Why online 3D modeling is the design tool of the future

Online 3D modeling allows creators, designers, and engineers to produce complex 3D depictions of real or proposed objects without the need for a large on-site IT infrastructure. We take a closer look at 3D modeling on the cloud and how it is helping designers unlock their creative powers like never before.

What is online 3D modeling?

3D modeling is the process of an artist, designer, or engineer creating a digital representation of a real or imagined object in three dimensions. First, the designer makes a simple 2D sketch of the object in either physical or digital format. The information in this sketch is then refined using specialized computer aided design (CAD) software to create a 3D model.

Traditionally, the only way to create a 3D model was by using highly sophisticated 3D modeling software that required enormous amounts of computing power. Online 3D modeling uses the power of cloud technology instead of on-site systems.
A modern online 3D modeling tool draws computing power from a large array of data banks via the internet. The data banks are usually blocks of powerful computers situated in various locations across a certain country or the globe.
Using a browser-based 3D modeling cloud solution, companies and self-employed designers and engineers don’t need to have expensive computers installed on site. They don’t need to have to worry about IT maintenance issues, buying licenses, upgrading software, or having enough storage space.

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For years, Dassault Systèmes has been a leading provider of advanced 3D design software, trusted by professionals from diverse industries for its robust and cutting-edge features.

The concept of online 3D modeling software and how it works

Online 3D modeling software uses cloud computing technology to allow users to create complex 3D objects online. The basic concept of online 3D modeling software was to utilize the power of various connected computers to free users from having to invest in powerful on-site computers and software. Using a 3D modeler online, you can access the computing power required to produce a 3D model via the internet.
Designers and engineers can create detailed, highly complex 3D models using online CAD software instead of having to purchase expensive on-premises systems and software. Using 3D model browser software, you can create 3D designs without needing to install any software on your local machine. Online 3D modeling software can be easily accessed via a web browser. Users can create designs and then store them in the cloud. There is no need to have a powerful computer with huge amounts of storage.

A brief history of cloud computing

The cloud functions by taking the processing power and storage capabilities of multiple computers and making them available to another less powerful machine.  

Cloud computing first made major headway in the business world in the early 2000s, although its history stretches back to the 1960s with the development of the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) by J. C. R. Licklider and the U.S. Department of Defense. ARPANET was a basic version of the internet. It marked the first time anyone had connected computers that were in separate physical locations.

In the early 2000s, Amazon launched Amazon Web Services, the first major commercial product that offered cloud-based services. Google soon followed Amazon with Google Docs. Soon after, cloud based software was developed and made widely available by hundreds of companies and businesses.

In 2010, companies developed private cloud systems that were not able to be accessed by the public. Private cloud systems offer more security than public cloud systems and can be customized to meet an enterprise’s exact requirements.

Cloud-based software is now commonplace. Many companies use a mixture of private, public, and hybrid cloud systems.

The advantages of using cloud-based 3D modeling software for beginners and professionals.

There are incredible advantages to using online CAD software instead of relying on on-premises systems, both for beginners and for more advanced professional users.

Online 3D modeling solutions are often affordable than traditional desktop software and negate the need for users to have to purchase large, powerful, and expensive computers.

Online CAD software enhances creativity as it offers a range of collaboration features, making it easier for teams to work together on projects, even if they are in different parts of the country or even in different countries altogether. 

Cloud-based software is also much more convenient, adaptable, and flexible than traditional IT systems. Using a cloud-based computing model, users can access the software they need from anywhere using any device as long as they have a reliable and secure internet connection.

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Is online 3D modeling as powerful as traditional desktop software?

How powerful an online 3D modeling program depends on the nature and scope of the cloud network and how reliable the user’s internet connection is. Online 3D modeling software can be severely limited by poor internet connectivity and low bandwidth. Additionally, online 3D modeling software may not have as many features as traditional desktop software.

However, online 3D modeling software does not require the installation of complicated software packages and doesn’t require hardware upgrades.

Why choose to do 3D modeling online?

Using a 3D model maker online instead of having to rely on an on-premises model is now becoming the preferred solution for many businesses. With 3D model browser-based software, designers can have increased accessibility and more computing power for a lower entry cost than traditional desktop systems. Online CAD software also makes it easier to collaborate with remote teams.

Security considerations when using cloud-based 3D modeling software

There are three main security concerns that businesses and professionals have when using cloud-based software. Firstly, many corporate users are worried about how much protection a cloud-based system offers them against data loss. Breaches of privacy are also a major concern as are issues regarding confidentiality and the security of valuable corporate data.

What does the future hold for online 3D modeling?

As more construction, design, and engineering companies adopt remote working models, the uptake of online 3D modeling software will continue to rise. The increasingly globalized workforce combined with the lower cost of online cloud solutions is sure to drive higher adoption rates.
Observers also believe that advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies will result in more efficient and powerful cloud-based solutions being developed.

Explore the different types of online 3D modeling software available on the Dassault Systèmes Store


Work together with your colleagues from anywhere on the planet using any type of device you chose with the SOLIDWORKS Cloud Offer. The SOLIDWORKS Cloud Offer gives you access to a selection of powerful online CAD and PLM solutions from Dassault Systèmes.

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Online 3D modeling - Conclusion & Perspectives

Creating a 3D model used to require a dedicated IT infrastructure with large amounts of processing power and storage capabilities. Many companies and individual designers and engineers found that installing these systems and keeping them operational required specialist expertise. Professionals had no choice but to deal with the high costs and overall complexity of building a computer system that could handle complex 3D modeling tasks.

The rise of cloud computing gave designers and engineers the power to create 3D objects online. Companies didn’t need to have expensive on-premises IT infrastructure or pay for expensive desktop software.

Online 3D modeling allows for reduced operational costs, provides more flexibility and agility, and encourages innovation. Designers have complete freedom to work wherever they like, using any type of device. Teams can collaborate on projects from anywhere in the world and companies can source the best talent from across the globe.

Why choose Dassault Systèmes for your 3D modeling online needs?

Achieve total design freedom with the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform

The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform is truly a revolutionary step forward in the evolution of CAD software. This unique program allows users to connect with team members, clients, and supervisors in one completely secure digital environment. Automatic back-ups and syncing mean that with the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, you can store and work with your data with confidence.
You don’t need to have a powerful computer system or huge amounts of hard drive storage. The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform gives you immediate access to apps and online services specifically developed by Dassault Systèmes to meet the needs of design professionals.

A partner with more than 40 years of innovation experience

Experience. Expertise. Innovation. When searching for a software developer to partner with, you will require a company that has proven itself to be adaptable and imaginative and can provide the CAD solutions you need.
Dassault Systèmes has been developing leading online 3D modeling software solutions for over 40 years. Since the early 1980s, we have made a name for ourselves by providing top aerospace and automotive designers with sophisticated CAD tools. We have continued to push the boundaries of what is possible in design with the creation of the CATIA roles, SOLIDWORKS, and the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform.

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