So I find myself wondering about this stated ability to use digital camera photo's to create a 3d file. ..
Autodesk to offer new, free apps for 3D 'makers'
By Troy Wolvertontwolverton@mercurynews.com
Posted: 11/04/2011 04:16:59 PM PDT
Updated: 11/05/2011 04:12:42 AM PDT
Autodesk is hoping to bring 3-D printing and scanning to the masses.
On Monday, the San Rafael company will release two new free 3-D applications. One of them, dubbed 123D Catch, will allow users to create 3-D models of objects using photographs taken from a digital camera or even a camera phone. The other, 123D Make, provides tools to help users create models that can be laser cut from sheets of cawrdboard or other materials.
Both programs are targeting the growing number of individual consumers and entrepreneurs who want to design and manufacture their own products, said Autodesk CEO Carl Bass.
"We see a dramatic change going on in what people are doing," Bass said at a press event in San Francisco on Thursday. "There's a world of people out there that want to be creative."
Three-dimensional printing involves taking virtual three-dimensional digital images from a computer and turning them into physical objects, typically with a 3-D printer or a computer-controlled router. 3-D printers are similar to inkjet printers, but instead of depositing ink on a page, they create three-dimensional objects by precisely laying down successive layers of liquid plastic, powdered metal or other materials on top of a base.
Computer-controlled routers precisely cut objects or shapes out of flat materials, often with a laser. Those flat materials can be assembled together to create a three-dimensional object.
Three-dimensional printing and fabrication have long been available to corporations and professional design shops. But recent advancements have made such technologies more accessible to consumers.
Consumers can now buy a simple 3-D printer for less than $1,000. A startup company called Tech Shop has opened work spaces in San Francisco, San Mateo and San Jose that allows consumers to use professional-grade fabrication tools, including 3-D printers and laser cutters, for a monthly fee. And online services such as Ponoko will print out or laser cut 3-D models for consumers based on the designs consumers upload to them.
There are other free 3-D fabrication-related software programs on the market, including Google's (GOOG) SketchUp, and Blender, an open-source application. But Make and Catch represent significant advances in the variety, sophistication and ease of use of such tools available for consumers, 3-D fabrication experts said.
The suite of 123D related programs -- there are four now -- "really changes the whole equation," said Kathleen Mahler. "It opens (3-D design and fabrication) up to anyone who wants to do it."
Catch takes pictures that users have transferred to their computer from a camera and sends them to Autodesk's servers on the Internet. Those servers analyze the pictures, which can be sent in any order, and put them together to form a 3-D digital image. Within about 20 minutes, Autodesk will alert users via email that they can view the 3-D image.
Consumers can use Catch to create duplicates or miniatures of real-world objects. For example, Autodesk employees demonstrated how they were able to use Catch to create a digital 3-D model of a Buddha statue. They were then able to take that digital image and use it to print out plastic replicas of the statue and a model of it made from pasted pieces of laser-cut cardboard.
After visiting New York, "you can make your own Statue of Liberty" with Catch, rather than buying one from the gift shop, Bass said.
Make, by contrast, takes a 3-D image and allows users to see what it would look like as an actual 3-D image made of layers of flat materials, such as cardboard. Users can vary the thickness of the layers and the angle at which they are sliced. They can also use the program to create models of interconnected cardboard, where the pieces fit together like a 3-D jigsaw puzzle.
"There's nothing in the market that compares to Make," said David ten Have, CEO of 3-D printing company Ponoko, which has a partnership with Autodesk.
For now, Catch will be available only for Windows-based computers. Make, by contrast, is available only as a Mac OS program. Autodesk plans to offer both applications for both major computing platforms as well as for smartphones such as the iPhone and as a Web-based application.
The applications are the latest consumer 3-D software products from Autodesk, which is primarily known for its professional computer-aided design and manufacturing software. Earlier this year, the company released 123D, another free application that allows users to create or edit 3-D models and send them to a 3-D printer, and 123D Sculpt, an iPad application that allows users to modify 3-D digital images with their fingers.