Autodesk releases 123D Sculpt for iPad

The child of Inventor Fusion and Sketchbook Pro technologies, we speculate the ability to 3D print iPad digital sculptures can’t be too far off.

Autodesk has released 123D Sculpt, a 3D sculpting and painting app for iPad. The app is one more product Autodesk’s new consumer products division is releasing to appeal to the rapidly growing group of consumers who self-identify as Makers.

123D Sculpt is an extension of the technology behind the free desktop application 123D, based on Autodesk Inventor Fusion. The user interface also draws from Autodesk’s popular Sketchbook Pro. 123D Sculpt provides what Autodesk calls “simple yet powerful tools within an intuitive user interface” to enable users to sculpt on their iPad. The guiding usage philosophy is based on a three-step method:

Select a shape: Users can choose from one of 17 starting shapes, including creatures, people, vehicles and basic geometric objects.

Sculpt and decorate: Users choose from a variety of tools to enlarge, shrink, warp, or refine features to achieve desired effects. Users also can add creative details with a palette of stamps, textures and images.

Share: When a creation is complete, users can snap a photo or record an HD turntable movie to share directly from within the app, via email or through Facebook, Flickr, or YouTube.

Users start with pre-defined basic objects, then add sculpting effects. (Source: Autodesk)

Users can import their own images or snap photos using iPad 2’s camera, and then stencil onto their 3D creations for ultimate personalization. 123D Sculpt offers many of the familiar interface elements from the Autodesk SketchBook Pro.

Autodesk 123D is available for free (“for a limited time”) from the iPad App Store. Users can also purchase five different packs of four shapes for $.99 each through In-App Purchase.

What we think

There is currently no mention from Autodesk about the ability to send objects created in 123D Sculpt to a 3D printer, but it seems obvious that Autodesk will head in this direction. We also want to see 123D Sculpt import models from Project Photofly, the Autodesk Labs project that turns a series of photos of an object (a head, a tombstone, an animal, etc.) into a 3D mesh. Imagine the ability to take a series of pictures on the iPad of an object, send the data to Project Photofly, receive back the 3D mesh, fashion it up in 123D Sculpt, and send it off to a 3D printing bureau.