DraftSight is a free 3D drafting program developed by Dassault Systemes. It was released in 2007 and it allows users to create, edit, view and print 3D models from any computer or mobile device. Users can use the software to design buildings, furniture, vehicles and other objects using a variety of materials such as plastic, wood or metal.
The software supports multiple file formats including STL (stereolithography), OBJ (object oriented modeling) and FBX (3D model). Users can save their designs in various formats such as .STL, .OBJ, .FBX and many others.
The software also features a large library of user-created objects which are stored in its own database called “Projects”. Project files allow users to easily share their creations with others.
Users can also export their designs to a number of different file types including DXF (digital X-ray fluorescence), STL, OBJ, FBX and PDF. Users can import these exported files into the software. File types are used for various purposes such as storing 3D scans or digital medical images.
A number of software options are available for viewing and rendering imported files. This includes a large number of lighting options which allow the user to change the way a design looks when rendered by the software. For instance, users can change the color and intensity of lights and shadows within a design.
The software also allows users to create their own materials or apply ones that already exist within the software. This is particularly useful when creating objects as users can change the way in which the object looks depending on the type of material it is made from. For example, a wooden chair can be created to reflect light in a realistic way or a table can be made to look metallic.
The software is compatible with a number of different 3D printers such as MakerBot, Reprap, Ultimaker, Smartfabb, Prusa, Lulzbot and more. This allows users to create real physical models of their designs. For instance, a user can create a keychain or a phone case and then have it 3D printed using the software.
Designed for use on any computer or mobile device, the software is available in over 30 different languages and is used by students, teachers, hobbyists and professionals around the world. It is available to download and use free of charge for any purpose. Users can also choose to purchase a license to enable certain features such as sending/receiving files or creating professional quality rendering.
The software has a large online community and users are able to share their designs with others. This allows for a continual flow of new material and ideas. Users can also take part in challenges such as creating 3D printable devices or designing objects using specific materials.
One of the main features of the software is its large number of powerful tools which allow users to create highly complex objects. Users are able to use Boolean operations to combine numerous shapes, edges and surfaces into a single object. Complex shapes can also be created by using the Loft tool and a large number of other tools help to speed up the modeling process.
The software includes a wide range of different helper objects such as spirals, cubes, spheres, cones and more. These allow users to create accurate models of a wide range of different real-life objects. For instance, a user designing a shoe could use a helper object in the form of a real shoe to accurately depict its shape and design.
Users are also able to access a wide range of different objects which can be used as is or as inspiration. These cover a number of different areas from furniture, vehicles and animals to plants and much more. Each object contains a range of specific information such as weight, length, volume and even the amount of time it would take to print.
The software allows users to create highly detailed real-life models using a variety of different tools and methods. For instance, the software allows users to create curved surfaces using Bezier patches, edit meshes to add or remove points and change the overall shape using boolean operations.
There are a large number of different tools and helpers available to users allowing them to create specific types of models such as characters, creatures, people, vehicles and more. Each of these has a number of specific features which can be used to great precision allowing for detailed and accurate models.
The software can be used to create a wide range of different models and is suitable for use by students, teachers, hobbyists and professionals. It is available to download and use free of charge but users do have the option to purchase a license to enable export and rendering functionality.
CAD, or computer-aided design, software is specialized 3D design software which allows users to create a wide range of different three-dimensional models. It is an industry standard used by teachers, architects, engineers and hobbyists for a wide range of applications.
CAD software offers a variety of different tools which allow users to create models of a high level of complexity and accuracy. These include 2D and 3D drawing tools, shape creation tools, text placement tools and a wide range of other features.
When designing objects with CAD software it is important to make use of layers. Layers act in the same way that they do in image editing software and allow users to group together different objects. This makes it easier to edit and make changes to a design as you can select a specific layer and then make edits to this layer alone.
With the rise in popularity of 3D printing, CAD software is becoming an essential tool for both teachers and hobbyists. It allows users to create accurate and complex designs for 3D printers to process.
CAD software can be used on both Mac and PC although some packages are only available for one or the other. As well as 3D models, many software packages also let you edit and create 2D drawings. These feature a range of different tools which allow you to draw different shapes, add text annotations and more.
How do I create a 3D model?
There are a number of different ways in which you can create a 3D design ready for printing. Each software package will have a different way of handling this process but most will allow you to modify and edit your work after it has been created.
When creating 3D models, you should aim to ensure that your design is as simple as possible. The more complex the model, the longer it will take to create and print. If you have previous experience in 3D modelling or a background in a related area, you may already have the skills required. New users may need to practice their designing and modelling skills before they create complex or detailed models.
Top 3D Design Software 2018
There are a wide range of different 3D design software packages on the market today with something available for everyone. No matter if you are a complete beginner or a professional digital artist there will be a package which is right for you.
SketchUp is an incredibly easy to use 3D design software package which has an intuitive user interface and a wide range of tools and features. It is aimed at beginners but still has plenty to offer experienced designers. It’s simple to download and install and there are a wide range of resources online which cover everything you need to know about using it.
There is also a large library of support materials for SketchUp online including several eBooks which are available to download for free. It is an industry standard and therefore has a wide range of compatible extensions, plugins and related software.
SketchUp was developed by Google but is now available from a wider range of sources and is not restricted to online use. There are both free and paid for versions available with the only difference being that the paid for versions has no advertising.
Price: Free or $625.95 for a commercial licence
Operating System: Windows, Mac and Linux
Autodesk 123D design is an online 3D design software package with a difference. Aimed mainly at beginning users and children, it makes use of a wide range of interactive features and guides to make learning the basics of 3D modelling easy.
There is a wide range of different features which allow you to turn 2D images into 3D models as well as a simple shape tool and a cutting tool. It also has an automated path tool which can be used to create curves. The package also has some more advanced features including mesh modeling, texturing and UV mapping.
Autodesk 123D can be used online or downloaded for use on your PC or Mac. It also links in with the 123D app which allows you to turn your photos into 3D models using your smartphone.
Operating System: Online or Download for PC/Mac
Magisto is an online video editor which lets you create professional looking videos in minutes. It is aimed mainly at beginner users but still has plenty to offer more advanced editors. There are a wide range of different features and filters available which can be used to enhance your footage and a selection of templates for different types of video.
The intuitive drag and drop interface makes designing your videos easy whether you’re a beginner or an expert and everything is kept nice and simple. There is also the option to add music to your videos although this will cost you a small fee.
Magisto has a wide range of different editing features including trimming, transitions, filters, effects and animations. Each of these has been carefully designed to be as simple to use as possible but still produce good quality results every time.
You can also create story-telling videos using Magisto’s “Smart Sequences” which choose the best clips and arrange them into a sequence for you. There are also a range of different templates which are aimed at specific types of video from Promos and Commercials to Vlogs and Weddings.
Magisto has over 100 million registered users and a wide range of different videos, each of which can be shared across social media. It also has a pro version called Magisto PRO which is aimed more at business users.
Magisto is designed to be as accessible as possible which means that, although most of the features are free, there are still some limitations. Certain effects and filters are reserved for paying subscribers only who also have the ability to upload videos longer than 15 minutes. In addition, the longer you use the site, the more ads you will see.
Price: Free (on desktop only) or $199.99 per year (plus $9.99 per month)
Operating System: Windows, Mac, Android or iOS
Animaker is a free online video editor which is aimed mainly at beginner users. It makes it simple to create animated videos complete with voice over and music. The software incorporates a storyboard function which allows you to lay out the structure of the video and include title slides and transitions.
The program also allows you to add a range of animated characters, props and backgrounds to bring your scenes to life. There are also a wide range of different effects, overlays, stickers and filters available to bring your scenes even more texture.
One of the best features of the software is the ability to sync music and voice over with the animations. You can choose from a library of songs or upload your own. Alternatively you can record your own voice and insert it into the video using the storyboard.
One of the main drawbacks of the software is that it is very P2P focused with a large number of adverts and promotional offers. This may make it frustrating for more experienced users but for those just getting started, it shouldn’t prove too much of a problem.
In addition, the free version of the software is limited to small videos (only 15 seconds long) which means that you really need to pay if you want to create anything decent. Even though the software is free, you will have to pay $1.50 per month for a ‘Pro’ account or $15 per year. This goes directly to the company and helps them create more features for the software.
The features that are included in the free version of the software are pretty fun to mess around with and it’s a great way to get started with video making but you’ll need to bare the limitations in mind if you do decide to use it seriously.
Price: Free / $1.50 per month or $15 per year
Operating System: Windows, Mac or Linux
OpenShot is another free video editor which is released under the GNU GPL (General Public License) and is available to download for free from the website. As well as being available for Windows, Linux and Mac, there is also a source version available to download should you want to tinker with the software yourself.
The software is split into five main sections; files, timeline, tracks, preview and tools. The files section is where you add all of your video and audio files. You can also add image files (such as stills) for use in the titles. The timeline is where you add and arrange your clips. Each different type of media (Video, Audio, Image) will display in a different colour in the timeline so you can tell them apart.
The software supports most common multimedia files as well as all the popular video formats such as AVI, MP4 and MOV and audio such as AAC, AC3, FLAC, OGG, WAV and WMA. You can also preview the video in real time as you edit which is very helpful when it comes to syncing things up correctly.
Along the top of the screen there is a row of buttons for each of the main sections. These include Clips, Edit, Transitions, Draw, Filters, Effects, Tools and Help. Each of these provides different functions within the software so there is a lot of functionality available without having to go into more detail than you need to.
The software also has an inbuilt video and audio player which means you can easily add files to your project without having to find them again. It also means you can easily add entire audio CDs to your project.
The software also has plenty of built in effects and transitions but is also fully compatible with all of the popular third party plugins such as Virtualdub, so you can use those instead if you prefer.
One of the great things about OpenShot is that it’s also available for iOS devices so you can take your movie making on the go.
Operating System: Windows only
Wideo is a brand new video editor which aims to be simple enough for anyone to use yet feature-rich enough for even the experts to get the most out of it. It features all of the basics such as cutting, trimming, merging, rotating and cropping videos. Basic effects are also included such as changing contrast, brightness and saturation. There is also a wide range of more advanced effects such as adding reflection or a pinhole effect. These can be applied to a whole video or just part of it.
The standout feature though is the inclusion of integrated video templates. These are completely customisable and include dramatic text animations, photo slideshows, intro and outro designs and full music soundtracks. You can then add your own content into the design. It’s a very slick way of making videos and they play directly from within the software without having to export anything.
Aside from video there are also options to make Gif and Photo slideshows. These have the same range of customisable templates and effects which makes them a nice alternative if video isn’t your thing. There is even an option to add pan and zoom effects to photos.
The nice thing about Wideo is that it is available as both a free version (with some paid for options) as well as a fully paid for version with no limitations. The free version has a watermark across all your videos but otherwise is fully functional. If you like the software and want to support the developers then purchasing it is well worth it though.
Operating System: Windows, Mac, Linux
Cinelerra is an historical open-source favourite of mine. It’s been around since 2003 when it won a call for software from the US government. Despite its age it still holds up well even against more modern software.
Cinelerra is primarily aimed at the professional users and has one of the steepest learning curves of any tool on this list but offers an extremely high level of control over the finished video. It’s also one of the few applications on this list that supports 3D editing.
Cinelerra works with all standard formats and just about any type of video format you can think of including VR video. It is also able to work with a huge range of sound files and integrate them into your video. You can even edit the audio of a video without worrying about synchronising the video to it later.
Cinelerra supports both the Linux and Windows operating systems.
Other video editors you might like
There are literally hundreds of other options when it comes to video editing software.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Drawing of layout documentation as the basis of logistics management system of a company literature review, new methodics, case study (M Hart, P Taraba, M Tomaštík – 2014 International Conference …, 2014 – ieeexplore.ieee.org)
- Analysis of alternative Friction Surface Materials of Piaggio Ape Model Clutch Plate using FEA (SK Jaladhi, M Kareemulla, BK Kumar, MVRS Chakri… – 2017 – academia.edu)
- Getting Started with DraftSight (J Santos – 2013 – books.google.com)
- Design and Analysis of Automotive Powertrain Using Static, Model, Thermal and Transient Structure Analysis Techniques (G RAVI, K APARNA – core.ac.uk)
- Can open-source 3D mechanical CAD systems effectively support university courses (L Di Angelo, F Leali, P Di Stefano – Int. J. Eng. Educ, 2016 – researchgate.net)
- Experiences in Using Open Source Software for Teaching Electronic Engineering CAD (S Busbridge, DS Gill – The European Conference on Technology in the …, 2015 – core.ac.uk)
- SolidWorks® (DS SolidWorks – 2005 – solidxperts.com)
- Tuotekuvitus SolidWorks Visualizella (N Hiltunen – 2020 – theseus.fi)