There is no doubt in my mind that the future of 3D design will be incredibly intuitive. Until recently, CAD software was used in professional environments by users who had been trained in the software for years. These individuals possess talents that far exceed mine. The software was not intended for people like me, who can barely hand draw something as simple as a pumpkin or even a soccer ball.
Then 3D printing came along, giving regular people like you (well, most of you) and me the ability to make just about any design we want. With this new technology comes the desire of many to create their own unique 3D models for printing. Over the past two years, CAD software has improved and new apps for smartphones, tablets and computers are appearing with intuitive interfaces that even your grandmother could understand.
One such piece of software comes in the form of a new iOS app for use on Apple’s iPad, produced by a company called MediaUtopia. The application, called Sage, allows the creation of unique 3D models using a simple touch interface. Once a user has created something they want to print, no 3D printer is needed. Through a partnership with iMaterialize, Sage will allow its users to pay a fee and have their designs shipped right to their doorstep.
As for the Sage app itself, which can be downloaded here, I spent some time playing with it this morning. I’m not good with directions, so I ignored them and dove straight into the app. Within minutes, I had figured out how to use the main features of the design tool.
There are already a number of interesting templates to work with. Once selected, the user can use a variety of tools to quickly, easily and intuitively shape this object as desired. There is also a rather interesting “Surface” function which will allow you to color an object with a few simple tools. However, one of my favorite options in Sage is the “Random” icon. When selected, whatever pattern a user has on their screen will randomly transform its shape and surface colors. I could literally sit here for an hour watching colorful new designs pop up on my iPad screen, and when the “Play” function is activated, these designs start spinning in all directions, almost putting the user in a trance.
Once a user is satisfied with their model, they can save it, share it via their favorite social networks or “create” it. When the “Make” icon is selected, the system automatically calculates a price for iMaterialize to 3D print that specific model. If the user agrees, they can simply “verify” and have that model shipped to them.
There are a number of apps that allow some of the same basic functionality. It really depends on the person, which one will suit them best. Sage is free to download and will give you hours of fun even if you don’t want to print one of your designs. If you do, however, please share them with us in the Sage 3D Modeling App forum thread on 3DPB.com.
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