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Group test: what's the best 3D design software?

The best software packages for 3D designers

The best 3D design software packages available in the UK right now.

5. ZBrush

ZBrush
  • Reviewed on: 1 August 11
  • RRP: £532 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

Expensive but full featured, ZBrush is a good addition to any 3D designer's arsenal.

4. Carrara 8

Carrara 8
  • Reviewed on: 12 September 11
  • RRP: £95 inc. VAT
  • Rating: Rated 0 out of 10

Carrara is a powerful, and dare I say, fun application for creating detailed three-dimensional content and animations.

3. Autodesk Maya 2010

Autodesk Maya 2010
  • Reviewed on: 20 October 09
  • RRP: £3,050 plus VAT (standalone version) ; £3,815 plus VAT (NLM version) ; £850 plus VAT (upgrade from Maya Complete 2009)
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

Maya 2010 has more than a whiff of a rebranding release, but this version signals that Maya is heading in a film and VFX direction. Let’s hope Autodesk doesn’t price it out of the reach of UK users who don’t own studios.

2. Poser 9

Poser 9
  • Reviewed on: 22 November 11
  • RRP: £159 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

Whether you want to make animated movies or video game avatars or need digital crash-test dummies or animated crime scene reenactments, you can't beat Poser 9 for out-of-the-box ease of use. Even with no prior 3D modeling experience, it's relatively simple to adapt, pose, and animate any of the many included templates. Creating a fully digitized version of whoever it is in your imagination may take some dedication and time, however. So, what would you little maniacs like to do first?

1. Xara 3D Maker 7

Xara 3D Maker 7
  • Reviewed on: 23 March 11
  • RRP: £29.99 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

Although Xara 3D Maker has only evolved incrementally over the years, in many ways that’s its strength. It essentially does one thing, and does it really well. So if you do want to create elaborate animated 3D text for your video or web projects, this is still one of the easiest tools for the job, and the £14.99 upgrade from previous versions is particularly reasonable.

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