3D Design

We 3D Design Custom Models

Table of Contents

Tradition + Technology

3D Designs are used in video games, animation, engineering, and even creating movies. They are also used to build 3D objects with 3D printing and CNC milling. We have an awesome team of professional designers that specialize in creating cool 3D designs for product development, architectural, industrial, medical, and entertainment industries. Our designers help customers visualize the possibilities of the final design created with our 3D design services. No project is too large.

Creating 3D digital model King and Queen Kauai
We will create the 3D digital model and submit for approval.

Types of 3D Design Services

We work with most modeling and CAD programs including Maya, 3DS Max Design, ZBrush, AutoCAD, Revit, and SketchUp, just to name a few. If you have 2D blueprints and elevations, or artist’s sketches, we can use these to create a 3D file. If all you have is an idea or a drawing on a napkin, we can start with that.

When designing for 3D printing, our team also checks for print integrity by creating reinforcement for thin geometries; making sure things aren’t top heavy; ensuring the bottom is flat and balanced enough to hold its own once the model is printed and assembled.

After meeting with clients to understand their specific needs, key design elements are identified and built to produce detailed 3D designs. The vast amount of knowledge required for 3D design can take years to master. If you’re starting a small business or you’ve got other areas of focus; odds are, you’ll have bitten off more than you can chew.

Our designers use a lot of 3D design terms that can be a bit confusing. Here are a few terms that may get used in the process:

  • Polygons are the basic building blocks of a 3D model. Polygons are a minimum of 3 sided shapes (triangles, boxes, etc.) that form the foundation of the 3D design. There may be millions of polygons used in a 3D design. The more detailed the 3D design is, the more polygons that will be contained in the final design, which also can result in very large files.
  • Texture is the color map that makes up the actual color or texture of the model.
  • Resolution typically relates to the texture of the model. High resolution images can have more detail than low resolution images.
  • Normals refers to the direction a face of a polygon appears to be facing. These can be altered to give a model more detail.
  • Rendering is a quality finished image of a 3D model that typically goes through different post-processing effects to give it the final appearance.

3D Design for Architectural

Our expert architectural 3D design team will take initial 2D designs from AutoCAD, blueprint drawings, imagery from Google, and many other sources to create the design of a true 3D file that can then be used for building 3D architectural models. These new 3D architectural designs and models can help customers in the real estate and construction industries visualize what their custom home, remodel, or large building project will look like.

Then taking the 3D computer generated imagery (CGI) to the next level, the designs are 3D printed. The completed models allow your clients to view the size and scope of their project and ease the decision-making process.

3D Design for Industrial

Typically, 3D design for industrial models is associated with trade shows. It’s easier to fit a scale model of a backhoe or industrial plant in a display than a full size one. Industrial models not only need to be functional; they need to facilitate effective communication and collaboration with your customers. Industrial models that have cutaway views, take-apart and interactive features, moving parts, and advanced lighting options enable conversations about the project.

3D Design for Characters and Props

Some of the coolest 3D designs are character models and props. Our skilled design team combines their expertise with software like Maya and ZBrush to digitally create 3D characters. These impressive 3D designs may be transformed through foam sculpting and cutting along with new 3D printing capabilities into your favorite characters and props.

Seeing our favorite characters larger-than-life is an awesome experience. Imagine a cool 10-foot tall character model of Batman, Iron Man or Wonder Woman at a fan convention; a massive dinosaur exhibit at the museum; eye-catching movie props and 3D cartoon models like Bugs Bunny, Homer Simpson, and Buzz Lightyear at your favorite theme park or Master Chief, Commander Shepherd and Lara Croft at a gaming convention. Our team also designs trade show models for your business, church or team and selfie backgrounds for pop-up museums.

3D Design for Product Development

3D design for product development covers a wide range of consumer products. New technology enables designers to create custom-fit athletic shoes and ski boots for the footwear industry, accurate replacement parts for the automotive industry and nearly everything in between. From small scale footwear models to large scale tradeshow models, our design team evaluates the impact different designs have on the finished product.

When creating a design for product development, matching the source material with the product when converting 2D images over to 3D requires skill and knowing what materials are best suited for the completed model.

3D Design for Medical

Visualizing aspects of tissue damage or a tumor is difficult at best. With the advances in 3D design, our team of design professionals merge technology and innovation to create patient-specific medical models. These models are created with a high level of detail and provide hands-on perspective to physicians and patients prior to surgery. Designed with full-color segmentation, these medical models facilitate successful patient education, medical staff training, and practical application for doctors before surgical procedures are performed.

Designs for medical applications vary in size from a tiny hearing aid to full-size organs captured from an MRI scan. Athletes also benefit from 3D designs to create customized state-of-the art braces.

3D Printing Designs

Before anything can be 3D printed, a 3D file must be produced. Once your project or product has been 3D designed, our team sends it to one of our 3D printers to be 3D printed. Our designers pay attention to the minute details as they go through their design process – checking for print integrity and ensuring that the materials used for the model are compatible with the design.

3D printing designs come in all shapes and sizes and have many applications including 3D art, sculpture, diorama and interior models, terrain and topographical models, and veterinary models. By combining our design team’s skill with your ideas, the possibilities are limitless.


Our design services cost $95.00 per hour and there is a 5-hour minimum per design. Each project is unique, but below are some rough ranges of typical 3D Design projects. Each 3D design is bid individually and the best way to determine cost is to contact us and let us bid your project.

  • 3D Residential Home — typically takes 7 – 11 hours depending on what files are supplied.
  • 3D character models — a simple design typically takes 10 hours, whereas a very detailed, complex character takes 100+ hours. (The SheRa character above took 50 – 60 hours to design from drawings).
  • Dioramas — Small, simple 3D designs generally take about 10 hours, small with more detail takes about 40 – 50 hours and large campus-wide dioramas like our BYU Project take 1000+ hours.

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3D Design workflow

Common Questions & Answers

  • Can we 3D scan a prototype? No. We do not offer scanning services.
  • From our 3D designs, can we fabricate a 3D print prototype, product or object? Yes. We fabricate your 3D design with a number of different technologies, individually or combined. These range from 3D Foam, 3D printing, CNC Cutting, laser cutting, laser etching, casting, molding, sculpting, painting, airbrushing, laminating, vinyl printing, and woodworking – all meant to produce highly engaging models that fit your exact needs.
  • What materials can we 3D print in? We match the correct material and fabrication process to your requirements in terms of presentation, size, and transportability. We can also 3D print in full-color sandstone, UV-cured resin, plastic, rubber-like, acrylic, and nylon.
  • Do I own the rights to my design? Yes, you do. When you contract with WhiteClouds to use our 3D Design services, we are creating digital files for your use. You own all copyrights to the file.
  • Can we sign a Non-disclosure Agreement that you supply? Yes.
  • How many iterations do you do? That depends on the model. We’ll do as many iterations as necessary to get the final product, though hopefully we get it exactly as you want it the first time!
  • How long will it take to create my model?That depends on the model. A more complex or detailed model will take longer than a simple model, we can’t really say exactly how long it will take until we have the chance to understand what you want designed.
  • What do you need from me to start the model? Just your idea. Drawings or other concepts will help us to make it as accurate as possible as quickly as possible, but if those aren’t available we can work with whatever you have.
  • What if I want two models that are pretty similar – is it cheaper? That depends on whether or not we’ll be able to use any of the work we did for the first model with the second. If we can reuse it, then yes that will save time and cost. But if it’s different enough that we have to start from scratch again then there won’t be any real savings in cost.
  • How do you come up with a price estimate for 3D Design work? We base it on complexity of the model and our own experience creating models. We’ve made enough 3D models to have, at least, a rough idea on how long something will take. Then we just look at any special details or complexity and decide just how long that will take us to finish the model.

Do you have a question we didn’t answer? Don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-385-206-8700 or [email protected].

Worldwide Delivery

WhiteClouds has delivered models around the world.

3D Design Software

3D design software is one of the first steps in product design, 3D printing, 3D CAD, 3D modeling, visual effects, virtual reality, building information modeling (BIM), generative design, and CAD/CAM. With the aid of specialized tools, designers create 3D models and products for the architecture, automotive, building, construction, media and entertainment industries. There is software available to fit every design need. If you want to take on a 3D design project of your own, below is a brief overview of different types of software related to 3D design.

3D Modeling Software

Some of our favorite movies like Toy Story and Shrek were created by Pixar with 3D modeling software. It can also be used to create gaming worlds and virtual reality experiences, structure designs for architecture, interior design and engineering. Sculpting software is often part of the 3D modeling software tool set and is used in movies like Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

Versions: AutoCAD, Cinema 4D R20, 3DS MaxMaya, Modo, and ZBrush. WhiteClouds uses most of these, but our favorite is Maya – we highly recommend it.

3D CAD Software

Ever wanted to see what your new kitchen would look like? Then CAD or computer-aided design software is what you need. It’s not only used to build designs for architecture, but it’s also used for special effects in movies, prosthetic limbs, industrial, aerospace and manufacturing products. However, it can take up to 2 years to learn some CAD programs.

Versions: AutoCADFusion 360InventorMayaRevit, SketchUp Pro, TurboCAD. WhiteClouds uses most of these, but one of our favorites is AutoCAD – we highly recommend it.

3D Animation Software

Disney creators use 3D animation software to create movies like Frozen and Moana. Instead of drawing many different images and photographing each one, this software puts you on the creation fast track. 3D animation software is also used to create computer-generated imagery found in live-action movies and video games.

Versions: 3DS Max, Cinema 4D, FilmoraPro, Houdini, Maya and Mixamo.

3D Drawing Software

With 3D Drawing software you can hone your drawing and painting skills and give new dimension to your art. This software has many tools to choose from like paint brushes, markers and pencils; mediums like oil and watercolor and other special effects can be added to create texture. Some of the advanced versions were used in movies like The Lord of the Rings and Avatar.

Versions: Adobe Illustrator CC, CorelDRAW, Fusion 360, Photoshop, Procreate, SketchBook, SketchUp, Windows Paint3D, ZBrush.

3D Printer Design Software

3D printer design software can be used to create some of the coolest things from cosplay costumes to product prototypes. To choose the best software to fit your needs, you must first decide what you’re planning to design and 3D print. As with all software programs, there’s a learning curve and just because it’s a free version, doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to use.

Versions: Modo, Rhino 3D, SketchUp Pro and ZBrush.

3D Home Design Software

3D home design software covers all aspects of home design: architecture, interior design, landscaping and deck design. This software also offers many advanced tools like color palettes, shrubbery, and textures to name a few. So, whatever your project is, there’s a program to fit your needs.

Versions: AutoCAD, DreamPlan, Home Designer Suite, SketchUp Pro and Virtual Architect Ultimate.

3D Rendering Software

3D rendering software has many applications. One is making superheroes from your favorite movie come to life. It converts 3D wire frame models into 2D images that look realistic. Architects, designers, artists, commercial studios and others use 3D rendering software programs for special effects, light sources, atmospheric effects, and architectural visualization to make you think what you’re looking at is real.

Versions: 3Delight, Arion, Artlantis, Clarisse and Enscape.

Video Editing Software

Video editing software is used by beginners and professional editors alike to handle post-production video editing for box office hits, home movies, documentaries, TV shows, commercials, and music videos. This software offers a range of tools for splicing, cutting, trimming, and arranging clips. If you learn how to use them properly, you’ll unlock its full potential.

Versions: PowerDirector, Magix Movie Edit Pro, Premiere Pro, Wondershare Filmora, Video Pad.

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