A fun 3D design app has launched: Gravity Sketch.
The iOS-based app is designed for use on an iPad, where you can, with your fingers, quickly design basic shapes in 3D.
The 3D canvas can be viewed from any direction during your build, and Gravity Sketch provides a number of powerful tools for developing 3D shapes.
Smart shapes automatically recognizes your scrawly circles, squares and triangles and instantly transforms them into spheres, cubes and pyramids.
A number of symmetry features are included, such as instantaneous revolution to quickly create vase-like shapes. This simple vase was created with a 0.5 second finger swipe - that’s pretty fast!
Here we can see an eight-sided symmetry, where I sketched a simple path that quickly transformed into an unusual shape.
You can also build tubes, sweeps, enclosed 3D areas and more. Color, while shown in this post as only blue, can be specified. You can select any color for any portion of the design.
Gravity Sketch uses the iPad’s accelerometers to proportionally tilt the view while you tip the iPad in real life, perhaps suggesting the origin of the app’s name.
It seems very quick to create freeform objects using Gravity Sketch, but I suspect it would be very tedious to attempt to design anything that required precise measurements. This is simply not the tool for that - but it is very good at making casual freeform shapes.
Once you’re done creating an object, there’s two more things you can do with it: print it! The app includes a mechanism to ship your design directly to Shapeways for physical production. It’s likely that this is the method by which the app makers will generate revenue, as the app is otherwise free of charge. Shapeways will pay them a commission for each print completed.
You can also share the final 3D model with SketchFab, the 3D sharing site, where others can not only view your 3D model, but also enable anyone to embed a 3D view of your object on another website.
Gravity Sketch’s interface seems a bit more than introductory, but less than professional, like Onshape. Thus I recommend this tool be used to introduce newcomers into the basic concepts of 3D modeling. It’s free and easy to use, but it will take some practice to become proficient.
Via Gravity Sketch