Bringing the museum home with you (legally) with 123D Catch

 Guardian Lion courtesy of Asian Art Museum SF

As product manager of 123D Catch, I’m always curious how this powerful little app is being used. Lately, I’ve seen a boom in use of 123D Catch at museums. It is a great app to help truly study a piece in a collection and understand a master’s intention. Putting in the extra credit to heal and 3D print a captured piece can be especially rewarding in this regard.

See a few examples here of taking the museum home with you by way of this handy iPhone/iPad app.

Here is a piece on Gizmodo about a recent 3D Printing Camp where kids are using the 123D Catch iPhone/iPad app to scan dinosaur bones at the American Museum of Natural History in NY:

Another from Techcrunch of an individual using Google Glass to snap photos at Walters Art Museum to capture a sculpture. Photos can then be uploaded via the web app or Windows app:

Of course each museum will have its limitations on what you can capture in 3D and what your intentions are with the captured piece from their collection or a temporary installation. Best to know their take on it before you recreate these masterpieces.

So, if you want to try it out, I’ve created three videos to show how you might do this yourself. Go from shooting photographs of your favorite piece in a collection to 3D printing it with a 3D printing service easily. Many thanks to the Asian Art Museum SF for lending their pieces to capture!

Its as easy as 1…2…3D print!

Step 1: Use the iPhone or iPad app to shoot photographs sequentially around your subject. Here, I use my SLR camera and upload them using the web app:

Step 2: Use the editing and healing capabilities of the 123D Catch web app to clean up and prepare your capture for 3D printing.


Step 3: 3D print your capture using a 3D printing service directly from within the 123D Catch web app!! You can choose from iMaterialise, Shapeways, or Sculpteo, and each has an interesting assortment of material options, including plastics, metals, and ceramic to name a few.


You CAN take it with you. ( With 123D Catch )

From 123D Blog editor and contributor, Andrew Taylor:   My wife and I recently took our honeymoon to Thailand and Cambodia (which seems to be a common thing these days...), and she was extremely patient with my constant stopping to 'Capture' some of the carved sculptures and architecture in Bangkok and Siem Reap. Fortunately, I got some really good ones and processed them when we had a wi-fi connection.  I nearly lost them  all when I ran out of room on the server (I took a lot!) - the app froze and I kept getting an error message to let the processing finish, but a quick upgrade to Premium membership and some iOS file manipulation sorted it out.  (If you've run into this issue before, post below for the solution)

Buddha Feet printed at about 60% scale.

One of the better Catches came from video, oddly enough.  I took a ~20 second video and later played it full screen, hitting Cmd+Shift+3 screen captures every second or so.  Then I took those images and loaded them into the web and desktop 123D Catch app.  I think the softer focus of the video stills creates a more seamless model. Maybe someone else has had some experience with Catching from video?


First print of the Temple Lion

  I've managed to clean up some of the files like the Temple Lion, Buddha Feet and a carved dinosaur relief and printed them on our Objet printers (job perk!), and they're pretty awesome.  We get to relive the trip and we were kind of able to bring back some souvenirs that customs would have otherwise frowned upon. Next, I'm going to make a wooden replica of one of the Temple Lions using 123D Make and 1/4" plywood.  I think the resolution will be pretty good if the lion itself is around two feet high.  I'll do another post when it's finished.

The Art Institute of Chicago – a Catch virtual tour!

Autodesk employee Cody Walker recently made a trip to The Art Institute of Chicago. He captured a good deal of it using Catch! These are really amazing - I think "The End of the Trail" might be my favorite.

So join me as we take a virtual tour of The Art Institute of Chicago! Click the links under the photos to be taken to the 123D Gallery so you can view the model in the 3D viewer. They look even better that way! He's also included more information about the pieces on the Gallery.

Asian Sculpture

The Solitude of the Soul


Daniel Webster

Celestial Beauty (Apsara)

Shiva and Uma

Crowned God Vishnu

Jephtha's Daughter

The End of the Trail

Nydia the Blind Flower Girl of Pompeii


Guardian Figure Dvarapala


The Lost Pleiade

The Puritan

Favorite models in the gallery this week

The title is a teeny bit of a fib this time since we didn't have this post last week. But it is back! Catches are becoming the most common thing in the gallery as of late and they're getting better and better.

church door by Cody Walker

church door by Cody Walker

Frogner Park Oslo Norway by Wayne Trout

Frogner Oslo Park Norway by Wayne Trout

Lion by Jeffrey Lv

Lion by Jeffrey Lv

Falla Lo Rat Penat 2012 by Jaime Almonacid

Falla Lo Rat Penat 2012 by Jaime Almonacid

Weston Super Mare - Sand Sculpture by Andrew Moore

Weston Super Mare - Sand Sculpture by Andrew Moore

123D Catch used in producing a hologram!

Tyrannosaurus Rex  by Anthony Heath

Last week we had a truly amazing catch of a T-Rex's head show up in the gallery. I was blown away by the catch, but as it turns out there's more!

Anthony Heath, the creator of the catch, also created a hologram! He works for Zebra Imaging, a company that produces fantastic 3D holographic prints. Below is a video of his T-Rex head in action, hologram style!

T.Rex hologram from Anthony Heath on Vimeo.

This is definitely one of my favorite uses of Catch so far, right up there with "Go home view" - a short film.

TNW Insider about the upcoming new apps

Some key press attended the 123D event in New York last week where we showcased the upcoming apps together with our partners Objet, Makerbot, Shopbot, and Epilog.     Read the Next Web TNW Insider story about the upcoming 123D apps.    

Coming Soon, 123D apps and eco system

Autodesk is announcing a connected ecosystem of apps, platforms, and communities that transforms the experience of 3D design and personal fabrication. Utilizing the power of the cloud and the crowd, the 123D family connects free 3D creation tools with content, community, and fabrication services, so anyone can create, explore, and make. 123D Catch - Take photos of people, places, and things and transform them into detailed 3D models. 123D Sculpt - Explore, shape, and paint 3D sculptures on the iPad. Share your creations with others and export them as OBJ data. 123D Make – Turn your 3D models into cut patterns and animated assembly instructions for making artful creations. 123D - 3D design software enabling personal creation and fabrication of precise and finished objects. My Corner – Your personal cloud storage for your design files, connecting 123D products and workflows. Use your data with the different 123D apps and create physical object through our fabrication services. Gallery - Publish and share your projects and access other people’s creations from the Gallery directly in the products, giving you access to an abundance of ideas of things to create. Instructables - More than 14 million individuals use Instructables every month to explore their interests in technology, crafts, home improvement, art, cooking and more. At the core of Instructables are expert authors who have created and shared more than 65,000 personal projects in the clear step-by-step Instructables format. The updated family of 123D apps is going to be available on desktop, mobile and web browser platforms soon.  Stay tuned for updates.

3D Printed Robotic Dinosaurs!

Something very neat is happening at Drexel University - dinosaur bones are being scanned and then 3D printed! Dr. James Tangorra and Dr. Kenneth Lacovara have teamed up along with other researchers to get this project going.

The dinosaur bones will be printed both at normal size (for display in museums) and on a smaller scale. The smaller scale bones will be assembled into full skeletons and then turned into robots so that the researchers will be able to study how the dinosaurs really moved. The doctors hope to have a robotic limb created by the end of 2012 - a full model will take much longer.

3D printing has really revolutionized the field of paleontology - I can't wait to see where this goes.


Minecraft: now 3D printed!

Castle, fixated

Eric Haines, an Autodesk employee, has created something fantastic: Mineways. The site walks you through how to to capture your Minecraft creations and get them ready for 3D printing. If you've got a Minecraft world or structure you're super proud of, you should check it out!