Rocket 3F: a free 3D modeling application

Oct 27, 2020 at 10:00 am by nemirc

This time I am bringing Rocket 3F, a free 3D modeling application for Windows. Rocket 3F works similar to your regular 3D modeling application, since it offers pretty much the same set of tools as the rest of 3D applications. However, since Rocket 3F is exclusively a 3D modeling application, you may need to use other apps in case you need to animate. This limitation aside, if you are familiar with 3D modeling, it should be easy for you to use Rocket 3F.

The software starts with a single viewport but you can easily switch to other views using buttons at the bottom. One thing I didn't quite like is that the main toolbar is at the bottom (including the save and load buttons), because this layout change is a little confusing at first.

To create your model, you can start with a primitive and then work from there. There is a toolbar with modeling tools to the right. There, you can change the selection method (object, vertices, faces, etc.) and you can push and pull geometry elements around. On the other hand, you can also use Rocket 3F for retopology, since you can import 3D models and use them as reference.

As I said before, the modeling tools found here are similar to the ones found in other 3D packages. As you switch to the different selection modes, you are presented with the set of tools corresponding to that selection mode. A very nice and useful detail is how hovering the cursor over a tool or command actually presents a pop-up explaining how to use it. This is very useful to understand what it does, but also how to use it, since some change in behavior depending on which mouse button you are using. The app also offers sculpting tools to modify the mesh.

Rocket 3F also includes a varied materials library, and a material editor (which is very limited). However, the renderer itself is not that great, and you are only limited to a 3-point lighting setup so there isn't much you can do in the rendering department. On the other hand, the app can send content to KeyShot for rendering.

One thing I didn't like is how the grid changes orientation as you move the camera around. By default, the grid is lying on the XZ axes, but if you move the camera, the grid will snap to the XY or ZY axes, for example. This kind of functionality can be useful if you want to align your selection to the origin axes, but I think it's a little bit redundant since all alignments are usually performed in the orthographic views, not the perspective view.

The app can import OBJ, Collada, FBX and DXF files, and also JPG textures (for image references), and can also export to those same file formats, so you can easily exchange data with pretty much any 3D application out there.

Rocket 3F is a free application, but you can also purchase a license if you want. There isn't any difference between the free and paid versions when it comes to functionality, but the paid version allows for customization of UI, hotkeys and tools. At the time of writing this article, you could get the paid version for 79EUR, or roughly $93 (the full price is 155EUR). I think this is a very complete 3D modeling app, and if you should definitely take a look. On top of that, it's free.

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