Autodesk 123D Catch for the iPad makes 3D models from your photos

You may have heard of Autodesk’s incredible 123D Catch program that turns your still photos into accurate 3D models. But if you’re a Apple user, you’ve been out of luck since it was only available on the PC and more recently as a web app. But now comes great news for Apple aficionados: like any self-respecting app these days, it now works on the iPad as well (iPad 2 or higher).

Just like the PC and cloud version, the app is free. All you need to do is first create a free account at Autodesk. You’ll be able to download 123D Catch for the iPad on the iTunes store. In addition to the new application, Autodesk is also introducing the “MyCorner” cloud locker, where uses can store their pictures and share them between other Autodesk 3D apps, such as 123D, 123D Catch, 123D Make, and 123D Sculpt.

The app takes as input a number of photos of an object – up to 40, the more photos the better – and then looks for identical points and representative features that exist between them, and from that combines them all together to create a relatively accurate, realistically textured modifiable 3D object.

After you’ve created your 3D model, you can share it with your friends and call it a day, or if you want a physical representation of the model, you can inexpensively print it via a number of 3D printing services made for non-professional users, like Shapeways and Ponoko.

Here’s a Getting Started video tutorial for using 123D Catch. It was created last year for the PC version, but it will give you an idea of how 123D Catch works. More tutorials can be found here.

If you’ve been saving up for a 3D scanner, or planning on getting your XBox Kinect set up as a scanner, maybe it’s not going to be necessary any longer with the advent of the new programs like 123D Catch. At least on the low end, that is. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

For more information on all versions, go to 123D Catch.