7 Great Online Resources for Freelance Designers Learning 3D Visualization

Online Resources to Learn 3D Visualization

There was a time when 3D modeling and visualization courses were only available in formal school or higher education. It was very difficult to find quality courses or learning materials online.

Things have changed, and everybody now has plenty of options that are easily accessible across the web. Subscription-based online training platforms have become the norm and there are courses designed for different skill levels as well. Some courses are intended for beginners, while others are well-suited for the more advanced learners and even professionals.

Those who work as freelancers providing 3D modeling design services can also improve their technical capabilities without having to enroll in any kind of formal training in an educational institution. Some courses are actually downloadable for buyers to read and watch later at more convenient times.

Whether you are just starting to like 3D visualization, working as a freelance CAD designer in the industry, or simply want to hone your skill and broaden your knowledge of the subject in general, here are some of the best online resources to consider.

7 Online Resources to Learn 3D Visualization


Udemy Logo

Powered by more than 42,000 instructors and with about 100,000 online courses, Udemy earns its place as one of the largest learning resources all around the web.

The platform does not only offer learning programs for 3D visualization. It provides courses for various subjects including business development, social science, health & fitness, music, and photography. Think of it as one massive online school with tens of thousands of educators from many different professional backgrounds teaching a wide range of disciplines.

Its 3D modeling and animation courses are listed under the “Design” category. Another advantage is that you can choose specific courses based on their difficulty levels ranging from beginner to intermediate and expert. Duration varies from just two hours to more than 17 hours in length.

At the time of writing, Udemy has more than 1,800 3D & Animation courses. Most are available for less than $15, but you can also find more than 180 free courses.

Udemy is a gigantic educational service, yet it remains affordable for most considering that each student gets access to great online classes and professional-level tutorials.

It is an excellent alternative to many other CG (Computer Graphic) schools, especially for beginner-level learners or individuals who are still unsure whether or not to pursue a career in AutoCAD drawing services or 3D modeling and visualization in general.

There isn’t too much money involved in the learning process in Udemy, making it an interesting option for those in the initial stage of developing their 3D modeling skills. ‘Expert” level courses also are at the same price range, and there are even free courses for this stage too.

Courses include lectures, video tutorials, and lessons to help you acquire new skills and technical knowledge of 3D CAD software functionality, how to use their features, and basically get a better understanding of basic to advanced visualization concepts whether in games, architecture, illustration, web design, or another digital arts industry.

ZBrush Workshops


As the name suggests, the platform focuses only on 3D modeling methods using ZBrush software. Instead of delivering the courses in classroom-like format with lectures and lessons, the learning process is available in a number of modules. Registered users have access to eight modules in total; each contains recorded explanations and tutorials.

ZBrush Workshops is smaller in scale compared to Udemy, and it is not the place to go if you are looking to improve general knowledge of 3D modeling and visualization. However, this is certainly at the top of the list for those who use (or intend to master) ZBrush for most of their 3D modeling work.

You will spend six to eight hours per module, or more than 50 hours to complete the entire course. It is designed to help beginners and professionals to avoid some of the most common mistakes in the digital sculpting process. Ryan Kingslien, one of the original team members who brought ZBrush to popularity, is the instructor in the modules.

At the end of the course, learners will be able to develop a better approach at 3D sculpting and skills that will set apart a pro from a newbie. There will be lessons on the most effective strategies to turn basic structures into visually-pleasing forms and how to apply different types of brushes in the most effective way.

Accessible at just under $20, ZBrush Workshops modules are far from being expensive, yet it can be the best investment you make in your career, particularly if you expect to work with ZBrush quite often.

Another advantage is that the courses are available on-demand, so you can go at your own pace; there is no sense of urgency and you can spend as many hours as you need sculpting and re-sculpting any particular design before going through the exercises/assignments. The courses also cover rendering, lighting, and texturing.


CGSchool Logo

Even if you are a seasoned artist offering 3D architectural rendering services, there is always something new to learn about 3D visualization. In case it is impossible for you to take private courses or more conventional educational programs, then CGSchool is the one to consider.

The learning materials contain extensive video training of architectural visualization using popular software such as 3ds Max, Photoshop, and V-Ray. There are two different course levels available including beginner/intermediate and masterclasses.

Each level contains hours of materials compiled by full-time professional visualization artists from well-known studios. Free training is also available through it’s not as extensive.

  • Beginner/Intermediate course consists of 125 hours of video training divided into nine parts. There are four video lessons on 3ds Max, three on V-Ray, and two on Photoshop. Each part comes at $19, or you can purchase them as a bundle for $99.
  • Masterclasses training only has four parts that make up a total of 57 hours of video duration. Experienced professionals from major studio productions including AMD, Neospace, Kilograph, and Factory Fifteen take the role as instructors. Masterclasses course is more expensive at $49 per video.

Videos are available as on-demand contents, or you can download everything after making a purchase from the CGSchool website.

The online learning resources from the platform are not cheap, although the bundle purchase for the Beginner/Intermediate level is at a discounted price. As far as educational content is concerned, it’s all about quality and the videos do not disappoint indeed.

Considering that CGSchool is also the only company that provides Autodesk Authorized books while at the same time exists as an independent visualization production studio, you will find very few (if any) learning resources as in-depth and comprehensive as the videos training from the platform. It does cost quite a bit of money, but it is going to be money well-spent if you’re really serious about what you do.


3Dmotive Logo

Claiming to have the best tutorials on game art and 3D modeling across the web (an expected claim from just about every learning platform out there), 3Dmotive used to focus heavily on game development. Now they have expanded their material to cater to a much wider audience.

It has learning courses for almost all popular 3D CAD software including Maya, Unity, Unreal, Blender, Photoshop, 3ds Max, and more. Topics are also quite diverse such as modeling, texturing, sculpting, rigging, animation, lighting, rendering, VFX, UI, world-building, and game development. Courses are divided into three difficulty levels: beginner, intermediate, and expert.

It is a subscription-based learning platform which also offers a number of good quality free learning materials as well. There are more than twenty free videos at the time of writing, and the website states that new content is added on a weekly basis.

A subscription gives you immediate access to the entire library. It is also possible to purchase and download the materials instead of watching them online every single time. The website itself is a breeze to navigate through with clear layout and sorting options based on software, topics, and difficulty levels. The free section along with all of its content is easy to find. There is no sorting according to price, but the courses are relatively affordable between $10 and less than $40 per video.

With two options to acquire the learning materials (subscription and per-video purchase), 3D motive is more versatile in terms of accessibility, with the possibility to watch videos on mobile devices. Despite the platform’s seemingly ambitious expansion to various subjects, content distribution remains heavy on game developments at the moment. The good thing is that you can take a look at the free videos first to get a glimpse of the overall course quality and whether it’s what you’re looking for.

Autodesk University

Autodesk University Logo

If you’ve been spending quite some time scouring the web for learning resources on AutoCAD drawing services provided by well-known companies, chances are Autodesk University came up in your search. And assuming you are familiar with how big companies promote their products, no one will blame you for getting skeptical about this nice gesture from this particular giant.

It is hard to overlook the fact that Autodesk University is a form of a smart campaign on the company’s part to get more people to buy its vast array of 3D CAD products. While this is true, the actual learning materials available are some of the best you can find online.

Despite the rather obvious marketing ploy, Autodesk University earns its place as a top knowledge hub for all 3D modeling and visualization enthusiasts, both beginners and seasoned artists.

Of course, the software utilized to deliver all explanations, tips, tricks, and demonstrations are the company’s own products, but it does not really matter because they are in fact used by a great number of professionals.

Classes are sorted based on software and topics; rest assured that there are more learning materials than you can consume in months. Many of the courses are actually free and of good quality to balance out the exposure to Autodesk’s advertising campaign.

It is a massive library of learning materials including practical knowledge and overview of the latest trends in the industry. Some classes include text handouts, while others also have images and videos. They are all free and downloadable, so you can read and watch them offline at your own pace.

Ignore the subtle marketing campaign and focus instead of the free courses available. As you read more and watch more content, you’ll gradually become a better 3D modeling and visualization artist without spending a dime. Conferences and classes, on the other hand, are premium offerings.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning Logo

The name does not sound like a great place to learn about 3D modeling and visualization, until you realize that Lynda is now a part of it.

Lynda is one of the most well-known destinations for online classes, while LinkedIn has earned a reputation as the social network of professionals. And the combination of the two certainly does make an enticing proposition.

Bear in mind that LinkedIn Learning is similar to Udemy in some aspects, in the sense that both offer online courses for a wide range of subjects rather than focusing on 3D-related industries. It is a premium subscription-based platform; but you get a one-month free trial, enough time to get familiar with the range of courses and their quality.

Graphic design including 3D visualization, animation, motion graphics, and VFX are listed under the “Creative” course category. LinkedIn Learning has easy sorting options based on almost anything related to the courses, for example, difficulty level (beginner, intermediate, and advanced), type of materials (course, videos, and learning paths), duration (from less than 10 minutes to more than three hours), and software.

It has plenty of tutorials on many different 3D CAD software including SolidWorks design services, Maya, 3DS Max, SketchUp, Blender, AutoCAD, V-Ray, Revit, Inventor, and more. Courses are downloadable so can watch them offline, even on mobile devices.

One thing that sets LinkedIn Learning apart from the competitors is its personalization feature. The platform offers personalized course recommendations based on your profile information, so it can (at least theoretically) guide you to the right path to learning skills and knowledge necessary for your current profession.

Completing each course grants you a certificate visible on your LinkedIn profile too. For a bit more money, you may want to subscribe to the platform’s Premium Career feature for a networking advantage. It is an excellent addition for 3D rendering freelancers and business owners to reach out to potential clients and employees.


Pluralsight Logo

Formerly known as Digital-Tutors, Pluralsight is an established online destination for new and intermediate 3D artists. It is an online educational platform similar to LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offering a wide range of courses on various subjects although Pluralsight mostly revolves around the IT industry including software development, cybersecurity, and big data.

Graphic design and 3D modeling & visualization courses are available through several different sets of courses. For example, Creative Professional, Manufacturing & Design, Architecture, and Engineering & Construction.

Pluralsight is a premium online learning platform with a 10-day free trial period. Personal subscription packages start at $29 per month or $299 billed annually. Subscribed users have access to the entire library, offline viewing, course discussions, and exercise files among others.

There is also a Premium subscription which includes everything in the personal package along with certification practice exams, projects based on real-world scenarios, and interactive courses. Premium subscription is ideal for individual learners or freelancers, while companies or teams can take advantage of the platform’s Professional and Enterprise subscription packages that come with skill and performance analytics features.

Classes are listed under various categories called “Paths.” If you want to focus on AutoCAD drawing services, for example, you can take the AutoCAD Core Skill, which includes everything from drafting to rendering tutorials.

An interesting feature in Pluralsight is the Skill IQ quiz used to test your current skill level. At the end of the quiz, it will determine whether you are a novice, expert, or something in between, so you know exactly where to start.

There is an overwhelming amount of courses to take in Pluralsight, making the navigation a little confusing at first. With the range of classes available and the quality of learning materials provided, however, you will most likely find what you need and appreciate the broad collection of courses.

Final Thoughts

3D modeling & visualization enthusiasts or hobbyists can always take advantage of free courses available and spread all across the web. In case they are interested and serious enough about improving their skills, there are premium options available as well.

It is also safe to say that even professionals need to re-visit training videos and tutorials every now and then. And when the industry introduces new trends, it is important to stay up-to-date with fresh courses and learning materials.

Online classes are constantly updated with new content added on a regular basis to keep up with consumers’ demands and provide professionals all around the world a quick walkthrough to tackle possible technical difficulties.

Cad Crowd Can Help

Sometimes, there is no need to learn everything yourself. You can rely on pre-vetted and experienced professionals instead. Cad Crowd has a database of confidential freelancers from all over the world who can assist with a variety of projects. Learn how it works.

If you are willing to see different renditions of your idea, you can do so by launching a contest. Find out how to launch a design contest in less than 15 minutes and choose the submission that you like best.