Thursday, 19 May 2011

Autodesk 123D

The beta of Autodesk 123D is finally out and is available for download over on the 123D website. I say finally out, but to be honest, the software was only announced recently, so it has not been a long wait at all.

I like the premise behind 123D. The ability to model a product in CAD is nothing new, but 123D brings the process a step further by allowing you to send your finished model to a number of partners who will then either create the model for you as a 3D print, or send you a 2D model kit which you can assemble yourself.

Before I go any further though, it should be noted that my ability with 3D CAD is severely lacking. 3D modelling is not and never has been part of my job. I’ve dabbled with 3D Studio, Blender, Sketch Up and trueSpace over the years but have never had much success. I have high hopes that 123D will free the hidden modeller buried deep inside me!

After downloading 402 MB setup file, I started the installation. Not long into the install, I got an error telling me that my my graphics card was not supported, but like a typical man, I ignored it and carried on. The rest of the installation went fine with no more error messages. I was soon greeted with the shortcut below. Success, error message bedamned!

After starting 123D, you are greeted with the Get Started screen as shown below, which as you can see, no only allows to open or create new files, it also has some tutorials available too. I think that’s a nice touch. Obviously though, I’ll just ignore them till I get really stuck!

OK, so I clicked on the option to Create a New Project and the Modelling Screen, just like the one below, appeared. Now the fun begins. I get the feeling I should have read some of the Learn about 123D guides above!

Hmm…. I’ve tried playing around with it to no avail. This is no fault of the software, this is purely down to my own lack of ability! I guess I will have to actually read a manual or a user guide for 123D, oh the shame of it all!! I’ll have to devote some time over the weekend to get to grips with the package. Hopefully, after following the tutorials, I might be able to create a 3D model of something that is not a cube or a sphere!

On a side note, Blender and trueSpace are also free downloads. They don’t do what 123D does, but then 123D does not do everything they do either. Check them out, broaden your horizons!

I am running 123D on an aging Sony Vaio VGN N38E, with 2GB ram and Windows 7 Ultimate.

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