We ran across an intriguing software tool that can be used to develop incredibly cool 3D models. It's called "SUBSTANCE", from NeuroSystems. Here's NeuroSystem's tagline:
NeuroSystems creates and provides leading edge, high quality applications in the fields of realtime 3D simulation and Computer Graphics. One of those applications is SUBSTANCE, the Evolutionary and Organic Art Creator.
SUBSTANCE is a realtime 3D application for producing photorealistic Evolutionary Art.
Powered by NeuroSystems' procedural organic modeling technology P.O.M.E and advanced rendering technology P.U.R.E, SUBSTANCE exploits the process of evolution to create an artwork which continually changes according to a genetic evolutionary algorithm. Basically, the artist is able to control the development of a piece of work through some form of "selection", in a manner analogous to natural selection. In a system such as SUBSTANCE, one or more parent virtual sculptures are mutated and/or crossbred to produce a number of "children", which are then selected again. These results are then used to produce the next "generation".
Evolutionary systems such as SUBSTANCE allow the artist to generate complex unique unpredictable computer artworks in a very visual way.
SUBSTANCE offers a variety of approaches for developing models, visualization modes, and procedural structures. Fractals are automated, and we especially like the Genetic Mutation feature for truly wild outcomes. Be sure to explore their features and image gallery for many examples.
The 32-bit Windows app has modest computer requirements, with the exception of the graphics card, which should be as fat as possible. A free viewer is available now, but a "classic" and "complete" versions should be available in December and January, respectively.
Just in case your MakerBot has nothing to do, USD$80 and SUBSTANCE can create some very interesting ideas.