When I first saw the Shapr3D app, I was pretty impressed, as were some of you, but it left some lingering questions. A 3D modeling app on the iPad Pro that looks well thought-out, but why an iOS CAD app? So we gathered the questions and ask the founder and developer, István Csanády, more about the features, the kernel and what the future holds.
What is the complete feature list? Is freeform surfacing possible with Shapr3D?
Here is the complete list of tools we provide: loft, sweep, boolean union, cut, intersection, offset, shell, fillet, chamfer, revolve, and a quite awesome freeform surface modeling tool, that does not have a name yet, but you will be able to manipulate the surfaces of your solid models in a really exciting way. (And your solids will remain solids of course.) And many more to come, this is just the initial feature list. I would say we have a rather complete solid modeling toolkit.
Are you developing your own modeling kernel? If not, what is it based on?
No, we are using OpenCASCADE. It evolved a lot during the last few years, and its price/value ratio is unbeatable. And of course we are contributing to the OCC code base, so we are supporting the open source development. It also let us doing seamless data exchange with other CAD.
How do you think Shapr3D will change how people will use 3D CAD software?
We would love to see Shapr3D integrated to the design workflow, used together with other CAD software, but in many many cases it could be used on its own. It is designed for precise solid modeling, but because of its novel user interface and user experience, it can be used to create 3D sketches much faster than with traditional 3D CAD. We jokingly say that you can be ready faster with your job with Shapr3D than your CAD starts on your computer.
What are the biggest challenges the Shapr3D app is addressing?
We basically had to reinvent the CAD user interface and CAD user experience for this new kind of interaction (multitouch + pencil). Designing the app exclusively for multitouch + stylus interaction resulted in a great, new way of 3D modeling, and I think this is the greatest thing in Shapr3D, that it makes 3D modeling reeeeaaaally fun, and intuitive, without any compromises. I would say it covers 85% of your 3D modeling workflow with 1000% more fun. And you can learn it in five minutes if you have used any other 3D solid modeling software before. Plus, this is the first CAD that is designed from ground up for the mobile era, and that’s a bigger difference than you would think. Mobile is eating the world, and like it or not, even CAD will be more mobile in the upcoming years, just look at Onshape (that we love a lot :)), and we believe Shapr is a great step forward in this transition.
What needs to change with 3D CAD/Design to move technology/innovation forward?
What needs to change? Well, I think UX/UI is a field where CAD is decades behind the software industry. If you look at CAD software, it usually looks like if it was designed in the 1980s (for the most part, it was), and you need to watch hours of tutorial videos on Youtube before you are able to make even very simple things. We have a mantra at Shapr3D: Easy stuff should be easy, and hard stuff must not be impossible. This is what I miss the most from 3D modeling software, usually it seems that even the easy stuff can be really hard. (People going to kill me in the comments section, but let’s face it, for most human beings CAD is not simple :)) I think the CAD industry could learn a lot from the vibrant mobile app scene, in terms of UI/UX. And in case of a software that is quite often used 8 hours a day, user experience is extremely important. Because UX is everything. UX is how your software works. This is one of the many reasons we are working on Shapr3D, we want to provide an amazing user experience, that’s never seen before.
Shapr3D is currently in beta, you can find out more and join in at shapr3d.com.