3D design apps

Apple Vision Pro: Five apps for 3D design

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The release of the Apple Vision Pro in February 2024 is taking 3D design capabilities off the desktop and out into the virtual world. Emilie Eisenberg brings news of five apps that are promising their most interactive versions yet


Onshape Vision

Onshape Vision by PTC syncs with CAD and PDM systems to allow product designers to view and collaborate on 3D CAD models. Designers can hold, expand and resize their products, and use hand gestures, eye movements and voice commands to edit their designs. PTC’s goal is for colleagues based in different locations to feel like they’re sharing the same physical space and collaborating on the same design.

Availability: $0 free plan (for noncommercial use), $1,500 per user per year standard plan (for commercial use), $2,500 per user per year professional plan for teams


Shapr3D

Shapr3D is bringing its CAD ecosystem to the Apple Vision Pro for an immersive 3D design experience. Designs can be controlled with the Apple trackpad and keyboard, as well as hand and eye movements. The goal is to allow designers, customers and sales departments to test products without the need to create prototypes. Collaboration can take place in real time, and brands can use their own custom materials in their designs. The software is powered by the Siemens Parasolid kernel.

Availability: Currently available as an extension to the enterprise plan, which is individually priced based on the needs of the team using it. One subscription covers Mac, iPad, and Windows.

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Campfire 3D

Campfire 3D, a spatial computing app for communicating 3D information for design reviews and training, is working on a version for the Apple Vision Pro. It has the same aims as the Meta Quest version – to replace 2D documents and videos with interactive 3D scenes. The updated version for the Apple Vision Pro aims to improve the user experience and make collaboration easier. Users will be able to examine, pull apart and edit designs, and draw measurement lines on their designs and on real-life elements around them for quick measuring.

Availability: Later in 2024


Vectary

Vectary is an online design studio for creating or importing 3D designs and adding textures, optimisations and animations. Designs can be sent to AR (including Apple Vision Pro) as a link, allowing customers to view 3D designs as relative to their own space, without needing to download an app.The platform is intended for use by both professionals and nonprofessionals, with an easy-to-use interface. Vectary users can also create digital twins of 3D designs using API, allowing editing and handling on Apple Vision Pro as well as viewing.

Availability: Free starter version available. Vectary Pro is $15 a month for a yearly subscription. Business workspaces have custom prices depending on requirements

3D design


Swatchbook Remix

Swatchbook Remix is a spatial 3D design app aimed at fashion designers and soft furnishing developers, as well as anyone who is interested in this field. It allows users to scroll through fabrics, designs and clothing products. Users can interact with detailed 3D models, edit colours and designs and examine textures. The app is intended for use by anyone, regardless of their technical expertise. Swatchbook’s goal is to contribute to sustainable design practices by enabling users make informed decisions before purchasing for manufacture.

Availability: Free download, with paid subscription for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. (Paid subscription offers monthly asset and material drops.)


Pixel streaming to the Apple Vision Pro

Like all XR headsets, the Apple Vision Pro has a relatively low-powered integrated processor. Therefore, in order to render more complex and realistic models, graphics processing must be performed on a powerful workstation, server or in the cloud, with resulting pixels then streamed to the headset.

Nvidia has launched a new cloud service that allows firms to do exactly that. The technology makes use of Nvidia’s new Omniverse Cloud APIs and works with Universal Scene Description (OpenUSD) industrial scenes. At Nvidia’s recent GTC event held in San Jose, California, Nvidia presented an interactive, physically accurate digital twin of a car streamed in full fidelity to the Apple Vision Pro.

A designer was able to toggle through paint and trim options and even enter the vehicle — blending 3D photorealistic environments with the physical world.


This article first appeared in DEVELOP3D Magazine

DEVELOP3D is a publication dedicated to product design + development, from concept to manufacture and the technologies behind it all.

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