Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cubify Capture Announced - Image to 3D

I almost missed this one in a timely fashion because I have been focused on the Cubify Blog.  But, it was released on the 3D Systems news page.  The press release is titled...

While I hate simply cutting an pasting any press release, I have to at least post some snippets of the release because it contains some very intriging information about a process that is similar to something I have used before.  I'll explain after cutting and pasting...
"ROCK HILL, South Carolina –January 9, 2013 – 3D Systems  (NYSE:DDD) announced today that Cubify Capture, a new portal service that allows users to upload photos and videos from their digital, smartphone or tablet camera to its destination and automatically transform the images into 3D models, will be demoed at CES, January 8th – January 11th, 2013, in the Las Vegas Convention Center in the Main Hall, booth 15447."
Ok.  So far, this seems to be a service similar to 123D Catch, which I wrote about earlier this year. The idea is to take a series of pictures, while moving around an object.  Then you upload those pictures to a cloud service and it produces a 3D object from those images.  But, as the press release goes on, it appears that there is one HUGE difference for Cube and other 3D printer owners.
"The company plans to expand the services of its Cubify Capture portal to include a full suite of thematic scan-to-print web and mobile apps. Users can capture on the go and upload pictures or video to where a 3D model is generated automatically and saved in the user’s Cubify account. These 3D models can be used for further modeling, customizing or fusing with other elements and readied for printing at home or through Cubify cloud printing, in monochrome, durable plastic or full color."
Here where I believe the two apps go their separate ways.  While I have managed to eventually get a 123D Catch object to print, the surfaces that it produced were very poor for 3D printing and required a LOT of patching to produce anything close to useful.  It appears that Cubify Capture is designed from the ground up to produce printable 3D objects!  I talk about the laborious process I had to go through to print a 123D Catch object on this blog entry titled "From point & shoot camera to cube printer,"

If you can get past the creepy disembodied plastic head, which I used to refine my portrait lighting skills, you'll see that it took a bit of effort to go from 2D images to 3D print.  Even so, the fact that I could do it at all was amazing to me.  Cubify Capture sounds like icing on the cake!

I can hardly wait to see the results when it's finally up and running for all of us.  And, in this regard it looks like they will be releasing a beta of the initial app in a suite of apps, according to these two paragraphs. 
"The company plans to develop a series of Cubify Capture apps starting with Cubify Capture: Faces, designed specifically to capture facial features and seamlessly turn them into customized 3D printable memorabilia. Cubify Capture: Faces for mobile will also be demoed at CES.
'We’re thrilled to invite users and educators to explore and experiment with the beta release of Cubify Capture, the first true real-world-to-print capture tool,” said Cathy Lewis, CMO, 3D Systems. “We are excited to see what our growing Cubify community will capture and print.' "
You can bet that I will be watching for that beta to be released.  And, the minute I spot it I will let you know.  The more of us that pound on that app, the better it will be.  Being able to simply capture something with a simple camera and then having it be able to be printed out on our own Cube's or in color on Cubify's Cloud printers is an awesomely useful idea!


  1. Tom: I did manage to try this new feature but my first and only attempt crashed it. I immediately sent in a bug report and the folks at are working on it. Hopefully they'll get it fixed soon! - Eric

  2. Thanks, Eric.

    I also attempted to load images. I'll try to find out if there is a special way to report errors.

    I appreciate your pointing this out. I hadn't even noticed the link before your comment. :)