Today, 3D models are required in many fields, including gaming, marketing, movies, education, engineering, art and design, medicine, and many others. However, creating a 3D model isn’t an easy job; the whole process of modeling, texturing, rigging, animating, and rendering takes considerable effort and skills, at least till now.
There is an AI available for almost everything, and 3D models aren’t an exception. You just need to provide a text description, and these AI tools can generate a 3D model in seconds. There are also tools that can create a 3D model from a 2D image, not necessarily using AI, though.
If you want to quickly generate custom 3D models at low cost or even for free, then these tools can be of great help. Although their quality can be questionable at times, here I am covering the ones that have consistently produced good-quality 3D models for me.
Scope of 3D Model Generators
Just like most other automatic and AI-based tools, these can’t offer the quality of a skilled 3D designer. However, they can still be very useful for many basic tasks that shouldn’t require the effort or expense of a dedicated designer. Below are some uses of 3D model generators:
In-game assets: These models can be useful in games where visuals matter less than gameplay, such as strategy games. An indie game developer can bring an idea to life with assets made by these tools.
Educational purposes: In education, making it easier to understand a concept is more important than quality; teachers and students can use these models to better explain a topic/project.
Placeholder Assets: In games and other work projects, these models can work as placeholders for testing purposes before being replaced by real models.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR): In both VR and AR, these models can be used either as early concepts or low-budget projects.
Product creation: Although limited in use, these tools can also generate 3D models of products for early concepts.
3D printing: If you are into 3D printing, these tools can provide a basic custom 3D model for you to print.
Work as a base model: You can always generate a base model and then improve upon it to create a final 3D model using your own 3D design software. This can ease the starting process and give you a headstart.
Of course, you can always buy 3D models for most of these purposes. However, if you want a custom 3D model that relates to your vision, a 3D model generator will be better (not to mention cheaper).
When it comes to quality, nothing beats 3DFY.ai. Although it’s limited to gaming and architecture, the quality of 3D models it generates is better than all the other 3D model generators in this list.
The tool depends on text input to generate 3D models using AI. My experiments, it didn’t always capture what I asked, but the outcome was still satisfactory. I will recommend that you don’t go into details too much and keep the input simple for precise results.
How to Use?
To use the tool, you need to select one of the categories among the 8 available, including lamps, sofas, tables, ottomans, cutlery, swords, shields, and axes. Once selected, provide a description that focuses on the overall object design and not tiny details. For example, tell it the object’s color, size, type, etc. but avoid trying to create custom shapes.
Depending on the category selected, it can take anywhere from 1-5 minutes to generate a 3D model. Once created, you can view the 3D model inside the 3DFY.ai viewer, which lets you view it from all corners and different representations like wireframe, UV, and solid.
3DFY.ai uses a credit system where you can buy separate credits to both generate 3D models and download them. By default, you’ll get 10 free credits to generate 3D models, but you’ll have to buy credits to download a model. The downloaded file will be in .glb, .fbx, or .blend format, so you won’t have to convert them.
Meshy has two tools, one to add AI texture to your 3D models and one to create 3D models using text descriptions. Since our focus is generating 3D models here, I am going to stick with the later feature. However, it’s worth using the other tool to further improve your creation.
From what I asked it to generate, the results usually had a realistic touch with a greater focus on texture, colors, and design. The 3D models may not be as high resolution as what 3DFY.ai generated, but Meshy captured the descriptions very well.
I also didn’t find any limitations on the type of objects; from simple swords to complex spaceships, it generated all.
How to Use?
The tool has an Object and Style section where you can provide a description of the object and its texture. In the Object section, make sure you mention exactly what you want to see in the base model. Therefore, it should talk about object size, shape, and anything attached/added to it.
In the Style section, you should talk about the actual texture, including colors and design. In my experience, it understood and applied textures very well but failed often when I gave it complex object descriptions. I will recommend you stick with simple object descriptions and focus on creating beautiful textures.
You can also use words like high quality, realistic, 4k, HDR, etc., to further improve the quality of the 3D model. If you are stuck, you can check out the guidelines by Meshy to better understand how to use prompts to get desired results.
Meshy also uses a credit system with 100 credits given for free which will let you generate 10 3D models for free. You can also download the free generated models in .glb format without paying any additional credits. When out of credits, you can buy 200 credits for $4, with discounts available for bulk purchases.
A simple tool to turn regular 2D images into 3D for 3D printing or creating a 3D model. Of course, Make3D can’t magically create a perfect 3D model from an image, but it does a really good of adding depth. You can further edit 3D models generated from it to create proper 3D models or even use them for relief or lithophane art.
How to Use?
When you’ll load the model for the first time, it will take a few minutes to load. Once loaded, just upload the image you want to convert to 3D, and it will automatically make it 3D. You can then download it or share/embed it.
The only customization you can make is to change the model from MiDaS v21 Small to MiDaS v21 Large. For best quality, use MiDaS v21 Large, as it offers the best results. However, it will again take quite a few minutes to load the model.
Best of all, the tool is completely free to use without any limitations.
Compared to other tools, this one does require some extra manual input from users, but the results are fantastic. Sloyd offers hundreds of prebuilt high-quality 3D objects in the categories of sci-fi, urban, military, medieval, furniture, and modular.
What makes it a custom generator is the ability to fully edit the look of the object to make a custom 3D model. Each object has its own set of options that lets you choose different types of it. You can then manually edit its parts individually to create a 3D model as per your need.
How to Use?
The tool has a viewer in the middle and a customization panel on the right side. First, choose an object from the list or search for one using the search bar at the top. Once selected, it will move to the viewer, and the object custom option will now show in the right panel.
Each object has its own options. For example, the sword can have options to switch to dual blades, pointy or angle blades, change grip, change guard, etc. Each of these options can be further customized by increasing/decreasing their size or thickness.
The options that are consistent are Wackiness and Dimensions. Wackiness lets you tilt and twist the object to give it a different shape. Dimensions simply increase the thickness of the object.
When you are done creating a custom 3D model, click on the Export Selected button, and it will let you download the 3D model in .obj or .glb formats.
For now, the product is still in the early stages, and the developer has made it completely free to use without any restrictions. The developer did state they are looking to monetize it using the credit system, but the current basic plan will stay free.
Bonus: Join the Waitlist
The concept of using AI-based 3D model generators is still in inception. There are many tools in the making that aren’t available for testing right now, including some from big names like NVIDIA and Google. If you are interested in trying out those tools when they become available, you can join their waitlist to be the first to try them when they become available.
Below I am listing some text-to-3D tools that are in the making and seem promising. Just click on the Join the Waitlist button and provide your details to be invited.
Among these, Meshy was the most reliable that gave me the most accurate results based on my prompts. In my opinion, the models generated by it are best used for game assets as they have a cartoonish touch. For a more formal look, the 3D models generated by 3DFY.ai are really good.
For over 9 years, Karrar has been writing about everything Windows and Google with a strict focus on improving security and finding ways to get more out of our devices.
Narendra Mohan Mittal
Narendra Mohan Mittal is a Senior Digital Branding Strategist and Content Editor with over 12 years of versatile experience. He holds an M-Tech (Gold Medalist) and B-Tech (Gold Medalist) in Computer Science & Engineering.