In late high school and undergrad I did a little bit of 3D modelling using 3D Studio Max. One thing I discovered is that making a complex mesh model is very time consuming, and so you can save yourself a LOT of work if you can avoid doing rework by downloading free models from the internet and then modifying them.
3D Model Sites
There are HEAPS of 3D model sites out there, but only some of them are any good.... here are some of the best ones I've found.
Free 3D Models
- 3Dvia - one of the best free sites ~2500 models - many very good, search keywords, also make good software (similar to Google Sketch-up). Requires free registration to download. My username: "a_noske", p : my easy one.
- 3D Warehouse - Google's free 3D model site estimate ~100,000 models, but majority are building created in Google Sketchup (some geo-referenced using Google earth). Both services are now "Trimble" not Google, but retain the old URLs.
- Autodesk 123D - Autodesk's hobbist site where people can design or capture 3d models with their phone using "123D Capture" and create models like this.
- Max-Realms - only a few hundred models. :-(
- 3D Total - only a few hundred models, but nice "making of" videos.
- 3D Models Free - some nice models - mostly of rooms and home furniture, although was buggy with downloads last time I visited.
- Yobi3D - searches existing models, pretty nice actually.
- Turbo Squid - great site ~200,000 models - most of them fantastic and well categorized (eg: 3D Models > Characters > Anatomy > Internal Organs), but most are >$100. :-(
- Exchange 3D - nice site, brilliant models, but only ~200 free.
- The 3D Studio - similar to Turbo Squid but only ~130,000 models, and most still >$100 each - not many are free.
- CGTrader.com - database of ~200,000 high quality models, with many of them free. Including ~2000 animal models.
- 3D Nucleus - despite what name suggest, isn't really related to the cell, but do have a few dozen "anatomy" models - most in the price range of 20-100 pounds, but they also include a reasonably nice 3d man, human fetus and skull for free.
Although there are many anatomy models on Turbo Squid, and then there is Zygot, these models are VERY expensive. Finding free models of anatomy is very hard. One gem out there (thanks Rich) is called: "BodyParts3D - by Life Science Database Archive" - which includes a full male with all internal organs, downloadable as a zip of .obj files. Since this site is Japanese you would never guess (NOTE: the disclaimer says that if you use this model you acknowledge where it's from).