Skip to main content
Ages 13+
Under 13
3d model of a human

123D catch: print your own 3d replicas of artistic masterpieces


A free app makes it possible to materialize reproductions of beautiful artworks.

Software company Autodesk has an established reputation as the developers of AutoCAD, one of the most popular 3D design applications. Their recently developed 123D Catch is a free app that allows users to convert digital photographs into detailed 3D models using cloud-based technology.

Autodesk partnered with MakerBot, a community of engineers with a wide variety of creative backgrounds committed to the advancement of 3D printing. For two days, the San Francisco Museum of Asian Art allowed a handful of these technology and art enthusiasts to photograph their priceless collection freely in order to test out the new software. Participants’ photographs of millennial Eastern relics were then rendered into 3D models and materialized using MakerBot’s Replicator printers.

The resulting models are impressively detailed considering the variety of materials photographed. As new as the technology is, it has done a fine job of replicating textures. The developers plan for artists to be able to experiment with the pieces, remixing the models and contributing to these centuries-old works of art.

Autodesk and MakerBot’s innovations seem to have reached a very promising point in the history of 3D printing, excellent news for those of us who dream of bringing the museum into our homes.

Related Articles