Ya know, I was just looking at the letter ‘M’ this morning, thinking, you need an iPad app named after you, a 3D iPad app. There’s just something that goes together with M’s and apps… or, at least, there should be. M+3D. It could stand for so many things and Autodesk is announcing an app that implies just that. Project M3D is the latest 3D iPad app initiative from the software developer that has a stack of other 3D, engineering and design apps available for iOS and Android devices. This app Mixes some of those apps together with Multiple ways to collaborate on Many different Models while Maintaining your Mark-up. But is it JA3DV (Just Another 3D Viewing) app?

Autodesk Project M3D for iPad

Suddenly and without warning a new 3D iPad app is announced. Either confusion and hysteria set in or curiosity draws you in for a download. We’re on the latter end of that spectrum, wondering if this new iPad app is a step closer to what some imagine quick-launch, touch-enabled 3D tablet apps should be. According to the new Project M3D website, the planning for this app started in September 2012. Beta is launching soon with the official release somewhere in the future. Screen shots are limited, but we did speak with Eviathar Sarizada, a Product Manager for the app to get a little more insight.

“Project M3D is all about communicating on 3D designs.” Eviathar says, “Imagine something like 3D Design meets “SlideShare” and “Paper”. People can draw on the 3D design, as easily as if it was on a piece of paper as well as share it with others using a simple and intuitive interface. In that way anyone can share ideas and feedback on a 3D design that they are about to print or even build (e.g. a car, a building or just a toy).”


Well, the comparison to the very sleek Paper app is certainly interesting from a sketch purist point-of-view and the ability to provide feedback certainly takes it past the level of 3D viewing app, but there are apps out there that already provide that capability. So, Autodesk is also adding an Edit element to the mix. “For editing, we will enable basic functionality like move, rotate and scale, which will allow our users to apply global transformation on 3D objects (that will help our users to apply 3D basic editing instead of waiting for someone else to do that).”

How does this fit into their other products? Autodesk 360 is their mobile, cloud-powered product line. Autodesk 360 development is a small team located in Tel-Aviv working primarily on the AutoCAD 360 (formerly WS) mobile app. According to Eviathar, “The app will be connected to the AutoCAD 360 platform and there will be a web interaction as well (though, for the first release, it will be with limited functionality).” So, therein lies the connection for how your workflow could go from AutoCAD 360, BIM 360 to Buzzsaw and Inventor Publisher or, one would hope, simply capture all of those capabilities spread across all of those apps and combine them into a single Multi-disciplinary tool for design and collaboration.

Here’s what you’ll be able to do with the first version of M3D app for iPad:

  • View 3D Designs – M3D will support a variety of 3D file formats that you can take with you on the go – To meetings, job sites, while traveling or just at home.
  • Edit 3D Models – If you want to move 3D objects in your design, you can do so easily with M3D app. We want to help you express your thoughts in the best possible way.
  • Create 3D Views – With just a single tap, you can easily add any 3D view you would like, so you can create the best presentations with just few taps.
  • Add Markups and Annotations – We created a simple and intuitive  experience that will let you add markups or annotation to the 3D design as easy as possible.
  • Share and Publish your Markups – Now you can communicate your 3D design to others and be sure that your feedback is clear and anyone that sees it, understands it.

Is lower OS (iOS/Android) development still necessary? With touch-enabled tablets, running Windows Pro and full-powered software, why the need to spread functionality across multiple apps?


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.