1. Many industries use 3D character design programs to build avatars, create 3D creatures and buildings and to put extra features to their work. For example, architects use 3D character design programs to design Free 3D Max models of the buildings they are designing. Engineers use these programs to calculate what might happen to the buildings they are working on if a massive natural disaster hits it. Because of the multitude of users, there is also a multitude of programs available.
2. 3Ds Max is a 3D character design program made by Autodesk. This software is very powerful and very popular among game designers and 3D animators. 3Ds Max is used for modeling, rendering, animation, composition and production of 3D characters. Graphic designers, visual effects artists, game developers, architects, visualization specialists and engineers all find very practical uses for this particular program. By going to the Autodesk website, you can download a free trial version of the software to get an idea of how it works (Free 3D Max Models).
3. Maya 3D is another popular 3D character design program produced by Autodesk. Unlike 3Ds Max, Maya 3D has a user friendly interface which allows freelancers and hobbyists to use the tool as well as professionals. You can easily download a free trial of Maya 3D from the Autodesk website. The newest version of Maya 3D, as of 2010, also works with Mac OS and not just Microsoft operating systems.
4. Unlike 3Dx Max and Maya 3D, the iClone4 by Reallusion is specifically made for the design of 3D characters and nothing else. This is a specific avatar builder which uses a user-friendly interface with easy-to-use tools. iClone does not require you to have special hardware requirements either because the animation/creation of the avatars is done over the Internet, using Reallusion's servers. Because of this online feature, you don't have to have an actual disk and an entire program to take up your hard drive, you can just go to the Reallusion website and download the required information there.