Ive heard a lot about Daz studio, Poser, Maya, K-3d, Anim8or, Blender, and all the rest.

My question is which one is the best choice in terms of simplicity and quality. price is not an issue really. I'm programming games in java for android mobile devices at the moment but i will eventually move onto larger platforms. I would like to utilize unity3d for the game programming itself and utilize a 3d modeling software just to create the game objects.

I just need to know the best one to get started with from scratch or should i use a combination of multiple ones? Any insight for this would be great, thanks!

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This is an opinion question. It is your artist's choice, as long as they can deliver and export to Unity. Beyond that, there's no good answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Elideb
    Dec 11 '11 at 13:01


In short.. Get Blender! Since you're a beginner it's not worth pouring k's into a software you have no idea how to fully utilize.

Simplicity explained

Well, simplicity is a relative term. For one Blender will be simple, for the other guy Maya. But in the end it depends on how much you use the tool. For example, if you start with Blender, as time passes you'll get better with it, developing it into a habit, and therefore, widening the margin to transition into Maya freely.

It's the format that matters

Almost any 3D software will do, the only difference is in how you export your model and whether Unity3D supports it.

For sure, the de-facto standard for some time has been Autodesk's FBX, hence most developers use Autodesk software. And, yes, Unity supports it, plus it's recommended to use FBX.

Then there is COLLADA. Rumors say that Unity3D doesn't have a full support for COLLADA.

But, yes, Unity has wide support for importing not so universal formats- *.3ds, *.max to name a few.

Haven't been working with Unity lately and haven't used other software than 3DS Max, therefore I cannot precisely say what formats Unity supports. But I've tried *.3ds and *.max- more or less, but they work.


Formats like COLLADA and FBX are meant to be used by default. Developers have put a lot of effort in these formats, meaning, that they will not only export/import with mesh, but with animations, that you can bake in and all the other stuff the actual model will posses.

Plus, they are software independent. You can work with Blender, your friend with 3DS Max and an outsourced modeler with Maya or XSI and FBX will provide almost 100% support for every tool.

It's strongly encouraged to use these universal formats.

As for the software itself, everything will be OK as long as they support FBX and/or COLLADA.

I'd recommend one of these:

  • Blender
  • 3DS Max
  • Maya (from what I've heard, Maya is more complete than Max, but then again, it's more complex than Max)

Since Blender is Open-Source it's free for everybody, everything and forever. It has huge community, lots of plugins and so on and so forth. In short, a free, packed 3D software for almost everything you can imagine.

Autodesk products on the other hand are better developed, they're commercial products, therefore higher quality product, plus, relatively better community- resulting in more plugins and 3rd party tools.
Autodesk software is not cheap tho', but provides educational license for every single tool they have there for an exchange of stripped down license.
One more bonus for Autodesk would be the infinte amount of quality and really helpful plugins/3rd party software. But the plugins tend to not be cheap either.


As rojcyk mentioned, there are tools such as ZBrush (Sculptris is the stripped down, free version of ZBrush). These are mostly meant to be used for details, like, when you need to add that quality 6 pack to your Rambo guy.

There is a bonus for this, you only have to make a reference model, and ZBrush will allow you to add that extra detail much faster and more precise than the plain ol' modelling tool, hence they fell into the category of "Sculpting tools".

It's not the tools it's the carpenter

The information above should be enough, but yes, modelling as for everything else in this world, doesn't just "happen". Takes a lot of time and a lot of knowledge to end up in something really usable.

Good luck and have fun!

  • \$\begingroup\$ I would emphasize that the second paragraph is actually the "correct" answer to this question, and everything else is tangential information that is extremely useful to the person who would ask a question like this. That is: Q) What is the simplest 3d software? A) "Simplicity" is a relative term. \$\endgroup\$
    – jhocking
    Apr 15 '12 at 12:53

Well I would say it depend on the platform you are using and what exactly you are trying to accomplish. Because every software you mentioned does something different. For example Daz studio is more about posing and making animations, scenes and not about modeling itself. So is Poser. Maya, K-3d and Blender are about modeling.

I think you don't want answer like this but I would say the best choice is the one you like working with the most. Some people prefer Maya over Blender, some people prefer 3DS Max over Maya, its about preferences and how does the software suite you.

People like to combine modeling software with Zbrush to add texture to their creations. If money is not an issue. I would go with Maya and Zbrush, but my preferences might differ.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 - Blender is wonderful - but shows it's free-ness in the interface! I had a much easier time navigating Maya. If money's not an object, I'd go for a commercial product with a smoother learning curve (and more education options). As for Zbrush, it's more like recreation than work, once you learn the tools. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 11 '11 at 14:12

3DSMax is almost a video game standard (and you can even include .max files directly in Unity3D)!

But, and this is just my opinion, you should go with what you or whoever works for you knows best as long as it can export files exploitable by Unity3D.

  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks i was strongly considering auto desk products since i heard gears of war 3 and assassin's creed were modeled using auto-desk products, its just i need something simple for a mobile device not as complex as an Xbox 360 or PlayStation.(but good choice for future projects i'm sure) \$\endgroup\$
    – kdavis8
    Dec 11 '11 at 6:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Blender is the ultimate free choice (complicated to get used to though). Some use Z-Brush but usually you need a "real" soft to rig and animate after the Z-Brush modelling. \$\endgroup\$
    – Valmond
    Dec 11 '11 at 18:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ 3DSMax beats blender hands down for usability. But it's thousands of dollars, which is more than most of us are willing to pay. \$\endgroup\$
    – ashes999
    Apr 15 '12 at 22:13

I have used a lot of 3D software (such as: 3DS Max, Mudbox, Zbrush, DAZ 3D, Rhino, Modo, Cinema 4D). If you're after power and simplicity of use, I recommend Modo. It's a very affordable program with an easy interface which is really able to do anything from modelling to posing, rendering, and animation.


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