Many of those in the 3D printing community are the creative type — “maker” and “designer” are often synonymous with “dreamer.” Before an idea can be brought to life, it has to be sparked in an imagination. Fortunately, it’s getting easier than ever to fan those sparks into a flame.

123d-sculpt-plusAutodesk 123D has just introduced another free app — available today on both iOS and Android — to make 3D design even more accessible. An update to 123D Creature that went above and beyond simple update territory, Autodesk 123D gave this version its own name, and the new 123D Sculpt+ app is especially intriguing for the design of creatures:

“Biped or quadruped, wings, fins, horns, claws, or paws. If you can imagine it you can make it real in Sculpt+.”

Designed for use on your tablet, 123D Sculpt+ brings professional-level technology right to your living room, where you can use your finger to create fully realized dragons, frogs, and other detailed beasties — or airplanes, spaceships, props, or whatever else strikes your fancy. They say that the 3D sculptures can be made in just 3 steps which, even for a non-artist like me, seem pretty straightforward. airplane

First, they say, you start with a basic skeleton using their skeleton builder. They promise that this is “as easy as drawing a stick figure.” Once the basic outline is there, you can tweak it by just dragging the key points, like the joints, to adjust the width or position of drawn limbs or add in new ones.

Second, the “sculpting room” lets you flesh out your skeleton. Sculpt it, shape it, smooth it, texture it, flatten it — the choices are limited only by your vision, and 123D Scuplt+ offers a variety of tool choices to help you out.

Finally, add some life in to your beast with painting and texturing on its skin — apply your own photos, adjust the lightdragoning views, add or change a background, and filter it to get just the look you want. This sounds somewhere between Photoshop and Instagram, so at least you know your creation will be immediately selfie-worthy… that is, if you gave it a thumb to hold its own phone.

If any of those steps sound at all daunting, or you’re just having some creative writer’s block at the drawing board, the app presents plenty of templates to use as starting points or just for inspiration.

The best part of all of this is that you’re not then limited to just flashing your tablet screen to show your creation off: 123D Sculpt+ offers an in-app 3D print ordering option, so you can actually hold a piece of your own imagination in your hands. You can export OBJ files with texture to use in Autodesk Maya or other 3D tools.

frog design

Updates that set 123D Sculpt+ apart from its predecessor include:

  • New skeletons, base shapes, and fully textured example sculptures to use as starting points
  • New color picker, featuring scrolling favorites
  • A “pose tool” to enable joints to be posed in different positions
  • Photorealistic Materials – “from chrome to clay, users can take their sculptures to a whole new visual level by combining textures, paint and shininess”
  • New texture brushes to add surface detail
  • Enhanced Pixlr Filters
  • Preview functionality to look through community sculptures in full 3D without needing to download them
  • Export creatures as OBJ files with textures for use in other 3D tools such as Autodesk Maya or 3ds Max

Does this sound like an app you’ll use? Let us know what you think in the 123D Sculpt+ App forum thread at 3DPB.com. Check out a video of the app in action below, as well as some more images of the app’s capabilities.

alien astronaut frog

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