Paul Hatton takes a look at the top 10 places to get your hands on free 3D scripts, plugins and resources...
Let's be honest. It would be nice to be able to rely on our 3D modelling packages to provide us with everything we need but unfortunately they don't. In reality they are far from the finished article, mention no names! Because of this we need to rely on plugins, scripts and other resources to fill the gaps. We're going to look at a variety of different places where you can go to find these and we'll be covering a whole range of different software. You've been warned! Let's jump straight in then.
There is a huge range of repositories out there giving you access to both free and paid plugins. Bookmarking them and checking back every so often is well worth the time.
This resource has been around for years and is brilliant for 3ds Max users. A whole range of people post their 3ds Max scripts to this repository which means that you get loads of small random scripts which make artists lives' easier. The chances are that if you are stuck doing a repetitive task then there will be a script in here for it.
The search feature is excellent for finding your way around.
Neil has provided to the 3D community a fantastic collection of free scripts which can be utilised inside 3ds Max. Many of the scripts are based on his time at Blur Studio so you know that they have real world production value. You can pick through each individual script and just make use of the ones that you want to.
The website is pretty much just information devoted to the scripts but everything you need is there including a table breakdown of the scripts.
Itoo is an absolute heavyweight when it comes to the 3D world of plugins and software! Many of their plugins require payment but they also have some other downloadable plugins which can save you time. If nothing else it will give you exposure to a company who is incredibly capable of create 3D software to make your life easier.
The downloads sections shows you what Itoo offer to users for free.
This is another repository which has been around for ages and has a ridiculously dated interface. If you can put that to one side, then you'll find a website rich with 3ds Max plugins. It's similar to Scriptspot in that anyone can post scripts so you get a massive variety of resources to download.
The interface is dated but the search feature helps a lot.
CINEMA 4D plugins
Paul Everett has provided a whole host of plugins for CINEMA 4D. And I quote them: ‘Paul Everett has been developing plugins for over 15 years and worked as a software developer for MAXON Computer GmbH, on projects such as MoGraph and others. Paul's plugins aspire to provide the CINEMA 4D user with the tools they need, to go beyond the scope of the inbuilt tool set.'
The easy to use website shows you exactly what is on offer and how to download it.
SketchUp is a much more powerful piece of software then people often give it credit it for. Don't let its simple interface fool you! Despite its ability to create complete models it does most definitely benefit from a warehouse of extensions. These range all the way from rendering to 3D printing.
The website even lets you filter based on what version of SketchUp you are using which is incredibly handy.
Autodesk provide a portal for Maya users to download a whole range of apps. Many of them require payment but you'll find some really useful free options. One example is Sketchfab for Maya which lets you publish your 3D models directly from inside of Maya.
The filters down the LHS enable you to get to exactly what you want quickly and efficiently.
I begin by quoting the website: ‘ZBrush can be enhanced by ZExtensions which add new functionality to ZBrush's already powerful feature set.' They house the most popular and widely-used of these plugins, made by Pixologic and its users.
The navigation leaves a lot to be desired but it has a range of tools available for download.
If you want a repository that provides plugins and resources for a range of pieces of software then this is definitely for you. Most of them are paid for but they do have a ‘Free stuff' section which gives you access to productivity tools and free demos.
They often have special deals on which can make buying multiple pieces of software more financially feasible.
No doubt you'll have heard of this but maybe you didn't know they also provide plugins. It's a fairly small selection but no doubt you'll find some useful options for improving your workflow. It's well worth a look.
Simply navigate the list to find what you want. It's not a particularly long list.
Installing scripts & plugins
Every piece of software is different when it comes to running or installing scripts and plugins. 3ds Max for example has a few file formats and these can either be ran, installed and even placed on a short cut key. The location of download usually gives you the necessary information for how to make use of what you're downloading. Scriptspot for example has a separate page giving instructions for installing and running their files. If you're not sure then a simple Google search will definitely point you in the right direction.
Top 10 places for free 3D models
Top 10 places for free textures
Free textures on 3dtotal
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