In the Age of Abundance, it’s amazing what’s free for creative people. All you have to do is look for it. As I’ve mentioned before, there are great classes offered online for free. The Y Combinator startup class in my last post is just one example. But in addition to education, the tools are free too. For 3D rendering, look to Autodesk. There are nine of these Autodesk 123D online apps that offer and incredible array of 3D rendering capabilities.
Catch: Create 3D scans of virtually any object.
Circuits: Design, compile, and simulate your electronic projects online.
Creature: Have a perfect character idea in your head? Bring it to life with this free app for iPad!
Design: 123D Design is a free, powerful yet simple 3D creation and editing tool which supports many new 3D printers.
Make: Turn your amazing 3D models into even more amazing do-it-yourself projects.
Meshmixer: The ultimate tool for 3D mashups and remixes. Mash, mix, sculpt, stamp or paint your own 3D designs.
Sculpt: Push, pull, pinch, paint, smooth, tug. More fun than a Renaissance studio, cleaner than clay.
Tinkercad: Get started with basic 3D modelling – no downloads required.
Sandbox: Here you’ll find some technology in progress.
If you think these are to complex and you’ll never figure them out, think again. Two years ago, I put my son on one to see how easy there were. He was ten at the time. Within a few hours, he had the Design app figured out and made the coffee cup below. Yeah, to him that’s a coffee cup. It look s more like a transformer/tank. You have to drink out of the spout on the right. He filleted and chamfered all the edges on his own. By the time he finished, he could manipulate the program to a high degree. The only thing I showed him was how to get into the program.
I think the reason he did it so easily is that these programs are similar in nature to minecraft and the Lego Digital Designer. They have a modular sense of construction and the navigation tools are similar.
If you are still intimidated by software, take a look at this video. Using the Catch app, all you have to do is to take some pictures of an object and the program will stich the images together for you, creating a 3D rendering. Take some time to poke through these apps. It’s well worth your time.