Autodesk, the software developer best-known for AutoCAD, has released 123D Catch, an iPad app that is capable to create 3D objects from images shot from different angles.
123D Catch is a cloud enabled app, which means that the conversion from 2D to 3D takes places in Autodesk’s cloud. All that users have to do is to take pictures using their iPad camera. If the continuous accessibility of DSLR cameras enabled everyone to become a professional photographer (or at least to look like one, since tools cannot replace skills), 123D Catch allows every iPad user to become an expert in 3D modeling. The realistic 3D models are obtained using a powerful image stitching technology that functions in the cloud.
One of the best parts about this iPad app is that it can transform anything into 3D models, from toys and buildings to living persons. The only requirement is that the object or person is photographed from many different angles. In fact, the app allows iPad users to upload up to 40 images to the cloud. Presumably, a finer level of detail is achieved when the number of pictures is greater, provided that the angles are varied enough. The resulting project can be saved in various formats, including movie files that can be uploaded to YouTube or to other video sharing platforms.
3D modeling experts used to spend countless hours to create realistic 3D objects, but this iPad app developed by Autodesk is able to cut down the time drastically. I especially like the way Autodesk advertises its product: “Flat is boring”. I could not agree more, considering how great the results are. If you have any doubts, feel free to check this gallery of 3D models created by people from all over the world using Autodesk’s apps.
Both 123D Catch and 123D Make Intro are available for free in the iTunes App Store. The latter is also an iPad app that has been launched concomitantly with 123D Catch. Its role is to convert 3D objects into 2D build plans. The inclusion of animated assembly instructions helps people understand how the 3D objects are constructed. A PC version of 123D Catch that allows people to upload their images, edit their 3D models and even create animations is also available. More than that, people are also able to try an online version of 123D Catch, which is available here.