Free Autodesk app lets users convert photos into 3D models

Autodesk has unveiled a new software app that lets users quickly and easily capture 3D models from their photographs and ready them for 3D printing.

The Autodesk 123D Catch application, previously codenamed Project Photofly on Autodesk Labs, is a new, public beta release that uses the power of cloud computing to quickly transform digital photos into photorealistic 3D models. This means that anyone capable of using a point-and-shoot, mobile phone or digital SLR camera to snap a series of photos can generate on-screen models of whatever they are photographing and then bring them to life in 3D. In addition to 123D Catch, Autodesk also unveiled 123D Make application, a free technology preview for the Mac that is capable of converting digital 3D models into 2D cut patterns that can be assembled in low cost materials such as cardboard, wood, metal of plastic. According to the company, the cut pieces come together to create a physical representation of the original digital model. 123D Make enables users to create art, furniture, sculptures or other quick prototypes in order to test how a design will look in real life. Autodesk said it developed the technology to act as a digital engineer capable of helping individuals create 3D models and, eventually, transform the models into the real thing.