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The Best AI 3D Modeling Tools for 3D Artists in 2024

Are you curious about what’s going on with AI 3D Modeling tools right now? I’ve been creating 3D animations of medical and scientific subjects for more than 20 years, and I purchase a lot of my higher-end anatomical models from trusted companies like 3D-Science, Turbosquid, and CG-Trader. The new AI 3D modeling tools out there like Meshy.AI, LumaLabs Genie, 3D AI Studio, and others, have got me curious about what’s going to happen in the industry and if AI can create models for me to use in my projects.

In this post, I will list some of the AI tools that provide text prompt-to-3D model generation tools. I’ll summarize the results of my experience with them so far and list some of the pros and cons as I see them in their current state. More and more tools are coming out every day. I’ll discuss the ones I feel are worth the time to look into and keep an eye on in the future. 

Why Look at AI 3D Modeling?

I’m not going to claim to be an expert in AI technology. I don’t understand how it works completely, nor do I want to. What I’m curious about is what it can do for me as an artist. Can I use it to generate models for my work? Is the quality of the models good enough to actually use in a project? 

I’ve been following the image generation tools out there and I regularly use Adobe’s Firefly to make the images for my blog posts. I love that it pulls from Adobe Stock Images rather than scraping the web, so I don’t feel like I’m robbing anyone. In my 3D work, I spend a lot of time browsing to try and find free models or purchase models at low cost. If I can type a request as a text prompt and have AI generate a model for me, it might save me some time looking and allow me to spend more time making things. 

Of course, If you are looking for extremely high-end models with perfect textures and wonderful mesh construction, I don’t think that is what you’ll get from AI 3D Modeling – at least not yet. 

Here Are Some of the Better AI 3D Model Generators Available in 2024

Meshy.AI

Meshy.AI claims, “Meshy empowers content creators to effortlessly turn text and images into captivating 3D assets in under a minute.” While this is true, in order to get something actually useable out of this tool and download it, it will cost you 45 credits (you get 200 a month with the free account) and more like 5 minutes. Still, that is fast! And it’s fun to watch what it comes up with. My opinion – this is one of the best 3D AI modeling tools available right now. 

Here is a video review of Meshy.AI I made earlier.

Interface

Meshy’s interface is pretty easy to work with and self-explanatory. There are icons plenty of icons and visual guidance to help make it clear how to do what you want to do in the software.

Model Quality

Meshy’s AI 3D model quality is pretty good. You can include things like “4K, high resolution, or high quality” in the text prompt to help improve this a bit. From my experience, Meshy.AI is good at creating more realistic models of objects than some of the other tools out there. The models are of good enough quality to be used as a stand-in or for concept art as a base model to be worked on top of. I don’t think we are quite to the point where you can expect a perfect model that you can just drop into a game or animation package to use right away. 

Speed

Of the AI tools I’ve tried, Meshy is the fastest when it comes to model generation. To create the four preview images, it tends to take only a few seconds. The refined model generations can take a minute or two depending on how busy the servers are. Not bad for generating a model out of thin air. They also regularly update the system with improvements.

Pricing

Meshy’s price structure is based on credits. There is a free option that gives you 200 credits per month. Thats enough to try it out here and there. They also offer incentivized free credits while you use the tool by leaving comments, submitting suggestions, etc. This may go away once the software is more established. 

Free – 200 credits – $0, Pro – 1000 credits – $16 per month (billed annually), Max – 4000 credits – $48 per month (billed annually), and Max Unlimited for $96 per month (billed annually) gives you unlimited generations.

Examples

Here are some examples, including the prompt I used and an image of the output it gave me. 

Try it out at https://www.meshy.ai/
Use the code: tvermilye to save 20%

Meshy.AI also offers the ability to create 3D models from an image, voxel models from a text prompt, and AI texturing of existing models. 

3D AI Studio

One of the things I like most about 3D AI Studio is the ability to do much more than just text prompts to 3D models. You can also create text-to-image and image-to-3D models in this package. Sometimes, it’s just nice to be able to do everything in one tool.

My video review of 3D AI Studio

Interface

3D AI Studio has a nice interface that feels a lot like traditional 3D software packages. They claim you can “Generate 3D models, animations and textures in seconds”. In my bit of experience with this tool, it is on par with Meshy.AI when it comes to the time it takes to create models. A few times, when using 3D AI Studio, their server overloaded. That was a little disappointing, but I know they are working to fix these issues. It’s a pretty small company of dedicated people.

Model Quality

3D Ai Studio produces good-quality models similar to Meshy.AI. I’d consider the models to be on par with Meshy. The textures in 3D AI Studio tend to be a little softer and more uniform than meshy with a realistic quality. The lighting tends to be a little bit one-sided (vs overhead or ambient) which means each model has a “good side”, so keep that in mind when designing your scene in 3D software. 

Speed

3D AI Studio is pretty fast when it comes to generating the model. You can expect models to be completed in under a minute. The “Refine” option takes considerably more time depending on how busy the servers are when you’re working. I’ve had good luck just using the basic model and then manipulating it myself in my 3D package. 

Pricing

3D AI Studio offers a few subscription models with different credit allotments. For each generation, you’ll need between 15-20 credits.

Starter – 300 credits – for $6.90 per month, Basic – 900 credits – $9.90 per month, and Studio – 2600 credits – $29.90 per month. You can also purchase extra credits at $24 for 1000 credits or $79 for 3000 credits. 

Examples

Here are some examples, including the prompt I used and an image of the output it gave me. 

Try 3D AI Studio out for yourself:
3DAIStudio.com

LumaLabs Genie

LumaLabs is a pretty cool company, and they’re working on some cutting-edge AI tools. At least for now, the Text-to-3D model feature, called “Genie”, is completely free to use. I’ve enjoyed playing around with it and seeing what it comes up with. Comparing them all, I’d say Genie is the most “creative” in the way it produces models. It doesn’t do great with realism, but it does do some pretty fantastical creatures. If you’re looking for standard things, like a chair for example, it will probably do you well. I love using it to make wacky wild sea creatures. 

My video showdown comparing Meshy to Luma Labs Genie

Interface

The interface for LumaLabs Genie is fun and simple. You have only one option – a text prompt entry field at the bottom of the screen. Once you enter your prompt, you’ll be guided to generate 4 rough draft samples. From there, you can choose to refine the model. Model generations and refinements are limited per day based on server use. Generally, I’ve been able to create about 5 or 6 models per day. 

Model Quality

Luma Labs produces good-quality models similar to Meshy.AI. I’d consider the models to be “soft” in that the corners and edges tend to be rounded off and smoothed in general. The textures in Genie tend to be a little soft as well, but more uniform than what I’ve seen in other tools.

Speed

Luma Labs is fast at generating the first 4 example images and you can do this over and over until you get what you want. The refinment or “High-Res” generation takes some time. Expect to wait between 5-20 minutes (based on the few models I’ve generated) for the high-res versions. The model improvement for the high-res is significant. I’ve been very impressed with the model details and quality. 

Pricing

At the time of this post, LumaLabs Genie is completely free to use. There are no subscription options.

Examples

Here are some examples, including the prompt I used and an image of the output it gave me. 

Try LumaLabs Genie out for yourself:
https://lumalabs.ai/genie

Is AI 3D Modeling Going to Replace 3D Artists?

My opinion – NO!

Think about what happened when personal computers started being used in graphic design and typesetting. Computers eventually replaced the process of setting type manually for printing newspapers and books. the industry changed, and people had to grow and adapt, but so much more possibility came out of that change. Every time there is a new big shift in technological advancement, fear comes with it. I believe the best thing we can do, rather than fear the change, is to try and figure out how we can use it to our benefit – how we can incorporate it into our work and workflow.

While AI has made significant advancements in 3D modeling, the role of 3D artists remains crucial in the industry. 3D artists bring a unique creative vision and artistic skill to the process, which AI alone cannot replicate. AI tools learn from the work that artists have done in the past. If we stop making things, wouldn’t it sort of all just look the same eventually? 

3D artists can work hand in hand with AI 3D Modeling technology to enhance their workflow and improve efficiency. They can use AI tools to automate repetitive tasks, such as generating base meshes or creating basic textures. This would allow them to focus on more complex and creative aspects of their work, such as character design or environment creation. By leveraging AI technology, 3D artists in the future might be able to produce higher-quality work in less time.

Hopefully, AI technology, as it evolves, will make life easier rather than harder and let creatives spend more time actually creating the things from their imagination.

The Future of AI 3D Modeling

I mean, let’s just be real about it. None of us really know what is going to happen. AI technology is growing and becoming more competent at an exponential rate like we’ve never seen before. I’m optimistic – mostly because I choose to be. One prediction is that AI will become even more integrated into the 3D modeling workflow, allowing artists to switch between manual and automated tasks seamlessly. For example, AI algorithms could assist artists in sculpting complex shapes or generating realistic textures. These kinds of tools, so long as they can be turned off, can be really helpful. I’m using Grammarly right now to help fix typos and such. IF an AI tool can help fill ploygon holes or automatically generate good quality UV unwrapping, I’m all for it!

Whatever happens, I think it is our responsibility as creative people to keep up-to-date on what’s going on and have some choices as to how AI technology advancements might be incorporated into our future workflows. 

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