Mac users are often faced with compatibility issues when it comes to choosing the best 3D rendering software. That’s because not every company always develops a macOS counterpart for their windows-based 3D rendering software. This could be troublesome if you happen to be a Mac user, although not really if you know which 3D rendering software has macOS compatibility.
While most popular 3D rendering titles such as Blender, Maya, etc. Do have a macOS version, there are a few software that exclusively runs on windows-based operating systems. To save you the trouble of finding macOS-compatible 3D rendering software, we’ve handpicked 11 of the best 3D software for your Mac. Now, let’s get into it straight away.
Feel relieved because the world-famous 3D rendering and modelling software is available for your macOS. Blender has an immense fan base with a community of driven developers. The developers of Blender understand their user-base pretty well and incorporate every upgrade that they think would benefit the users. Furthermore, the fact that Blender possesses such a vast array of features and tools is a truly remarkable feat for open-source software. Being open-source means that Blender is and will remain free for the rest of its lifetime. Developers get decent donations from Blender’s users that’s enough to power the software. However, even that wouldn’t have been possible if Blender lacked quality. Take note that the functionality that Blender provides its users with is no less than that of a paid 3D rendering software. Yes, Blender is that good!
Blender is also considered suitable for beginners as it doesn’t require you to invest any capital for using the software, although it does have a steep learning curve. Blender’s extremely vast array of features and toolsets, combined with an open-source nature of the software, is enough to make it the most popular 3D rendering software. Countless 3D artists from all over the world have confirmed that they started their 3D rendering journey with Blender as their very first 3D rendering software. Not to mention some professional 3D artists still use Blender to get these things done. That’s how popular and reliable Blender is.
TinkerCAD is a 3D rendering software that doesn’t require any specific operating system compatibility. That’s because it’s an online-based software that you can easily access with your web browser. Overall, it’s the perfect software for you if you’re new to 3D rendering and have no prior experience. Although TinkerCAD is completely free to use, it does come at the price of limited functionality. The software is so basic that it might not be reliable enough for professional work. Producing highly detailed renders on TinkerCAD is less efficient or often impossible when there are better alternatives around (for example, Blender, SketchUp, Meshmixer, etc.). So, you may consider TinkerCAD only if you’re in the initial stages of your 3D rendering career. It works wonders for basic projects and has some pro features like parametric measurements, but it simply isn’t capable of pulling off complex renders. In any case, TinkerCAD is worth a try as it still is a marvel one of the leading companies in the design industry: Autodesk.
Cinema 4D by Maxon has been competing fiercely with the likes of Maya and 3Ds Max that are famously leading this industry. And why not? It provides its users with an unlimited power of expression and an extremely vast range of tools and features. Despite having such a vast range of tools, developers of Cinema 4D have maintained an intuitive and user-friendly interface throughout the system. You even have a “help” option associated with every feature to make you easily understand the basics of the software. That being said, Cinema 4D is suitable for beginners and professionals alike. However, many professionals find Cinema 4D to be lacking in functionality for professional use.
You can also opt for the annual Maxon Service Agreement to gain access to Cineversity, a training site to sharpen your skills and get a better grip over the software. Stuffed with tools to enable volumetric and parametric modelling, Cinema 4D is one reliable 3D rendering software that you should try at least once on your Mac. Take note that you can enjoy the free version of the software for only 42 days, you’ll be required to pay $719 per year afterwards.
Autodesk Maya has considered the ultimate 3D rendering software in 3D space. Over the years, it has become one of the industry standards of 3D rendering. For example, you decide to take an online or offline course on 3D rendering, there’s a good chance your tutor will ask you to install Maya on your Mac. Also, if you decide to make a career out of 3D rendering, most jobs will demand a strong command over Maya. Such immense popularity is because of the consistent service that Maya has provided to the 3D industry. While improving the software with every update, Autodesk has managed to integrate more and more Mudbox tools (another 3D-rendering software by Autodesk) into Maya. This has increased the overall versatility of the software dramatically.
However, although the amount of quality that you can get in your 3D renders using Maya significantly dwarfs the initial costs, it still is quite expensive. Accessing Maya comes at an annual subscription of $1700 which is too rich for most people. Furthermore, it may not be of much use to you if you’re just getting into the world of 3D rendering. For example, as a beginner, features like fluid animation and the ability to render hair or particles that Maya boasts is useless for you. However, if you’re planning to make a career out of 3D rendering, there are countless firms that’ll want you to have expertise in Maya. Maya can do 3D rendering tasks ranging from basic 3D modelling to complex 3D animations for movies and games.
Mudbox is a 3D digital painting and sculpting software created by none other than Autodesk. The key area where Mudbox particularly stands out is its interface. It has quite an intuitive interface with a vast array of tools and features that allow you to create jaw-dropping visuals and highly detailed mesmerizing 3D scenes. The sculpting technique that Mudbox has taken its inspiration from being the real-world sculpting technique. No wonder why the software aces every sculpting task in a breeze! Furthermore, to make your renders look more realistic, Mudbox lets you add resolution to only the areas where it’s necessary. This helps in improving the realism in your renders while saving processing time and costs.
Using the mesh-based technique just like Blender, creating and sharing 3D objects and models in Mudbox is fast and easy. You can also bring assets from Maya to Mudbox in order to add detailed geometry to the asset, though Maya is getting better with every update by borrowing tools and features from Mudbox. Mudbox comes at a reasonable price of just $90 per year and $10 per month. Its 3-year long-term pack even comes at a more affordable price tag of just $245 per 3-year. Such affordability coupled with immense features is enough to make Mudbox one of the best 3D rendering software for macOS.
Modo has gained a lot of traction in the market to become the most popular 3D rendering software and there are multiple reasons to justify it. Modo undoubtedly has one of the smoothest and most efficient workflows ever; efficient enough to make it one of the favorite go-to 3D rendering software for artists and designers from all across the globe. No matter what task you throw at Modo, the extremely vast range of tools and features will get you through most of it. It’s a fully functional, feature-packed digital content creation tool that has been getting a lot of well-deserved attention these days. Modo has an artist-friendly interface with lots of features empowering its users to explore their creativity. Modo’s interface is so good that it’s only natural to consider it one of the most recommended software for beginner 3D artists. Modo uses Python and C++ APIs to achieve such a level of stability and smoothness in its UI. These APIs also enable Modo to support multiple industry-standard formats.
It comes with a toolset vast enough to enable artists to create jaw-dropping visuals and mesmerizing 3D scenes. No wonder the software is widely used in animation, gaming, filmmaking, and media production. Furthermore, as if this wasn’t overwhelming enough, Modo offers a variety of useful additional plug-ins at an additional but reasonable cost to allow artists to unleash their creativity to the fullest. These plugins also give the software enough functionality so that it doesn’t act as a bottleneck for the artist’s skills.
Sketchup 3D uses a simple and straightforward approach towards 3D rendering, contrary to its competitors where it’s almost impossible for beginners to get a hold of the software easily. SketchUp has an intuitive interface with a beginner-friendly touch, enabling even beginners to easily work on SketchUp. Since SketchUp was developed keeping beginners in mind, it requires no prior experience in 3D rendering whatsoever.
Trimble-owned SketchUp is so simple that it limits the software’s functionality. Such a level of simplicity is not ideal for a 3D rendering software where higher complexity bears better and high-quality results. This also restricts the full-fledged usage of SketchUp to limited sectors including architecture, interior design, home planning, etc. If you want to produce photorealistic high-quality 3D renders, SketchUp may not be of much use. However, if you’re one of the newcomers planning to step into the world of 3D rendering, SketchUp 3D is the way to go. The free version of SketchUp is an online-based and can run in your Mac’s browser. It offers up to 10GB of storage for your designs. The paid version of SketchUp 3D offers unlimited storage features like headset viewing and many more. In any case, we don’t recommend you go for the paid version of SketchUp as you may find many “free” 3D rendering software with a noticeably higher caliber than SketchUp.
Another marvel by Autodesk, Meshmixer takes the convenience of 3D rendering to the next level with features like drag and drop. It’s a pretty straightforward 3D rendering software that demands no annual subscription. Yes, Meshmixer is available for Windows and macOS at absolutely zero charges. The functionality of Meshmixer is just enough to satisfy your needs as a beginner. However, it’s not suitable for professional use since that requires exceptional detailing in renders and that’s where Meshmixer lags a bit.
Meshmixer particularly excels when it comes to printing 3D designs. Boasting features like thickness analysis, Meshmixer lets you virtually measure the thickness of the printable 3D model so that it doesn’t break while in between the 3D printing process. Meanwhile, the limited functionality of Meshmixer is both a pro and con of the software. Since the software is completely free to use and doesn’t take the complexity levels to the extreme, it’s easy to recommend Meshmixer to beginners. However, if you’re looking for professional 3D rendering software, Meshmixer may not be the ideal choice.
Fusion 360 is one of the biggest titles in the 3D space. It undoubtedly has one of the largest range of toolsets amongst the best 3D rendering software. It comes with a well-implemented integration of CAD, CAM, CAE, and PCB, making it one of the most versatile 3D rendering software ever made. No matter what industry you’re in, design, engineering, electronics, or manufacturing, Fusion 360 will get you through every 3D rendering. Thanks to its extreme versatility, the possibilities of what you can create in Fusion 360 know no limits. You can create and edit sketches using a powerful suite of sketch tools, incorporate parametric changes in the design to repair geometry, create history-based figures, etc. No matter what you throw at it, Fusion 360 can tackle any 3D rendering task without breaking a sweat. Furthermore, to help you grasp the basics of the software, Fusion 360 comes with detailed documentation that explains various aspects of the software.
As you might’ve guessed, Fusion 360 does not come free of cost, although it does come at a reasonable price. The annual subscription of Fusion 360 is priced at $495 per year and $60 per month with a free trial of 30 days (1 month). Comparing to the features and tools Fusion 360 boasts, Fusion 360 is priced fairly reasonably to be affordable for the masses.
ZBrush has always been in talks in the past few years. That’s because it has been getting significant improvements with each update, turning itself into one of the go-to software for 3D rendering. Until recently, ZBrush was mainly utilized as a sculpting tool to work on the surfaces of pre-made 3D models. However, developers have incorporated a lot of upgrades in ZBrush that have enabled artists to create 3D models from scratch in ZBrush itself. Moreover, the software has retained its sculpting capabilities, making it an ideal solution for most of your 3D rendering needs. It even allows you to paint textures and create UV maps, such features were not available in the earlier versions of ZBrush. Coupled with the affordability of the software, ZBrush has become an ideal 3D rendering software for artists who don’t like switching software every once in a while.
With such functionality, the interface of ZBrush is not ideal for beginners. It requires quite a bit of knowledge and prior experience in using 3D rendering software. It also requires proficiency to learn various aspects of the software. All the more, ZBrush also demands a graphics tablet for the best experience. Overall, if you’re planning to step into the world of 3D rendering, we recommend you not to go with ZBrush. However, if you’re already a polished 3D artist and want to jump to a better 3D software, ZBrush has made for you.
Poser specializes in the department of creating characters for 3D animation. Modeling characters such as people and animals has never been this efficient, thanks to Poser and its features that come in handy while working on 3D models of characters. Meanwhile, while Poser is indeed a professional-grade 3D modeling software, it has a smooth learning curve that allows even beginners to fully experience the software. Moreover, it has an online library that lets you work on detailed 3D characters. Overall, Poser can especially be the ideal 3D rendering software for your Mac if you want quick outcomes without stressing too much about learning the art.
The world of 3D rendering is huge and ever-thriving. Software made exclusively to let people access and contribute to this industry is growing more efficient with each update. However, most brands primarily focus on developing their software for Windows, thanks to its enormous user base. Still, to make sure you, as a Mac user, don’t miss out on the excitement that 3D rendering holds, we’ve filtered out the 11 best 3D rendering software for Mac in this article.