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 25 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!
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.
Renderosity has a huge number of free 3D models in various file formats. The overall quality is quite low, but there’s a few gems among the clunkers. To get to the models, hover over the “Free Stuff” button in the top navigation area, and click on “Search Free Stuff” in the dropdown.
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.
If you use Vue 7 Infinite (or any program that supports the new Collada file format), you can import models from Google Sketchup. Choose the Collada format and download. Then import the file, as you would a 3DS file. If your object appears totally transparent and ghostly, you’ll need to turn the global transparency down for every material in the object. Kind of a pain, but it works. Add some world-famous landmarks to your models collection!
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.
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.
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