When Sur3D first released their beta for their 2D to 3D converter Selva3D it was already a pretty great web application. After a few months of Selva3D being used and abused by the 3D printing community, Sur3D has launched a brand new updated beta that took their growing community’s needs in mind and beefed up the app making it far more robust and easy to use. They even added in some new functionality. And while the ability to turn a 2D image into a 3D image is common in most CAD design software now, the web app is cheaper if you only need a few 3D objects, and it seems a lot simpler to use for basic shapes than any of the other software that I’ve tooled around with.
The Selva3D app is actually very easy to use, especially if you find yourself completely lost trying to use more complicated software. Just join the site, select either the logo/text option or a photograph option and then upload the 2D image. Once you have upload an image, there are several toggles that allow you to increase the thickness of the model and make slight adjustments to it. And there is even a function that lets you include your logo or text on a few pre-selected 3D objects like a cellphone case, a keychain or a picture frame.
The web app is not free unfortunately, hey web dev’s gotta eat, but overall it is still pretty cheap and they even give you five free credits when you sign up for the beta. If you buy a single STL file it will cost about $2.50, but they offer you the option to buy credits in bulk, lowering the price down to $0.25 if you buy 200 at a time. I’m not sure how worth it would be to buy credits in bulk, but at $2.00 Selva3D is a pretty good option for making a few ready to print 3D models without having to bother with other software options.
The app itself is pretty fast, it turned the 3D Printer Symbol into a 3D model in a matter of seconds, and the same for the keychain. When I uploaded a picture of my dog, it took a little longer to generate a 3D model, but only about a minute or so. However Selva3D does have some limitations that Sur3D is going to have to address once they take it out of beta. For one there are only a handful of templates to add your 3D logo onto, and that option isn’t available at all for any pictures that you upload, which is limiting. Also, more complex pictures tend to look less like a 3D picture and more like a topography model so the picture option is a little limited in what it can do.
So while there are limitations and drawbacks to using Selva3D, none of them are insurmountable and I still think it’s a useful app. Plus, this is still a beta so if users run into any problems Sur3D is looking for user feedback to help improve the service. And the app already works quite a lot better than the first app did when I played around with it in February, so they are actively improving it. While more complicated objects still need to be designed in CAD software, web apps like Selva3D are bringing us closer to a time when software will be able to auto generate 3D models without the user needing to actually do any designing, which is going to get us a lot closer to the industries ‘3D printer in every home’ goal.
Have you tested this new software? Let us know your thoughts in the Selva3D Forum thread on 3DPB.com.