If you’ve run out of excuses to slop sour cream on your iPad screen with frantic glee while modeling in sweet 3D, that’s all about to change. Today, as a supplement to their free 3D modeling program, 123D. Autodesk has introduce Autodesk 123D Sculpt for the iPad. They’re spreadin’ the 3D bulgin’ love all over Vancouver where they are showing it off at SIGGRAPH 2011 and they already have it up in the iTunes apps store, ready for you to download and poke around in. Here’s a short video of the awesome capabilities and a breakdown of the features.

YouTube video


  • Multi-Touch tools let you sculpt and experiment with the details of your creation, just like real clay
  • Pull – add bumps and create raised areas to exaggerate details like noses, claws, and fins
  • Smooth – soften out rough areas or blend details into one another
  • Push – create grooves and valleys by pushing into the shape
  • Pinch – create hard edges and ridges to add sharp details
  • Grab – grab hold of the shape and stretch it out
  • Flatten – make curvy or lumpy surfaces flat
  • Bulge – create large or small bulging effects
  • Personalize and detail your sculpture using built-in brushes and textures, or use your own images to create exactly the look you want
  • Paint – use a bold color palette to add shades, tints, and hues
  • Image rub – use your finger to rub areas of a photo directly onto your creation to add realistic details
  • Import your own images from your Photo Library or take photos using your iPad 2 camera to use as custom textures
  • Create and Share your creations as images or movies on Flickr, Facebook, Dropbox or YouTube
  • Email your images directly from the app or save to your Photo Library
  • Save transparent PNG images for incorporating into other digital art compositions, or for further processing in apps like SketchBook Pro
  • Create 720p HD QuickTime turntables of your sculptures for sharing on YouTube or for import into iMovie projects.
  • Use AirPrint to print out stunning images of your creation to show off to your friends

Update! After having a chance to play with 123D Sculpt a little more, I’ve gotta say, it’s a lot of fun, but there are some disappointing factors. For one, you can’t import or export models. Also, the crease tools can really mash up that mesh and cause some weird effects. The smooth tool repairs it a little. On small object (the lizard) you can’t get the brush small enough to make detailed edits to the geometry. There is very noticeable lag when using the image-rub tool (I had one crash) and switching between some of the tools. Besides those four things, the UI is incredible. It’s smooth, simple and the multi-touch functionality is a great look at what model and geometry manipulation in 3D apps may become. Here is a before and after of the human head model I did in very little time.



Here are some other shots from the video showing the sculpting and image rub options. You can download the free (for a limited time) app from iTunes.


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.