Where to Download 3D Models? Our Favorite Sites for 3D Artists

When you’re knee-deep in a 3D scene and find yourself needing some foliage or background characters to fill the scene out, finding the right resources can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack.Whether you’re a seasoned 3D artist or a beginner just dipping your toes into the world of 3D modeling, having a reliable source for your 3D models can be a game-changer.It can save you time, provide inspiration, and hell, it can even help you learn new techniques sometimes.But with so many websites out there offering 3D models, it can be paralyzing trying to figure out which one to pick—and that’s not something you want to deal with when you’re in that sweet flow state.That’s why I’ve done the legwork for you!Welcome to my curated list of favorite sites for downloading 3D models! Let’s dive in!Best/Most Popular 3D Models SitesCGTrader (Best All-Round)Image-Credit: CGTraderKicking off the list is CGTrader, a veritable veteran in the space of 3D model sites.It’s a marketplace where 3D artists and designers can buy and sell 3D models, and it boasts an impressive range of high-quality models spanning various categories, from architecture and characters to vehicles, nature, and even games!Image-Credit: CGTraderWhether you’re a professional 3D artist in need of a specific model for a project, or a hobbyist looking for assets to experiment with, CGTrader has got you covered. It’s a one-stop shop for all your 3D model needs, offering a blend of free and premium models to suit any budget.They have a rigorous quality control process and offer one of the most competitive royalty rates in the industry, making it a popular choice among 3D artists looking to monetize their work—meaning more models for you to pick from!Image-Credit: CGTraderIn short, CGTrader strikes a delicate balance between quality, variety, and price, making it our top pick for the best all-around 3D model site.TurboSquid (Expensive, Large Database)Image-Credit: TurboSquidNext up is TurboSquid, another heavyweight in the world of 3D models.TurboSquid’s strength lies in its sheer volume and variety. No matter how niche or specific your needs might be, chances are you’ll find what you’re looking for on TurboSquid.However, this extensive range and quality come at a price. TurboSquid’s models tend to be more expensive than those on other platforms.Image-Credit: TurboSquidIf you’re a professional 3D artist working on a high-stakes project, the investment can be well worth it.Though if you’re more of a hobbyist, TurboSquid is probably a little too expensive for most things, however, their free section is worth looking at from time to time as well because they can have some pretty cool models in there.Image-Credit: TurboSquidOverall, TurboSquid is one of my go-to sources for high-quality 3D models when I’m working on a project with looser budget constraints.Free 3D Models SitesBlend Swap (All Free, Most with Credit)Image-Credit: Blend SwapSwitching gears to free resources, we have Blend Swap. As the name suggests, Blend Swap is a platform where Blender users can share and download Blender-specific 3D models.It’s a community-driven site where everything is free to use, with most models requiring only credit to the original creator. It’s like a communal potluck, where everyone brings something to the table.Image-Credit: Blend SwapAnd if you’re worried about fussing with licenses, don’t be. Blender Swap categorizes models by their license type, making it easy to find models that fit your needs—whether that be for commercial projects or just personal use.Image-Credit: Blend SwapBlend Swap is a treasure trove for any Blender user. Its community-driven approach and clear licensing make it a fantastic resource for anyone on a budget.Sketchfab (Many Free to Use)Image-Credit: Epic/SketchfabNext on our list is Sketchfab, one of the most popular 3D platforms around, period.What truly sets Sketchfab apart is its interactive 3D viewer that allows you to quickly inspect every part of a model before downloading, ensuring it’s exactly what you need.Image-Credit: Epic/Sketchfab – CourtneyFayMSketchfab’s other claim to fame is its wide variety of importers that makes it trivial for you to import all sorts of models into tons of different 3D software with just a couple of clicks.Image-Credit: Epic/SketchfabThose two things alone make Sketchfab one of my favorite sites to nab 3D models from.With its mix of free and premium models, interactive 3D viewer, ease of use, and booming community, it’s an invaluable resource for 3D artists of all stripes!Free 3D (Many Free to Use)Image-Credit: Free 3DAs the name suggests, Free 3D is a platform dedicated to providing a wide range of 3D models at no cost whatsoever.From architecture and vehicles to characters and nature; whether you’re working on a game, an animation, or a personal project, Free 3D most likely has something that suits your needs.Image-Credit: Free 3DHowever, as with any free resource, the quality of models can vary. But with a bit of patience and discernment, you can find some real gems.In conclusion, Free 3D is a fantastic resource for anyone on a budget. With its wide range of free models and user-friendly interface, it’s a site that every 3D artist should have in their bookmarks.Low-Poly 3D Models and Game-Asset SitesUnity Asset Store (Large Low-Poly Library)Image-Credit: UnityShifting our focus to game development, we start off with the Unity Asset Store, a goldmine for game developers and 3D artists alike.While it offers a vast array of assets specifically designed for use in Unity, it also has a wide range of assets that you can use in any project or software.Image-Credit: UnityThe Unity Asset Store especially excels when it comes to low-poly 3D models.These assets are optimized for performance, making them ideal for game development. However, their simplicity can come in handy beyond game development as well. low-poly 3D art is a genre of its own!Image-Credit: UnityMany assets on the Unity Asset Store are paid, but there are also plenty of free options available. So whether you’re a game developer or a 3D artist, the Unity Asset Store can come in clutch for finding high-quality assets at affordable prices.Unreal Engine Marketplace (Large Realistic Asset Library)Image-Credit: EpicAnd for those on the other end of the spectrum, the Unreal Engine Marketplace is also a great source for game and 3D assets alike!In contrast to Unity, the Unreal Engine Marketplace is a treasure trove of higher poly 3D models and game assets that are still optimized for real-time games, ensuring they perform well even in complex 3D scenes.Image-Credit: EpicAnd one of the stand-out features of the Unreal Engine Marketplace is how, each month, the marketplace offers several great assets for free to do with as you please!Image-Credit: EpicSo, if you want high-quality assets for affordable prices, and the ability to nab tons of free stuff as well, the Unreal Engine Marketplace is a must-visit resource.SketchfabImage-Credit: Epic/SketchfabI’ve already covered Sketchfab above, so I won’t go into great detail here, but I couldn’t go without mentioning how Sketchfab is a wonderful resource for game and low-poly assets as well!While the selection of assets might not be presented as “professionally” as other sellers/sites do, a discerning eye can still find plenty of wonderful assets that can enhance your project greatly!Artstation MarketplaceImage-Credit: Epic/ArtstationAnd rounding off this section is the great Artstation Marketplace, another excellent resource for game developers and 3D artists alike!The Artstation Marketplace is particularly good for advanced textures, decals, Substance materials, and clothing assets.Image-Credit: Epic/ArtstationIn addition to 3D models, you’ll find a wealth of other valuable resources like brushes, reference images, tutorials, and more!Image-Credit: Epic/ArtstationArtstation Marketplace primarily offers paid assets, however, the prices are often quite reasonable and the assets frequently go on sale. Plus, purchasing assets from the marketplace is a great way to support fellow artists.CAD 3D Models SitesGrabCAD (Many Free CAD Models)Image-Credit: GrabCadAnd for all the engineers in the house, GrabCAD is the site for you.GrabCAD is basically a community-driven platform that offers a vast library of free CAD models.If you’re working on a project that requires precise, realistic, and functional models, GrabCAD is a fantastic resource to get ’em without spending the big bucks.Image-Credit: GrabCadIn addition to its library of models, GrabCAD also offers a community where users can ask questions, share knowledge, and get feedback on their work. It’s a great place to learn and connect with other professionals in the field.Image-Credit: GrabCadIn short, GrabCAD is a must-visit site for anyone working with CAD. With its vast library of free models and supportive community, it’s an invaluable resource for engineers and designers.3D Printing Models SitesThingiverseImage-Credit: MakerBotWhen it comes to 3D printing, Thingiverse is the undisputed king. Owned by MakerBot, a leading manufacturer of 3D printers, Thingiverse is a community-driven platform where users can share and download 3D models specifically designed for 3D printing.Plus, each model usually comes with plenty of printing and assembly instructions, making it easy even for 3D printing novices to get started.Image-Credit: MakerBotImage-Credit: MakerBotIn addition to its vast library of models, Thingiverse also has a vibrant community of makers always ready to help you out!Image-Credit: MakerBotSo, if you’re into 3D printing, Thingiverse is a site you can’t afford to miss. With its vast library of printable models and supportive community, it’s a one-stop shop for all things 3D printing.PrintablesImage-Credit: PrusaIn the same vein as Thingiverse, Printables is another excellent resource for 3D printing enthusiasts—this time by Prusa!It’s a simple, no-nonsense repository of 3D printable models for all levels of 3D printing enthusiasts.Image-Credit: PrusaAnd just like Thingiverse, Printables also has a wonderful community of makers that you can share, talk, and collaborate with to your heart’s content!Image-Credit: PrusaIn short, Printables is another must-visit site for anyone into 3D printing. You can find plenty of interesting conversations and models around every day!ThangsImage-Credit: ThangsNext up is Thangs, a relatively new player in the 3D printing world.Thangs is a platform where users can download models, but it can also be used like a search engine to search many different 3D printing focused websites.Image-Credit: ThangsAnd of course, Thangs itself offers a wide range of models, from simple household items to complex mechanical parts as well.In addition, Thangs also offers many collaboration tools that allow you to share models with others, collaborate on designs, subscribe to your favorite creators, and more!Image-Credit: ThangsThangs is a powerful tool for anyone involved in 3D printing. With its advanced search functionality and collaboration tools, it’s more than just a repository of 3D models, it’s a complete platform for 3D printing enthusiasts!Cults 3DImage-Credit: CultsRounding out our list of 3D printing resources is Cults 3D. Weird name aside, Cults 3D is a great place to find a wide range of models, from functional items and spare parts to artistic sculptures and intricate jewelry designs.One of the unique aspects of Cults 3D is its focus on design. Many of the models on Cults 3D are not just functional, but also aesthetically pleasing. It’s a great place to find models that are a bit more unique, artistic, or “kinkier” than what you might find on other platforms. 😉Image-Credit: CultsAll in all, Cults 3D is a fantastic resource for anyone looking for unique and artistic 3D printable models. Check it out!Honorable MentionsPoliigonImage-Credit: PoliigonFirst up in our honorable mentions is Poliigon. While Poliigon got its start by focusing on hosting high-quality, in-house textures, it has since expanded dramatically to host equally high-quality, 3D models as well!While Poliigon is a paid resource, it offers a range of subscription plans to suit different budgets. Plus, it offers some textures for free, so you can test out Poliigon’s quality before you buy.In short, while Poliigon may not offer as large of a library as other 3D model sites, however, you can be assured that every single model that it does host is made to the highest standards of quality.BlenderKitImage-Credit: BlenderKitNext in our honorable mentions is BlenderKit. As the name suggests, BlenderKit is a platform that offers a range of 3D models, materials, and brushes, that can be seamlessly integrated into Blender.Once you install the BlenderKit add-on, you can browse and download assets directly from your Blender interface. The ability to drag and drop assets as you please without ever having to leave your workspace is wonderful.BlenderKit offers a premium subscription, but it also provides a good selection of free assets. This makes it a great resource for Blender users on a budget.Quixel MegascansImage-Credit: Epic/QuixelAnother noteworthy addition to our honorable mentions is Quixel Megascans.Quixel Megascans stands out for its focus on photorealism. Each asset in the library is 3D-scanned from the real world, resulting in unparalleled detail and realism. Whatever you’re working on, Quixel Megascans can help you achieve a level of realism that’s hard to match.And one of the unique aspects of Quixel Megascans is its integration with Unreal Engine. Having been acquired by Epic Games, the creators of Unreal Engine, all Quixel Megascans assets are now completely free to use in Unreal Engine projects.If you’re striving for photorealism, Quixel Megascans’ vast library of 3D scanned assets is one of the best resources available to help you bring your visions to life.FlippedNormalsImage-Credit: FlippedNormalsAdding to our honorable mentions, we have FlippedNormals!FlippedNormals is a platform created by industry veterans, aimed at providing high-quality 3D models, textures, and tutorials. It’s a curated marketplace, where quality and practicality are the top priorities.One of the unique aspects of FlippedNormals is its educational focus. In addition to assets, the platform offers a wealth of tutorials and learning resources. It’s not just a place to buy assets, but also a place to learn and grow as an artist.While FlippedNormals is a paid resource, the prices are reasonable considering the quality of the assets. Plus, some of the educational content provided can be invaluable for artists looking to break into the industry or hone their skills.Epic Games FabImage-Credit: EpicThe Epic Games Fab project is an unusual inclusion because it isn’t a marketplace. As of writing this article, it’s basically nothing more than a cool showcase of something that might happen.But boy would it be awesome if it does.Basically, the Fab project is Epic’s new venture that seeks to merge the Unreal Store, SketchFab, Quixel Megascans, and Artstation into one megastore so that you don’t have to bounce from one to another to find assets anymore.If their claims are true, it’ll simplify the lives of many artists.Their current ETA says that the Fab will be unveiled at the tail end of 2023, so it’ll be a good idea to keep an eye out for it when it drops. 👁️👁️FAQCan You Get Sued for Using Free 3D Models?Generally, it’s highly unlikely; but technically, it is possible to get into legal trouble if you use free 3D models improperly.This typically happens when you violate the terms of the license under which the model was distributed.For example, if a model is distributed under a non-commercial license and you use it in a commercial project, you could potentially face legal consequences.However, unless you got the model from a large corporation, the chance of you getting sued for misusing the model is very low.You’d just be stealing and/or misusing the valuable work of small-time artists and making it less likely that they and others put out free and open models in the future.So, always make sure to read, understand, and respect the license terms before using a 3D model.Can I Use Free 3D Models Commercially?It depends on the license.Some free models are distributed under a Creative Commons license that allows for commercial use, while others are not. Always check the license terms before using a model in a commercial project.Can I Use Free 3D Models for My Game?Yes. You can use free 3D models in your game. From a legal perspective, however, it depends on the license.Some models are licensed for use in any kind of project, including games, while others are not. Always, always, check the license terms.Are Free 3D Models Copyrighted?Yes. All 3D models, even free ones, are subject to copyright.When a model is created, the creator automatically gets the copyright to that model.They can of course choose to distribute the model for free, but that doesn’t mean they’ve given up their copyright.What they’re doing is granting you a license to use the model, under certain conditions. Always respect these conditions to avoid copyright infringement.Is Using 3D Models Cheating?Not at all! Using 3D models, whether they’re ones you’ve created yourself or ones you’ve sourced from elsewhere, is a common practice in the 3D industry.It’s a way to save time and resources, allowing you to focus on the unique aspects of your project.As long as you respect the license terms and give credit where it’s due, there’s nothing wrong with using 3D models. And, not to mention, it’s a great way of getting into the brains of other artists and figuring out how to tackle certain challenges in a new way.Over to YouHave any other questions about 3D Art? Feel free to ask us in the comments section below or our forum!

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