Looking to get into 3D, but don’t feel ready to spend the money on—or the time required to learn—a program like Maya? Strata Design 3D SE ($50) is a good option. With Mac OS roots that go back farther than most users care to remember, it offers up pro-quality results without the bloat of a more serious, pro-only app.
Designed to be both powerful and easy to use, it offers features such as the ability to import standard images and make them 3D, drag-and-drop libraries of pre-made shapes, spline and polygon editing tools for customizing 3D objects, lighting effects, OpenGL support for fast previews, and more. You won’t be making the next Pixar film with it, but that’s kind of the point.