The list below includes a number of programs for 3D modeling and animation. Select programs have been installed at the Media Center, others are simply free or low-cost recommendations and may not be available on college computers.
Learn software through your free Swarthmore access to Linkedin Learning!
- Sketchup - Cross platform. Made by Trimble (formerly by Google). The basic version is free and online only. The Pro version is available free for educators and the lab versions are inexpensive (<$20 per seat).
- VectorWorks and TurboCAD are mid-range 3D CAD programs that have Mac and Windows versions. ITS doesn't have licenses, but they are an option for higher-end Mac 3D CAD.
- BIM—Building Information Modeling
- Rhino 3D Design. Available on Swarthmore Lab computers. One copy purchased by the Art department and is installed on the Media Center computers.
- Grasshopper is a visual rendering application by the same company that created Rhino.
- Free for small companies > 100k and hobbyists
- CAM features
- Mac and Windows Compatible
- Basic Simulation software
- Good mesh modeling
- More intuitive than programs like Solidworks
- Cloud based
- Import objects from McMaster Carr
Graphics, Animation, and Sculpting
- Mudbox from AutoDesk - digital painting and sculpting software
- Anarkik Cloud9 - for artists, includes haptic feedback device. ~$800
Maya-Alias System Corp owned by Auto Desk, works on Windows, Mac and Linux.
- Used for Video game production, animation Visual effects and more
- Industry Standard for large studio production
- Good for scripting language, MEL, Python
- Good animation, rendering.
- Open source
- Works on Windows, Mac and Linux
- Used for Animation, video Games, Visual effects, etc
- Works on Mac, Windows, Linux
3Ds Max-Same rendering engine as Maya
- Slightly easier for Modeling
- Also used for large scale production
- Only work with windows
- netfabb Studio Basic - free cross-platform program to repair problems with STL files.
- MeshLab - open source cross-platform program "providing a set of tools for editing, cleaning, healing, inspecting, rendering and converting this kind of meshes." Can convert OBJ files to STL files.
- Smustard has Sketchup scripts to clean up models for printing
- SketchUp: There is a plug-in required for creating stl files. It is also possible to upload files to SketchUp's online 3D Warehouse and check a box to optimize the file for printability. This will correct problems with the file that could affect 3D printing.
3D Model Repositories
- Thingiverse - has a huge number of user-contributed downloadable models
- Sketchup has a large 3D warehouse of models people have contributed