest used 3D modeling tools in the development/modding areas are:

  • Gmax - free modified version of 3ds max

  • XSI Modtool - free modified version of softimage XSI

    • exports to XNA, Unreal, Cryengine, FBX/Collada
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