Oh, hot bowls of shape slappin’ fun. There’s nothing like the 4th release of a free 3D modeling product to make the speculation run wild. It’s like pouring napalm on a brain made of fire, and after drinking plenty of coffee that taste like it’s been made with gasoline, I’m convinced that’s highly possible.

3DVIA Shape 4.0 has been released and even if you haven’t sat your 2 year old down and forced him to use it every night for three hours, there are some new features to interest you, which could reveal future direction of 3D design.

Shape 4.0 New Features

  • Multi-Touch Compatibility for Touch Screen Displays
  • Work Offline or “Nomad Mode”
  • Anaglyph Mode
  • Take Screenshots from Your Models
  • Show Axis, Improving 3DVIA Shape for Use with 3DVIA Studio
  • Increased Upload Limit on Files from 11MB to 25MB!
  • Improved error messages for failed or blocked upload attempts

First 3D Design App for iPad?

All of these are features 3DVIA Shape needed, no doubt. But they’re also features which come in real handy on a touch screen mobile device. With the amount of tablets slated to come out this year, there’s little doubt we’ll see some action on the CAD/product development side.

I’ve speculated that either 3DVIA Shape or Google’s SketchUp would be the first 3D Apps to make it onto a mobile device, like the iPad. With a focus from Dassault to shoot 3D into every aspect of our multi-dimensional life, it would make sense they would launch a mobile 3D development app. However, with Autodesk clearly in the the app market with 5 different apps for the iPhone and iPad and a dawning web-based product offering, they could easily be the company to do it. Regardless who’s first, this release of Shape and the features that come along with it don’t help bury that idea of 3D modeling moving to mobile.

By the way… SolidWorks World is coming up at the end of January and you hardly have to wonder if they’ll be showing something new.


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.