Cheetah 3D is a 3D modeling software for Apple’s Mac operating system. Cheetah provides a sleek and powerful solution for 3D modeling and rendering that’s both affordable and easy to learn. The application is primarily aimed at those who aren’t familiar with 3D modeling but provides a full list of features usually found in higher end software. The application is sold as a download from the Cheetah 3D website for $99. You can also try a free demo version that doesn’t include the ability to save or export. Cheetah also offers a number of free tutorials to get you started.
Despite the affordable price, compared to high-end software like AutoCAD, Cheetah 3D provides many of the full capabilities that the professional-grade applications do. It features of full set of polygon and spline modeling tools. Unlike some of the cheaper or free applications, your polygons can have any number of edges. Once you’re done modeling your project, you can add textures and colors from a wide array of available options.
The application offers an easy drag-and-drop interface for adding materials to your polygons and allows you to customize everything about the interface, including custom hot keys, toolbar, and mouse controls.
Cheetah boasts its Bullet physics engine which allows the application to differentiate between hard materials and soft materials. It also has numerous advanced rendering capabilities, allowing you to raytrace shadows, change lighting, and alter depth of field. It also offers advanced features like subdivision modeling, boolean operations, and Beziere splines. Once you’re done, you can save to most 3D file formats, including .obj, .3ds, and .sia.
The software is fairly lightweight for a fully-functional 3D modeling application, only requiring Mac OS X 10.6 or higher and 1 GB of RAM. Overall, it makes for a great desktop solution for non-advanced or professional users who don’t want to break the bank on high-end software but still want access to powerful features.