OK. This week’s blog is not strictly MCAD related. Perhaps it falls more into the ‘It's just cool’ segment of our offering.
Obviously we’re always on the lookout for tools that help designers, engineers, and creative people in general to Create more™. This week we came across a really cool new tool that does just that. Autodesk releases 123D Sculpt for iPad. It’s a free app in the Apple App Store. It’s very cool, and really quite an amazing creative tool.
I have never seen a software application that is as easy to use for organic surface modeling, coloring and texturing as 123D. It’s really extraordinary. Did I mention it’s free? Autodesk has done an impressive job of utilizing the capabilities of the iPad (touch screen, multi-touch, etc.), and keeping the user experience really simple. There are only a handful of tools for modifying geometry, but when you get the hang of them, they are quite powerful.
Just as amazing as the ability to create compelling geometry is the ability to use color and even textures. The way textures work is especially clever. You essentially take texture maps from the library (or pictures you take yourself), place them over the shape, and then ‘rub’ the texture onto the surface. When you put all that together and add a creative mind you get content that is really compelling. You can check out some examples at http://123dsculpt.com/news/artist-profile-chris-kunzmann.html.
There is, sadly, one thing missing. You can do all kinds of 2D exports, but no 3D exports. No 3D exports for a 3D sculpting tool? Cynics might say that Autodesk just wants to protect their more expensive products. I’m not sure I agree. Exporting textures, meshes, etc. is not trivial. I suspect they wanted to push it out quickly to see what happens. They’ve already started adding premium content for a small fee. I suspect and hope we’ll see it added as an option in the future.