As wonderful as Vue is, the fact remains that it’s not a modeling application. Sure, you can try to create models using Boolean operations on primitives, but this is just as clunky in Vue as it ever was in Bryce. Vue is a dedicated landscape generation tool, and using it to create models of, say, starships or rocking chairs is slightly masochistic, in my opinion. So, if you use Vue but don’t know your way around a true 3D modeling app such as 3DS Max, Maya, or Cinema 4D, you need to rely on others to create your 3D models for you. And this can rapidly run to some serious dollars. Most of the time, to get a really good, highly-detailed model you’re going to need to pay for it. But as with stock photography, you can find some good quality models for free, if you know where to look. Here are 14 websites with good, useful models available for download, for free. Make sure you take note of the usage terms on these models. Some are unrestricted, some are not. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality on these sites. Enjoy!
This is a commercial site offering 60 or so models for free. It’s a small collection, but if you’re looking for an Italian dagger or Christmas tree ornaments, your search is over.
Turbo Squid is a huge, well-known marketplace for selling and buying 3D models, and they offer quite a few for free. To find them, select “3D Model” as your “media type.” Then, sort by lowest price, and the free ones will come to the top. Free registration is required to download.
Primarily known for their high-quality textures, 3D Total has a nice group of models for free download. Look for the “Free Stuff” link at the top of the page, and select “models” from the dropdown.
This site has an whole IKEA’s worth of contemporary 3D furniture available for free download. There’s over one hundred pieces of architectural-rendering-grade stuff here.
In addition to a TON of great, free tutorials for Vue, Hexagon, and others, Geek At Play always has a page or so of free models available for download. Just another reason a visit to their site is time well spent.
This site has some very impressive, free models for download. It’s a very well-designed, eye-pleasing site, as well. Plan to spend a good while here.
DD Freebies is a blog with a small but unusual grouping of models. If you happen to be looking for intricate, abstract forms, take a look.
Turbosquid has a fair number of good quality, free models available in various formats.
ShareCG is, as the name implies, a file sharing site, and it’s free to use. There are lots of models here, easily findable using categories for file format, genre, and usage restrictions, sortable by date, rating, and number of views. While you’re here, check out the tutorials and the forum. This looks like a site to keep an eye on.
If you are at all into WWII fighter planes, you need to visit this site. Some wonderful, fully textured models, as well as some making-of documentation, blueprints. Great stuff.
PlanIt 3D has a small but well-organized group of models for download, plus some articles, reviews, and a forum.
A small collection of free models for Vue users, including that most rare of all freebies: a SolidGrowth plant! Some good tutorials and other stuff of interest to Vue folks.
Some nice models created in Rhino, with a number provided in VOB (Vue object) format.
Some great castle models here, probably the best free castles on the Internet. If you need help getting your realm started, here’s the place to start. Rodluc2001 (Luca Rodolfi) is a well-known digital master. These models, along with the fighter planes by Anders Lejczak, listed above, are the cream of the crop on this list, from two very talented and generous masters of the craft.