Ever want to try 3D modeling? Ever think about how much 3D modeling could be like playing with clay? I did not equate the two things until I tried this app. 123D Sculpt gives you base shapes to start with and allows you to manipulate them with various tools, add color and texture, and share them in through photos or videos.
App developer, Autodesk, offers a video demo of the app, tips, and a gallery of people’s projects on the 123D Sculpt website. They also offer a lineup of other apps to experiment more with 3D modeling, some of which you can try on the site.
When you open 123D Sculpt, you can choose from a variety of base shapes to start with: a face, a human form, a dog, a cube, a car, an airplane, to name a few. Once you choose a shape, you can manipulate it using various tools. In the video demo, and in searching images created with 123D Sculpt, it looks easy to change the base shapes into detailed creations. After a bit of experimentation, the learning curve seems steeper. Practice is required to get the “clay” to behave the way you want it to.
I started with an elephant:
First I tried each of the tools, and ended up using the one for distorting the shapes by stretching.
Then I tried stretching parts of the elephant more purposely.
Next, I tried starting with the sphere and experimented with adding images.
Some kind of a steampunk angel, perhaps? Anyway, with only a little bit of playing around you can certainly create something. With more practice, this app could be an artist’s tool.
Some librarians I saw speak at a recent local conference (watch this site for presentation links) mentioned using this app as an inspiration prompt for a youth art group. 123D Sculpt will engage audiences on multiple levels. Any teen who likes to play with images could approach this app as a casual user to experiment and maybe create something interesting to post to social networks. A teen with a more serious interest in art, animation, or game design, might approach this as a tool to explore in depth and create more detailed images. Try using this app in a Makerspace program, or add it to a collection of art apps.