While it’s easy to find free 3D models online for 3D printing or other uses, there are limits to what you can reasonably expect to find. For example, if you have an idea for a toy you’d like to build, or a custom use like turning your 1950s era Hoover vacuum cleaner into a robot, you might need to model it yourself. There’s just one catch. Let’s face it, 3D modeling is hard. While that may be true, it’s also a fact that 3D modeling is easier than it has ever been for newcomers, both children and adults, thanks to free or inexpensive programs like TinkerCAD and ScratchyCAD. Well, here’s one you may not have heard of and is definitely worth a look, it’s called Morphi.
Morphi is an easy-to-use 3D modeling and 3D printing app for the iPad and Mac. Morphi comes in two flavors, there’s the Morphia app, which is free with in-app purchases, and Morphi Edu, its sister app which allows for iPad in-app volume discount purchases. Morphi made its debut an the App Store in spring 2014. It empowers users of all ages to create 3D designs, regardless of skill level, both online and offline, through the use of basic 3D shapes, text, hand drawings and 2D images. It offers streamlined 3D modeling tools that allow for the rapid generation of 3D printable files.
We last covered Morphi in September, when they released Morphi v2.5 for iPad, as well as a new versions for Mac, and for Morphi Edu for iPad. Yesterday, Morphi introduced a new tool to their suite of apps, the Augmented Reality(AR) viewer. The AR viewer is an alpha release. It enables users to place and edit their 3D models in their real world environment using the iPad’s camera. Morphi’s CEO and Chief Designer, Sophia Georgiou, started working on the AR viewer after seeing how Tim Brooks, an art and technology educator at the Mount Zaagkam School in Papua, Indonesia was using AR to view 3D models that his students had created in Morphi. In collaboration with his fellow colleague, humanities teacher Mareen Ienusso, Brooks taught his middle school students about ancient Western civilization. His students went on to re-create Ancient Greecian and Roman pottery and architectural models in Morphi. they then used AR to place their models around their classroom and in the schoolyard. As Georgiou explains:
“After meeting with the school over Google hangout, we were inspired by the possibilities and began work on a small augmented reality viewer in Morphi where users could edit and color their models while in their own environment. The result is our new augmented reality button, a simple AR tool that we hope to supplement with more advanced features during the year. We see this tool is as a great addition to Morphi’s growing suite of creation tools and we’re excited to see how people will use it.”
Morphi has several other new features and refinements in the works. They include a Windows version, which is slated to be released at the end of the month in alpha as well as improved 2D to 3D tools for refined drawing and to better read fine lines and transform them into 3D models. They are also preparing to launch the Morphi Educators program to connect teachers using the app in their classrooms. An Android version of Morphi is planned to be released by in April, possibly sooner. They also teased that there would be several surprise features for 3D printing, virtual reality and animation that will be announced soon. As Morphi currently just exports .stl files for 3D printing, I expect that they are working on .obj file export.
I think that Morphi offers a lot to both novices and advanced modelers. I’ve been impressed with their software since first seeing Morphi at NY Tech Day, shortly after its launch. Their commitment to building a globally conscious and inclusive community is evidenced by their recent attendance at a number of events in India including MakerFest in Ahmedabad, MakerMela in Mumbai, FabLab Asian Network events in Kerala and InkTalks ‘Teenovators Competition in Manipal. As an educator, I appreciate how Morphi makes 3D modeling accessible to students of all ages.
What do think about Morphi, is this an app you’re interested in using? Are you a Morphi user? If so, please discuss in the Morphi 3D Printing App forum over at 3DPB.com.
Below are a couple videos showing Morphi’s augmented reality feature in action: