What 3D Animation Software Is Used by the Best Product Design Companies?

What 3D Animation Software Is Used by the Best Product Design Companies

3D animation is an integral part of creating high quality, engaging renderings that catch the eyes of customers. Animations are a powerful tool that help to not only engage customers, but to give them an accurate and compelling representation of a product.

3D animations do more than just show the viewer what a product is. They show the customer how the product works and helps them to envision this product working in their home. In industries like engineering, product design, drafting services, and architecture, they provide the information needed for those who are not skilled at reading 2D drawings to understand a project.

Further, clients without training in reading 2D drawings simply cannot be expected to accurately read a 2D drawing, and a well-done 3D animation allows all clients, regardless of training, to interact with a product design. A well-done 3D animation can showcase the plans that a designer has for a project and sell clients on the idea because it enables them to visualize it and understand it in a way that is far superior to that offered by 2D drawings.

A good 3D animation ensures that there are no misunderstandings about the product. Product design companies that offer 3D animation for engineering or architectural projects are a step ahead in helping their customers better engage with their projects.

In architecture, 3D animations take designs that are impossible for those not trained in reading 2D drawings to understand and makes them both inviting and appealing to viewers who otherwise would not understand them. 3D animations help avoid misunderstandings about an architectural design by showing exactly how it will look when the project is finished, and allowing a client to make tweaks and changes based on what they think needs to change. Having the ability to visualize a building project is vital to ensuring a customer is comfortable with their architectural plans.

The Benefits of 3D Animation

3D animation of steelhomes building process by rapidproto

3D animations are useful not only for product design and in architecture, but also in accurately representing products to customers in online environments or in sales catalogs. Many customers are looking online when they need a product. This kind of engagement means that customers are not seeing the actual product in a store and are instead relying on visuals provided in the product listing to get an idea of what they are buying.

A 3D animation gives a customer all the information they need about the product within seconds, ensuring that they are able to make an informed decision about the product. They provide a visual that is not dependent on a hurried customer reading a product description. Since 3D animations are excellent at providing visual descriptions of products, they decrease return rates and ensure customer satisfaction. Businesses who take their products online must include 3D renderings and animations of products in order to stay competitive, and product design companies can help by creating engaging 3D animations.

The benefits of using 3D animations are broad, and the best product design companies are knowledgeable about what 3D animation software they can use for the best results for their clients. Using a quality 3D animation software ensures that a designer is able to use their skills to the best of their ability to create a top-quality 3D animation.

What Do Product Designers Look for In a Great 3D Animation Software?

Product design by Milan Borovic

A great 3D animation software will have a variety of visual effects so that an artist can create an animation that accurately portrays the project. When choosing a 3D animation software for a project, the 3D animation design service must consider the textures and filters that are available, as well as if it is possible to make a project look photorealistic.

Excellent 3D animation software is accurate but allows flexibility in the creation of animations. This means that the curves and shapes of a project are accurate, and that the light falls on the project in the right way. Many kinds of 3D animation software highlight the fact that they use very precise mathematical formulas to ensure the accuracy of the renderings and animations.

Designers look for 3D animation software that is both user-friendly and allows the designer autonomy over their projects. This means that the software must allow a great range of flexibility in how it allows an object or project to be animated. A good 3D animation software will not make a designer feel limited, but will enable the designer to create engaging animations in whatever style required. 

Different Kinds of 3D Animation Software

There are many kinds of free 3D animation software available on the internet for download. Animation software like PowToon and Animaker are designed for those who are beginners at 3D animation and enable people to quickly create simple designs. With ready-made templates, they are designed to be user-friendly for those who are just starting out or need to quickly make a presentation that looks good.

3D animation of a balsa wood rc-aircraft construction by Alex Gaso

However, these kinds of free 3D animation software are meant for amateurs and cannot compete with those used by professional architectural animation companies that are producing quality 3D animations. Projects made with free tools are just not of the same quality as those created by professional design companies, both because of the limitations of the free and simplified design software, and because they are created by inexperienced users. The software used by product designers is more complex and requires the designer to have an in-depth knowledge of how to use the software.

The best 3D animation software is not free, though it may have a free trial available, and new users experience a learning curve as they begin to understand the software and use it. However, using this higher-level software pays off for designers when clients are given polished and professional 3D animations.

Professional design companies pay to use the best kinds of 3D animation software for their jobs; they use programs like Rhinocerous 3D, Lumion 3D, and Keyshot to make top quality renderings for their clients.

Below, I have compiled a list of some of the top software that product design companies use. Each 3D animation software listed has its own unique benefits and features that suit it to specific kinds of design projects.

Top Software Used for 3D Animations

My Portfolio by Lucian Nita


Archicad is a 3D design software that is most useful for creating architectural renderings. It is specifically set up with the accuracy of building projects in mind, and designers can choose from a wide variety of building materials to represent in their projects. The program features quick and easy visualization tools, including flythroughs and walkthroughs, but also allows Archicad design services to animate objects in the frame, ensuring that the 3D visualizations are engaging and create an unforgettable experience for the viewer.


Artlantis is used to create high quality virtual reality CG renderings. It is popular because it can be used to create exceptionally photorealistic renderings, which enables designers to create stunning images and animations. The best product design companies use Artlantis when they want to create an image that is indistinguishable from a photo. Some of Artlantis’ most exciting features include the 2D window, which allows a designer to see both a 3D model and a 2D visualization of the design at the same time, and its lighting tools, which allow users to get the ideal lighting for their design. Artlantis features both the ability to animate objects in the frame and the ability to animate the camera as well, which ensures that designers can create a project that fully meets their client’s needs.


Keyshot is a program used by product designers who want to take a 3D model and 3D render and/or animate it with accuracy. Product designers can take a CAD model from a program like Rhinocerous 3D and animate it with Keyshot. Users can also take advantage of Keyshot’s software to create their own models, complete with lighting and coloring, and animate them.

Keyshot does not rely on keyframes to animate objects. Instead, product designers can choose how they want to animate an object through individual transformations, which makes the process quicker. Designers can update their animations through the Keyshot Animation Timeline, and can create and edit the animation in real-time. Keyshot is a powerful animation tool that is used by the best product design companies because it allows so much flexibility in making and editing animations.

Lumion 3D Rendering Software


Lumion 3D rendering software is a 3D rendering software designed specifically with architects in mind. Its tools allow 3D rendering freelancers to create photorealistic representations of architectural designs. Then, they can animate them with Lumion 3D’s animation features. With Lumion, designers can quickly update designs to meet client needs, and this software can be used to create still scenes, videos, and 360-degree panoramas.

Designers can import files from SketchUp, AutoCAD, and other rendering software so that they can work on them with Lumion’s tools. Since Lumion is quick to use, product design companies can use it to show what an architectural design will look like at a variety of times of day or seasons. Animations can quickly be done up and revised to meet customer needs, making it an ideal tool for architectural CAD companies.

Autodesk Maya

Autodesk Maya is most commonly known as Maya. It’s a powerful tool for creating 3D animations, visualizations, and simulations. Designers can use Maya to create realistic renderings, animations, and realistic effects, which makes it the ideal program to use when creating a simulation.

Maya features intuitive 3D animation tools, and designers can use keyframe animation and non-linear animation for their projects depending on what works best for them. Designers have complete control over their animations and can choose to animate as much or as little of a rendering as they would like. Maya is capable of handling precise and difficult lighting scenarios and geometries in order to create the most realistic 3D animations possible.

Rhinoceros 3D

Rhinoceros 3D is a versatile program that is used in the design of architecture, the creation of prototypes, product design, 3D printing, and other types of CAD projects. Rhinoceros 3D differs from polygon-mesh based programs in that it uses mathematical geometry to calculate the lines, curves, and features of the surfaces being represented.

It is an especially exciting program because there are numerous plug-ins that allow users to expand Rhinoceros 3D’s capabilities into very specific areas, such as jewelry making, prototyping, architecture, animation, and of course, CAD rendering. Users can even create a project in Rhinoceros 3D that can easily be 3D printed. Rhinoceros 3D is suited to such a wide variety of projects that it is not difficult to see why the best product design companies often use it. Rhinoceros 3D is able to animate designs, and if necessary, Rhinoceros 3D files can be exported to other programs like Keyshot for further 3D animation.


3D Modeling and Animation by WSFuller

SketchUp is a software that was designed to give designers the feel of sketching or CAD drawing by hand to create a design and to add details to it. Traditional design software does not usually allow designers to draw by hand, so SketchUp appeals to those who work best drawing out their designs. Designers can use SketchUp to create 3D animations of architectural scenes using SketchUp’s animation tools.


Unity is a powerful development platform that allows users to create 2D and 3D animations and virtual realities. Unity is commonly known as a platform that game designers use but is capable of much more than just video games. Product designers use Unity to create an experience that will wow viewers. It is used for augmented reality, virtual reality, and simulations, and has even been used in filmmaking. Product design companies know that Unity can be an extremely powerful tool that can create an immersive experience that will draw viewers in, and it is often used in architecture because of this.


ZBrush is a tool that allows users to digitally sculpt in a way that is similar to techniques used by traditional sculptors. ZBrush users sculpt figures using ZBrush’s pixol technology, which stores the information about each point on an object, including its color, lighting, texture, location, and orientation, and information about depth, and even information about the material of the point.

ZBrush has a wide variety of features that make it a solid tool for product design companies to work with. Its polypaint feature allows users to draw directly on an object without first assigning a texture map to the surface. ZSpheres allow users to create a simpler mesh base model before transforming it into a model that can actually be sculpted. ZBrush’s skeletal animation feature also allows users to isolate part of the sculpture they are creating and animate it individually without the hassle of having to create skeletal rigging for their project. Using these features, users can create animated models that are both precise and organic.

The kind of 3D animation software a product design company chooses to use depends on a wide variety of factors. Not all software is appropriate or will work the best for every single project. Though each one of these programs is powerful, some, like Lumion 3D and Autodesk Maya are better for photorealistic animations. Others, like Archicad, are more suited to architectural work, and others, such as Rhinocerous 3D or Unity are suited to situations where designers need both a powerful rendering tool and a tool that also allows them to animate their designs.

Cad Crowd’s 3D Animation Freelancers Can Help

Since the software a designer uses depends heavily on the type of project they are working on, the best product designers know a variety of kinds of software and are able to choose the best one for their assigned task. The designer can then use this software to create top quality 3D animations for their clients.

If you are looking for a reputable product design company to work with so that your company or clients can benefit from having 3D animations, Cad Crowd can help. Cad Crowd’s experienced and professional CAD specialists can take your idea from its initial concept stage all the way to a stunning 3D animation that will engage viewers. Click here for a free quote for quality 3D animations or to inquire about how Cad Crowd can help your company benefit from using 3D animations.