Here's a robot video that I found interesting:
Featured on http://www.robots-dreams.com - Autodesk has developed a suite of 3-D design applications targeting people that want to express their creativity using the iPad. Their 123D applications include functionality that enables you to convert sets of photos into 3-D models; design using really simple 3-D modeling; sculpt form and shape models just like you're working with clay; and convert all those designs into real-world objects.
The latest addition is 123D Creature. Released on February 13th, the write-up for Creature made it sound so cool that I had to try it out immediately. I wasn't disappointed.
I was able to grab a copy for my iPad Mini from the Apple AppStore at the special introductory price of $1.99. It installed quickly with no problems. The first screen gives you the option of creating a new creature, working with creatures you already created, or downloading a creature from the online community. It's funny and inspiring at the same time to see all the different creatures other people have been busy creating.
The application interface is easy to use and seemed intuitive, at least to me. In creating a new creature, you start with a simple skeleton type body with a couple of legs and arms. There are controls to create additional joints and limbs; move them around; change the body shape; pose the creature; and scale. Basically what you're doing at this point is rigging the creatures skeleton. It's kind of like roughing out the basic structure, posture, and size of the creature.
I gave my creature a "space alien" look with a wide pointy head and floppy ears, along with webbed feet and hands. I used the shape function to give the creature a potbelly.
The next step is to bake the skeleton, which I think is just a cute way to entertain you while the application takes a minute or so to crank the math and create the actual model.
Once the creature model is finished baking, you have the choice of sculpting, painting, or rendering it. The sculpting mode supports mirroring. If you have mirroring turned on, then any change you make to the model is automatically symmetrically mirrored. This is very useful for creating things like hands and feet. You use the sculpting tools to push the surface of the model in or out; smooth it or sharpen it; and flatten it or grab it. There are slider controls to adjust the sculpting tool size and strength.
I even gave my creature a little bellybutton.
Since I was primarily interested in creating a model that I could 3-D print, I didn't bother to paint it. In the painting module, you have the choice of using a paintbrush, and airbrush, or image paint. Like the sculpting module, the painting module also supports mirroring.
Rendering enables you to create images of the creature varying the lighting type and set up; adding different backgrounds; applying different effects; and changing its orientation. It also has a sharing function so you can print it, save it to the camera roll, post it on Facebook, twitter about it, or send it in an email.
Once you're happy with the creature you can save it; share it with others in the community gallery; or export it.
I exported the creature mesh and have imported it into my solid modeling software. My next step will be to generate an STL file, slice it, and then see how it prints.
I'm really interested in using this application to add aesthetic design value to my 3-D printed objects. It may be a natural bridge between the sharp logical engineering mind and the artistic side. Kind of a left brain - right brain fusion tool.