Digital Art 4 Best Blender Addons For Modeling (2024)

4 Best Blender Addons For Modeling (2024)

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Top Choice

Retopoflow 3

Runner Up

Proj. Modeling

Best Value

Blocksurfaces

Best Usage

Sketchn’carve

Blender is an expansive and helpful tool that is there to assist in the creation of many different 3D projects. It is free and open-source, making it accessible to a variety of users. Because it is open-source, Blender is best used when you take advantage of community-created addons. 

Blender is an excellent application without addons, but you will gain more out of the experience if you dive into the features the community has banded together to create. This is especially true if you have more specific projects in mind like modeling. 

Modeling is a type of project that needs a lot of different moving parts for it to work correctly. The features that already exist in Blender for modeling are lacking and would not be very helpful to anyone committed to 3D modeling.

If you are looking for some of the best addons to assist in your 3D model creation, keep reading for some suggestions. 

Check out this in-depth tutorial on Blender Modeling.

Key Takeaways

  • Many amazing addons for modeling are found in Blender, but the best is Retopoflow 3
  • Projection Modeling and SketchN’Carve both try to make 3D modeling more accessible to other types of artists by using different bases for modeling
  • Block Surfaces focuses on character creation and the sculpting side of 3D modeling

What Are the Best Blender Addons for Modeling?

Blender has many amazing addons, especially for modeling. The best thing about community-created work is that it is created by people passionate about what they are doing.

These addons are created by people who work with 3D models to make the process easier for everyone. Here are some of the top modeling addons for Blender, but we will only focus on the top four today:

Retopoflow 3

Retopoflow 3 was designed by artists for artists. It completely changes the way Blender handles the retopology process by giving it a more natural feel while also adding more control over each step. Gain seamless control of the creation, refinement, and detailing of your retopology by using this addon. 

Key Features:

  • Custom mesh rendering allows for low and high poly geometry to overlap more easily
  • Drag-and-click features have a sketch-like feel, making handling more natural for artists
  • Tools like the PolyPen give you maximum control over all the fine details of a model
  • Both the community and creator offer loads of support

Retopoflow User Experience: 

Retopoflow 3 gives users additional tools to help with the retopology step of the modeling process. The basic retopology features in Blender are extremely lacking, taking a lot of time and energy to get a halfway decent model.

With this tool, users find the hassle of creating a model is cut in half. From there, perfecting the design is a breeze. 

Retopoflow 3 has a sketch-like feel that makes it easy for artists to get the hang of it. Rather than the usual dull point-and-click experiences most users are used to, the drag-and-drop features make the process feel more natural while also giving the user more control over the exact retopology of their project. 

Tools like PolyStrips make creating the grid easy. Simply draw the area you want filled and it does it for you. It snaps each piece into place using intuitive technology to make it best suit your model.

From there, the PolyPen and Knife tool allows you to hone in on minute details to get the perfect segments. Finish up with the Relax and Tweak tools that will help you refine all of the edges and add the finishing touches easily. 

With how powerful this addon is, most users are left satisfied except for one hiccup. The biggest user complaint with Retopoflow 3 is the lag. It is perfect for mid and low-poly projects, as it states in its description, but once the poly count starts to climb, so does the lag. The lag can get severe enough to crash Blender and wipe projects.

However, the lovely thing about this addon is that the creator is here to help. The creator is responsive to any and all feedback, consistently rolling out new patches to fix any complaints people may have. If you have any questions, the creator is also happy to point you in the right direction. 

If you want a more comprehensive look at what’s out there in terms of Retopology Software Check out this article – Here.

Retopoflow Cost:

Retopoflow 3 – Reptopology Toolkit For Blender has different cost options depending on the user’s needs. Each purchase option gives the user a commercial license for using the product and is a one-time purchase.

The first purchase option is for individual use and this costs $85.99. The next tier is for a small team of two to five people, costing $151.99

The next tier up is for an indie team of six to fourteen people which costs $425.99. The last tier is for a larger studio of fifteen or more people and this costs $1,285.99. However, all students and teachers can get the addon for free on the owner’s GitHub. 

What We Like/Dislike About Retopoflow 3:

Like:

  • Gives a lot of control over fine details
  • Makes the retopology process faster to accomplish with ease
  • Support is responsive and open to feedback with patches constantly being put through for the application
  • Easy to set up and understand

Dislike:

  • Expensive
  • The higher the polycount, the more likely the addon is to lag

Retopoflow Scoring:

Retopoflow 3 is designed for low to mid-poly count projects and has trouble handling anything too big, lagging and crashing when overwhelmed.  However, if you use this application as it was designed, the tools and features make the retopology process a breeze. For that, it receives a 9.5 out of 10

Projection Modeling

Projection Modeling does as the name implies and turns a 2D projection into a complete 3D model. However, it is not as simple as it sounds. A lot of work goes into refining the details of the models and while the addon may make this process easier, many users still want a little more. 

Projection Modeling Key Features:

  • Creates 3D models using 2D projections
  • Gives control over each plane of of the model based on the curves and mesh planes of the original projection
  • Builds a model based on drawings alone
  • Can focus on small sections of  a model for more detail or on the entire model as a whole

Projection Modeling User Experience: 

Projection Modeling takes a lot of the hassle out of model building. The usual step-by-step plane-building days are gone. With a tool like this, the idea springs directly from the page with little to no effort. 

Starting with a flat projection becomes easy. You bend the planes a little bit, using the projections’ shadow to begin to build the model. With different detailing tools, focus on different parts of the same projection to add depth and dimension to your model, growing some areas while shrinking others. 

With projection 3D modeling, take it slow to enhance every detail. Work on one facing of the model to become fully satisfied before you move on. Eventually, return to blend all of the finer details. 

Not only does Projection Modeling work for simple shapes, like a chair or pillar seen in one of their many tutorials, but it also works for complex and intricate models. The example used by the creator is a robot suit with hundreds of different specific, changing lines. 

The intricacies of the suit would be enough to have any 3D model creator scared and unsure where to begin. With this addon, you start by simply tracing the art line-by-line. With each section you complete, you can manipulate a new section of the suit until you have the full picture. 

Besides how easy the tool makes model creation, users also marvel at how responsive and helpful the creator is. Any bugs and issues are addressed as soon as they come to his attention. There are also multiple, detailed tutorials available to help out anyone confused by the addon. 

However, even with all of these amazing benefits, users still feel like the addon could give more. It feels underdeveloped and lacking compared to many other addons. While helpful, it doesn’t have as many tools and features as many others do. 

Projection Modeling Cost:

Projection Modeling is a one-time purchase addon. The purchase comes with all of the features and tools as well as a commercial license for all products made using the addon. The addon itself only costs $20.

What We Like/Dislike About Projection Modeling:

Like:

  • Cheap
  • Makes creating a 3D model quick and hassle-free
  • Projections to model physics are intuitive and easy to figure out
  • The creator is helpful and responsive

Dislike:

  • Doesn’t have as many features and tools as other addons

Projection Modeling Scoring:

Projection Modeling changes the game for model creation. Turning 2D into 3D has never been easier, but this addon still has a lot of room for growth. For that, it receives a 9 out of 10

Block Surfaces

Block Surfaces is a game changer in terms of sculpting in Blender. The features provided by the addon speed up the character creation process beyond belief while still giving the user ultimate control over every detail.

However, it becomes overwhelming quickly to first-time users, making them wonder if the time saved creating is worth the time lost learning the intricacies of the addon. 

Block Surfaces Key Features:

  • Designed to make character creation and sculpting easier
  • Breaks down the entire process of building a character into palatable, controllable pieces
  • Work on model refinement in small pieces or large interconnected chunks
  • Takes out a lot of model-building hassle with premade blocks and tools

Block Surfaces User Experience: 

The entire process of building and sculpting a model just got easier thanks to Block Surfaces. The addon has dozens of different tools and features designed to lessen the load on any character creator.

The different things provided in the addon take out the usual, time-consuming hassle of refining perfect shapes or creating the same model over and over again. 

With this addon, the provided shapes speed up the sculpting process by giving a solid starting point. The existing shapes are used to start a model by dealing with the bigger picture. Combining mixtures of shapes to get the general form before starting the sculpting process takes away many time-consuming steps.

From there, use those same shapes to add dimension and depth to any model, zooming in to look at the fine details. Dragging and dropping different model parts to be duplicated and mirrored cut down on the time it would usually take to recreate limbs and other parts of the model. 

Besides the preexisting shapes, there is also a built-in character helper called BlockMuscle. After the basic shape is done, BlockMuscle converts any branches between limbs into muscle to give the character a life-like feel and add additional physicality to the model.

Different features in Block Surfaces also allow you to easily switch between blocking and final meshwork. Ironing out the details of a model has become simplified as you switch back and forth to see the full picture and add those last little details for the perfect character. 

Users are overjoyed with the amount of content that the addon provides, calling it a game-changer for any sculptor. Not only is the addon well-rounded and comprehensive, but the creator is constantly rolling out new updates to make the process of creation even easier. 

However, any addon will have its downsides. With how in-depth this addon is and the amount of features it provides, it gets very overwhelming very quickly.

Users get lost in the UI, unsure as to what they need to do to get their desired result. It takes a lot of time to fully figure out this addon and use it to its fullest potential. 

Block Surfaces Cost:

There is only one version of Block Surfaces available for purchase. It includes all of Block Surfaces, but also many of their old addons including BlockMuscle and BlockHardSurfaces.

In addition to those three applications, you also gain eight example characters to work with and are let in on all future updates for free. This is all for a one-time purchase of $49

What We Like/Dislike About Block Surfaces:

Like:

  • Character creation is made quick and easy with pre-existing features in the addon
  • The different parts of a character are broken down into palatable pieces for easy refinement and fixing
  • The creator is responsive and updates are constant

Dislike:

  • Overwhelming amount of features
  • Can be difficult to master

Block Surfaces Scoring:

Block Surfaces is a game changer for any model creator focused on sculpting. While it may be overwhelming to figure out at first, the amount of time saved using this addon and the control you gain over your character once you master it is well worth it. It easily earns an 8.5 out of 10

SketchN’Carve

SketchN’Carve is an addon for Blender designed to make the creation of 3D modeling more accessible to the average 2D artist.

This addon could be the perfect gateway between two worlds thanks to its expansive features and helpful tools. However, it is only helpful if it can be navigated and used without intense amounts of effort. 

SketchN’Carve Key Features:

  • Takes advantage of a preexisting Blender tool, Grease Pencil
  • Sketch and convert any drawing using this tool into a 3D model
  • Shapes snap together and align with pre-existing geometry with a single click
  • A rigid user interface that cannot be changed by the user

SketchN’Carve User Experience: 

SketchN’Carve takes advantage of a pre-existing Blender tool, Grease Pencil, as the basis for its development. By using a tool already built into Blender, it makes learning how to use it easier and it also means it handles well in Blender without much additional effort. 

SketchN’Carve comes with many helpful model design tools built into it. Different features make both the process of creation and the detailed refinement of 3D modeling easy. The sketch created by the user using Grease Pencil is then manipulated and developed in a variety of ways. 

If you are creating an in-depth model with multiple parts, line all of the sketches up along a preset geometry. Then with a quick click, each new piece that is drawn is placed into the geometry with no additional effort. 

Cut and slice, add and subtract, draw, mirror, and spin your creations with ease. SketchN’Carve is an all-encompassing tool that has anything you could ever need to both create and refine a 3D model. 

While it is nice to have everything you could ever need for a model in one place, it’s all for nothing if the user cannot figure out how to use the addon. The biggest complaint users have about this expansive addon is how confusing it is. 

The UI is a big block of text with no distinct helpful features. It is hard to look at and even harder to process, being almost impossible to navigate at first glance.

While the creator has uploaded many tutorials, the tutorials quickly become unhelpful as each update completely changes the addon. Even with how helpful the creator tries to be, it is still frustrating for any user to try to navigate. 

SketchN’Carve Cost:

There are two different versions of SketchN’carve available for purchase. The first is SketchN’Carve CORE which includes the basic version of the application with only a few additional features.

This costs $10. The full version of the application, SketchN’Carve, with dozens of additional features to make the modeling process more simplified. The full version of the application costs $34

What We Like/Dislike About SketchN’Carve:

Like:

  • Cheap
  • Makes the world of 3D art more accessible to 2D artists

Dislike:

  • Dense and overwhelming UI
  • Frustrating and time-consuming to learn
  • Outdated tutorials 

SketchN’Carve Scoring:

This addon could be a game changer with how many amazing tools it has available for use. However, if the addon is unusable, the features are pointless. With so much potential for greatness, SketchN’Carve earns an 8 out of 10.

Blender Addons for Modeling FAQS

Is Blender Good For 3D Modeling? 

Blender is one of the best software on the market, free or paid, for creating 3D models. It is easy to learn and accessible to beginners while still being excellent for advanced designers thanks to the vast amount of community-created addons. 

Is Blender Good For Beginners?

Blender is good for beginners because it is free and open-source. However, Blender is very difficult to understand at first. The interface is overwhelming and the learning curve is known to be steep.

However, with how big the community is, there are endless resources out there to help any beginner navigate the application. 

Is It Worth It To Get Addons For Blender?

Yes, it is very worth it to get addons for Blender. Blender is free for use and at its base level, it works perfectly fine. However, if you want to take full advantage of what the application is capable of, investing in addons is worth it.

While some can be pricey, many out there are budget-friendly. It is easy to find ones that will fit your niche for a decent price

Do I Need a Good PC To Run Blender?

Yes, it is better to have a nice PC to run Blender. This is especially true if you plan to buy addons. Most addons for Blender expect your PC to have a good CPU with a multi-core processor that has high clock speeds. It is the only way to ensure Blender runs as it should. 

Conclusion

Blender is well-loved because it is open-source and free. It is run by its thriving community who want nothing more than for it to continue to grow. The draw of Blender is the loving community of creators who want to help others in their artistic journeys. 

Modeling is a difficult type of 3D project and it takes a lot of moving pieces to create a finished product. This process will be made a lot easier with the help of these addons or the help of others.

Whether you are just starting with 3D modeling or are seasoned in this field, keep searching for the best tools to help in your journey.