Is there any decent free character creation and modelling software?

I am new to UE4, and lack the money to pay for 3Ds Max or Maya…
I would, however like to try my hand at 3D modelling and animation, Is there any free 3D character modelling / animating software that I could use?

Blender is typically what you will want to use for free 3D modeling software.

Not sure if modelling experts would agree with me, but it seems difficult to learn modelling without formal instruction(college). And then, blender has a bit of a steep curve, but once you learn one tool, the others are much easier to understand.

But blender is an excellent tool, and free. There aren’t any real (free) alternatives to it.

If you are still studying, you’re eligible for Autodesk education program:

Keep in mind however, that you can’t use educational licenses for commercial purposes.

Otherwise, learn Blender and keep fingers crossed that the 10k euro grant that Epic made to Blender foundation will result in better Blender->UE4 workflow in future Blender versions.

I want to throw in my 2 cents here. Blender is excellent software. Like everything else it is not bug free but easy to learn. I find that people say blender is hard when having used other software like Maya or max because it is very different in ui and tool use. But I find it is less restrictive than others. Once you learn the hotkeys you are all set because that is how the program was made. It is very hard to find the tools in menus because you won’t know right off where the menus are. It wasn’t made to have multiple tool shelves and menus cluttering up the viewport. Not to say autodesk made bad programs. Maya has been around for a very long time and used as an industry standard and as such is a great tool. As for the blender to ue4 pipeline there are not really any problems. You just need to know how to prepare your model for use in unreal and hownto properly export. There are many good YouTube videos of people showing how to do this. Whatever your choice, have fun. That’s why we do this right? =D

That would depend on your definition of decent.

Your options are
Mixamo Fuse, Makehuman, Blender and Blender with Manuel Bastioni Lab.

Makehuman, Mixamo Fuse and “Manuel Bastioni Lab” addon for blender allow you to create basic humanoid character.
Blender is general-purpose modeling package with sculpting, texturing, modeling support and a GPU-accelerated renderer that supports photon mapping among other things, node-based materials, etc.

Generally you could create base character in something like Fuse or Makehuman and then tweak it further in blender.

I would say that makehuman offers the most realistic results so far, but you’ll most likely need to tweak character’s face manually with modeling application. Unfortunately, makehuman team once in a while does some unexpected decision (for example, they oppose inclusion of perspective camera into their software, and ousted one of the most useful export plugins from their repository), also there are some licensing complications. For example, model produced by official makehuman distribution is free to use for any purpose BUT model produced by modified distrubtion or 3rd party export plugin would fall under some GPL variant which is a bad thing. Also, making clothes that can refit onto different models is rather complicated and requires arcane process which involves blender and makeclothes addon.

Mixamo Fuse and Bastioni’s lab produce okayish characters but they’re more cartoonish and less realistic. Fuse also have non-symmetrical mesh on their characters, which is bad, plus you’ll have difficulty using your own topology there (makehuman doesn’t ahve that problem)

Either way I think your best bet would be to use makehuman to create base model and then tweak it in Blender. Or you could just learn blender and model it from scratch.

I’m not aware of free alternatives to the packages I listed.

We’ve been using 100% Blender for our game project. Its baking is really good, the unwrapping tools are superb, and the UI is not what it used to be, even if it’s still not the easiest.

We wrote a breakdown of what we’re doing here : Helium Rain • Creating game content with Blender