Need some help choosing 3-D software for our graphic design team. We need to produce simple, yet realistic renderings of labeled candles for presentations. We also produce plan-o-grams for customers that show a variety of product on shelves. Our current renderings are done with the 3-D tool in illustrator and leave a lot to be desired. We are all proficient in Illustrator, InDesign & Photoshop. Would like to keep cost low, below ~$700/license if possible.

We have looked into Rhino but are wondering if there are any that we have missed. Any ideas??

  • Have you looked at Cheetah 3D? Good value and easy to use. They do a free trial version too. I've use it for lots of product visuals and it does a great job. Mac only though.
    – Westside
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 13:53
  • 2
    At that price point most software will be off the table. I would personally recommend Maya but you can get some really nice results in Blender especially if you're just doing product renderings. blender.org Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 13:55
  • Maya and 3dmax cost twice that per year. As blender is free it only costs a few hours time to see if it works for you, if it can't then look at other software. This video would be relevant with what you plan to do. Watch this video about a small animation studio that spends it's budget helping develop blender so that it better fits their needs, you get little input in improving commercial software.
    – sambler
    Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 3:32

3 Answers 3


I'm finding my way round Blender at present. It's a very capable program but the interface takes some getting used to. Rendered results are impressive and there's tons of tuition on YouTube.

Or there's Strata3D, which has a very Illustrator-like interface.


All even slightly respectable 3D Applications can make what you ask. Even free ones. The question you want to answer is what your team knows how to use, nothing more nothing less. I mean every DCC application, Every solid CAD and every industrial design app can do this.

If you feel that your not the best of modellers out there, and your texturing needs aren't all that complex then you may want to use a solid cad like say solidowrks, creo or even fusion 360. The benefit of parametric cads is that making changes to the models is WAY easier than in DCC Apps like Maya or Blender. If your texturing is your main problem then use a DCC app, blender is fine.

If somebody knows how to use Rhino then get it but otherwise i dont think its necessarily money well spent since your not going to be doing a lot of surface modeling

However considering your budget: Your probably much better off using your budget on training and consulting on getting up a pipeline than the actual app. Get on site training not some online stuff.

  • For fun, to see if i still can do this, I tested to do a somewhat convincing studio rendering over a text console (yeah no GUI, all modeling done in text editor) of a candle. But i ran out of patience with the placement of a logo or second surface... So i left it at this (most time used in waiting for renders) this si what i got in about 10 minutes of typing and 20 minutes of waiting for render spreads: this is the point where i quit, used free 3delight license over console to my home computer. I admit im getting a bit rusty at this.
    – joojaa
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 20:50

go for Blender, it's powerful and with it being open source theres tons and tons of people using it, that means tons and tons of tutorials on youtube

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