Monday, June 16, 2014

123D Catch - 3D Fun from AutoDesk

123D Catch is an AutoDesk product. It's free for your iOS device and there is a web version for your laptop available at . There is also a PC version that you can download from the same site.

According to the iTunes description ...  

Use your camera to capture the people, places and things around you as amazingly realistic 3D experiences. Capture friends, sculptures, buildings or anything else you can photograph. Automatically transform them into interactive 3D models that can be shared with friends, family, and an ever growing community of 3D photographers.

• Turn your photos into realistic 3D models by taking a series of photographs from different angles.
• Be guided through the process of capturing all angles of your subject with the Integrated Photo Compass.
• Capture 3D portraits of your friends, museum displays, architecture, plants, cats or anything else you can photograph.
• Share your captures with friends through Twitter, Facebook, Email and SMS.
• Showcase your work and follow other amazing 3D photographers from around the world through the in-app gallery.
• Store your captured objects in the cloud to access them from all your devices.
• Use the 123D Catch web app for healing and 3D printing your captures in a web browser! (
• Export 3D models in a variety of formats from the 123D online community for use in other 3D tools and projects.
• Works on your iPad/iPhone & iPod Touch.

I can recall using this app on my iPhone about 12 months ago and being underwhelmed. It was not easy to use and you always seemed to end up with models that were just too buggy for much other than showing that you could capture a 3D image. Since late last year the app has had a major refit and it now has a slick interface and is really easy to use. 

In the classroom next to mine the ever creative media studies teacher has been working with year 8 students on stop motion video and they have all these cute little models - including a Sylvanian families house. It looks like this ..

So, I tried to use 123D Catch to get a 3D image of it ... it looks like this at first cut.

So what? I hear you say. Well, unless you have an ulterior motive, then all you've done is use some disk space up, even if it is in the cloud. But, I just do happen to have an ulterior motive. In fact, a couple of them.

Ulterior motive 1: 

123D Catch lets you download your image in a number of formats.
So, I can take the .stl file into our 3D printing software and print out some replacement parts when the doors get broken.

Ulterior motive 2:

Some of my year 10 students are messing around with 3D modelling, animation and gaming using AutoDesk's Maya and Unity's Unity3D. I am too. Its all new to me, and I'm no a graphic artist. My game is about minions (and zombies) and I need a home base for my minions. So, I can take the mesh file of the Sylvanian house that 123D Catch gives me and take it into Maya, where I can make it the required minion colour.

From there I can output as an .fbx file for use in Unity and ...

... I have my minion base just on the outskirts of town! ( and my own minion on the edge of the path ... but that's another story).

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