Lightwave 3D

Newtek’s Lightwave 3D is a complete modeling, animating, and rendering package. A free version of this software is available online and called the discovery edition.

Unfortunately, this edition is severely limited in an effort to combat piracy. To get any real kind of functionality you are going to have to knuckle down and buy the software license. The good news is you can acquire a student license for relatively cheap. I purchased mine for under $300. This is a steal considering what you get. Lightwave brings you the most bang for your buck in my opinion. There may be other 3D programs out there that have more capability, but you aren’t going to get them for close to the price of Lightwave. As with all 3D software, the learning curve can be a little bit steep at first. Newtek has done an excellent job at making the world of 3D animation as user friendly as possible here. Stick with it and soon you’ll be flying through the user interface commands like they were hardwired to your brain. I highly recommend this program for anyone interested in 3D modeling or animation.