Rendering

Rendering software for desktop computers and smartphones bring a valuable toolset into the hands of creative minds. Rendering software holds countless applications, extending from interior design to 3D animation. Regardless of how you wish to apply the functionality of rendering software, there is most definitely a tool that is best suited to your given task. Rendering software has reached new pinnacles and all that is needed to begin creating your very own models and animations is a powerful PC, open source software and a desire to learn and express yourself. Here we take a look at the tools that you need to get yourself going in the direction of software rendering, without any cost (other than the hardware) any all. These tools can also be used in conjunction with 3D printers to custom design any printable that you have developed.

Beginning with 3D Rendering

If you have decided that you will to begin the journey into 3D rendering, then one needs to find a platform to start with. There are a few open source packages that give users a powerful framework from which to create all forms of machinations of the imagination. One fantastic free software package does however stand tall above the rest, giving far more freedom and power to the creative designer.

Blender

Blender is a software suite that has been released under the GNU General Public Licence, and it is thus completely free software. Blender can be used for any purpose whatsoever, including those for promotion and resale. All images, movies and in actual fact any data produced with Blender is your sole property. Blender is an extremely popular framework that can be used for the creation of art, movies or 3D models. The engine can also be used for game playback. Blender’s community is filled with avid fans, eager to help with any queries that may arise. There is also more than enough documentation being fed to the community by the Blender developers. This is a rendering studio like no other, an equal match to almost any commercial application that is publicly available.

Learning Blender

Now that you have such a powerful tool before you, the task of actually learning the software can be quite daunting. All that is takes action, and the same goes for learning blender. We have compiled a list of Blender tutorials and guides, but all the theory in the world will not teach you how to develop 3D rendering of scenes, objects and models. Take the resources below and put them to practice.

Blender Wiki – This is an often overlooked treasure trove of invaluable resources to the student of Blender.

Creative Bloq: 33 Brilliant Blender Tutorials – These tutorials are easy to follow and show you what Blender is truly capably of.

CG Masters: Blender 3D Tutorials – A comprehensive collection of tutorials and guides, giving you the essentials that you need to get started with Blender.

Gryllus.net: Blender 3D Design Course – This fantastic site gives you everything that you need to learn and teach Blender. It is constantly updated and video guides are also provided for your convenience.

Software to Enrich 3D Design

There are lots of handy utilities that are freely available that help the design process greatly. Certain functions, such as sculpting, benefit from using a dedicated application for the task, in conjunction with Blender. After all a tool designed specifically for the job is likely to give wider scope it terms of functionality and creativity. Here are some great apps that you can use to fine-tune your 3D rendering and other creative works, once you have become a bit more familiar with what is involved.

Sculptris

Sculptris is a multiplatform application that allows for highly detailed, advanced sculpting. It is a completely free tool for Windows and Mac that allows one to delve into the world of 3D sculpting with no limits. Sculptris is the freeware alternative to Zbrush, a leading sculpting application. The functionality and usage of this free app mimics Zbrush, making it easy to transition to the paid, powerhouse Zbrush. In its own right, Sculptris is an outstanding 3D design application that allows for a great introduction to 3D sculpting and painting.

Unity

Unity is a fantastic game engine that works wonderfully alongside Blender. Using the Unity game engine and Blender, one can develop everything from mobile games to next generation 3D renderings. Unity is primarily aimed at desktop and mobile development, and does not particularly cater to console games, although the possibilities to develop for consoles is there. Unity does offer a professional licence for those that have commercial interests, charged at $75 per month, however for anything else there is a free version available.

MeshLab

Meshlab is a great tool for working with 3D meshes, and the first of its kind in the open source arena. If you ever begin using laser scan data to assemble 3D meshes then this tool will be invaluable. It has fantastic capabilities of assembling 3D meshes from laser-data. Until one reaches a fairly advanced degree of skill, Meshlab will not be used. But once needed, this tool is essential.

Basic 3D Rendering Software that Do Need Specialized Skills

These applications listed are free to use and do not need any specialized skillset of knowledge base to operate, nothing near as expansive as Blender or paid applications such as Maya. If you want to dabble with 3D rendering, then these are the cream of the crop.

K3DSurf

K3DSurf is a fun, free tool that allows one to create and visualize mathematical models in three, four, five and six dimensions, the experience itself is quite immersive. For those that like to match creative and logic, K3DSurf is a great way to visually get those ideas out there. It makes a fun experience out of mathematical drawings and equations, giving a 3D rendering that is accurate as well.

eDrawings

eDrawings is a great platform for both technical and everyday individuals across all fields to get together and share their 3D creations. eDrawings makes creating and observing 3D models of all sorts of everyday objects and designs, quick and easy. The act of interacting with a predesigned model is rather addictive, leading many users to devising their own 3D creations, and in turn veering into the software rendering field for the first time.

Art of Illusion

Art of Illusion is a 3D design, modelling and rendering application, similar to blender but having less functionality and an interface that is leaps and bounds simpler. Art of Illusion is easy to pick up and use, very a learning curve that is quick to grasp. One can take advantage of many 3D creations available online to become familiar with the tool itself. Despite the limited capabilities when compared to blender, Art of Illusion is still nevertheless a tool that can produce outstanding 3D renderings.

3DTin

3DTin is a browser-based 3D modelling tool and community that aims to make the process of design easy to accomplish. One can explore the thousands of creations of others making this a favoured resource of those new to 3D printing.

123D Creature

123D Creature is a must have for anyone that owns an iPad. This iOS only app is made by Autodesk Inc. and allows for the easy, intuitive and yet highly customisable creation of 3D characters that are nothing short of amazing. The experience is highly rewarding and the creations are ready to be exported as an image, or 3D printed as a sculpture. In terms of 3D printing, this is one of the best apps available, almost making the purchase of an iPad for it alone, worthwhile.

Professional 3D Rendering

Should you have progressed to the point whereby you are now designing and earning money and or progress as a sizable reward, then it is logical to look towards more professional applications with wider scope. The need for such tools is normally exclusively for professionals, as the high cost is typically too high for beginners to even begin considering purchasing these high end tools. Once you have reached that pinnacle in your career, the following applications are considered to be standards of the industry.

Autodesk Maya

Maya is the foundation of 3D modelling and the rendering of animations. It is power hungry and can put any resources that you give it to work, giving real-time rendering of your creations. All major engines are supported by Maya, giving designers the basis to render accurate fluids, skin, fur, hair, muscle, cloth and other complex physics. You imagine it and Maya has a way to do it.

Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D is the competing 3D design studio to Maya. It compares in every way, matching Maya on almost all functions. When it comes to which is better, it seem to be simply a matter of personal preference. Cinema 4D is praised for being much easier to use than Maya, although Maya is said to hold many complex design capabilities that are not yet implemented by Cinema 4D. Regardless they are both quite evenly matched, with Cinema 4D specializing in the placing and modification of 3D elements within scenes.

The Best Video Converters

Video conversion is an exercise that we all, whether frequently or infrequently, will carry out. There are countless tools and utilities available for all platforms and devices that make the conversion of video from one format to another quick and easy. In areas where internet connection speeds are not fast enough to stream without extreme delay and resultant buffering, it is often better to convert the video to a lower quality format and then download it. Video conversion is also handy when needing to playback any given video on a specific device, with fixed codec restrictions. The size of the display that you’re using to watch any given video can also be used as a determination for the format that you need to convert it to. Regardless of what video file or format you are working with, on whichever device or operating system, we have provided a useful tool to help you get the job done. Take a look below at our overview of the best video converters available.

Microsoft Windows Video Conversion Tools

Any Video Converter

Any Video Converter is a free utility that is supported by both Windows and MacOS, giving you the ability convert almost any video source to any other video format. Any Video Converter supports over one hundred different input formats and can convert to over one hundred and sixty different outputs. It handles lossless conversion flawlessly and fully supports the 4K UHD video format with absolutely no issues.

Any Video Converter is thirty times faster than the average competitor, at the task of converter video. It even allows you to download videos and music directly from many popular sources, such as YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and Dailymotion, to name but a few. It even gives you the ability to burn videos directly to a DVD or AVCHD, allowing for direct playback on any device or TV. There is nothing lacking from this fantastic free tool, giving one even basic video editing functionality.

Format Factory

Format Factory is a great video converter that offers an easy to understand interface and top-class performance. Converting to and from a multitude of formats is made simple and straightforward through the clever design of Format Factory. This fantastic free download lets you convert not just videos, but audio and images as well. The amount of files that it supports is staggering, with its line-up. Format Factory even repairs damaged videos, restoring broken files to a state in which they are playable. The conversion of pictures, video or audio are all equally as easy, making this free application an great asset to anyone that has conversion needs.

Mac OS Video Conversion Tools

Handbrake

Handbrake is a great video conversion tool that comes at no cost. It is supported by both MacOS and Windows operating systems. The conversion speed of this free converter is outstanding, do not let its minimalistic interface scare you off. Using Handbrake is very easy as every last facet of this tool benefits from intuitive design. Handbrake allows you to convert from multiple source formats to either MP4 or MKV.

One is presented multiple options during the process of conversions, allowing one to optimize video for the web, TV or iPods and phones. If you are looking for an open source application to get a conversion done quickly, then look no further than Handbrake There are very few free Mac based apps that can come even close to the performance of Handbrake.

MacX Video Converter

MacX Video Converter is a free tool that allows you to convert multiple file and video types into alternate formats, opting to reduce the quality if you so wish. Built-in are video editing features so that you can clip, edit, and divide your footage in chapters and perform all other basic editing tasks with minimal effort. MacX Video Converter allows for the extraction of audio from video, and also makes it easy for you to take a snapshot from any section of any video, storing it as a still image. This great tool even gives you presets for conversion, ensuring that you video will definitely play on the Apple device that you intend it to. Presets for all major formats are also supplied. MacX Video Converter is one of the easiest apps to use on the MacOS platform, a definite content for the top spot of video conversion.

Linux Video Conversion Tools

WinFF

WinFF is a great video converter freely available for Linux and Windows platforms. This great free software can be best described as a graphical frontend for ffmpeg, a front end that is very much needed by the general public. WinFF supports a huge range of video formats thanks to ffmpeg, and the conversion is lightning quick. Linux based utilities conventionally have a performance bonus that tops alternate platforms, and this is especially true for WinFF.

Regardless of what format you are converting to or from, WinFF breezes you through the process with ease, and has your converted video file ready in record time. This is one of the most powerful video converters available, across all platforms, and a definite first choice for anyone running a Linux distribution.

dmMediaConverter

dmMediaConverter is a free tool for Linux distributions which, similar to WinFF, is simply a frontend to ffmpeg. This frontend does a marvellous job of graphically presenting many of ffmpeg’s advanced features. It is easy to use and understand, whilst making the process of performing complex tasks not just possible, but straightforward too. Bulk conversion is fully supported, as are a range of features such as scaling, quality control, watermarks, subtitle burning, file merging and support for almost any codec. dmMediaConverter is a powerful tools in the hands of the advanced user and converts video at speeds that are profound.

Android Video Converters

Media Converter

Media Converter is a lightweight app with a download size of just 3MB that allows you to convert from multiple input sources to mp3, mp4, egg, avi, mpeg 1 and mpeg2, flv and wave formats. Multiple audio profile are also available, namely m4a, 3ga and oga. This easy to use free tool even allows one to clip audio tracks for use as ringtones, alerts or anything else of your choosing. The conversion time is fairly quick and it manages battery usage well during conversion. One has the option of multiple quality levels, this app is very versatile. Media Converter should definitely be the first choice of any Android owner.

Android Video Converter

Android Video Converter is a feature packed free app that gives you everything that you need to convert downloaded videos. Not only can one convert video and audio already held in storage, but one is also capable of using AVC’s interface to browse to YouTube and download any video of choice. AVC comes preconfigured with a host of different conversion filters, making it easy to be sure than you are converting a video to the correct format for your given device. File input and output type is comprehensive, one will struggle to find a format that is not supported by Android Video Converter.

iOS Video Converters

iConvt – Video Converter

iConvt is a simple to use video converter for iOS that is freely available. It supports 3GP, FLV, MOV, MKV, AVI, MPG and MPEG. Multiple audio formats are also fully supported. One can use this great free app to extract the audio from video, as well as convert to and from the multiple video formats. One is also given the option of reducing the quality of audio or video being converted. Another great feature is the ability to import videos from your camera roll, album and Dropbox folder. If you need to convert videos on any Apple device, turn to iConvt.

File Convert Free

File Convert Free is an iOS app that gives multi-format conversion functionality. One has the option of converter not only video files, but documents, images and other file types to matching formats. This is an extremely useful tool to have available thanks to the many different file types that it can convert. One can make multiple adjustments and edits prior to conversion, although only basic functionality is provided, for more advanced options a more specialized converter will be needed. It does however have everything that is needed to satisfy the demands of the majority of users. Never be stuck being unable to view or send a video, image or document again, download File Convert Free today.

Online Video Converters

Online video downloaders and converters are of great use to anyone that wants to conserve bandwidth. By first using an online service to reduce the file size and change the file type, one is left to download only the bare essentials, as was intended. The advantage to using a converter than is accessible from your browser is that you can use it on any device or platform, regardless of configuration or operating system. Here are the top three online video downloaders and converters available.

ClipConverter.cc

Simple, straight-forward and even available as a browser addon, ClipConverter.cc supports all popular video sites and allows for multiple conversion options. MP4, 3GP, AVI and MOV conversion in multiple quality variations is allowed, whilst one can also rip the audio from any audio or video source, outputting in either MP3, M4A or AAC. ClipConverter is a long running, reliable online video converter that will handle even 4K video needs, a definite first look for anyone seeking such services.

Convertfiles

Convertfiles.com is a minimalistic service provider that gives quick, accurate conversion of a wide range of different file types. Video, audio, images and documents can all be converted. When a large conversion is taking place, one can even request that a download link be emailed once the conversion is complete and the download is ready.

Offliberty

Offliberty is a free online service specializing conversion and download of online resources, including but not limited to videos, audio, documents and images. YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and most other sources can be supplied to Offliberty, which will then provide you a download link for your requested content. At a first look Offliberty may seem obscure, but it gives users a fantastic platform to use to download any online content that they want, not strictly just video. If there is something that you want to download but are not quite sure how, then give the link to Offliberty and it may have a solution for you.