Daily iPad App: 123D Sculpt

123D Sculpt is a virtual sculpture program designed by Autodesk, a software company known for its 3D business software like AutoCAD. Though Autodesk has a rich history of creating professional applications, 123D Sculpt is designed to the artist inside all of us.

The iPad application lets you sculpt a 3D model out of a lump of virtual clay. It supports multi-touch so you can use all your fingers to mold thel clay into any shape you like. For the beginning artist, 123D Sculpt includes several pre-defined shapes that include animals, objects like cars and shapes like a cube.

Once you decide on a shape, you can use a suite of tools to manipulate the clay by pulling, smoothing, pushing, pinching, flattening it and more. You can even apply textures and add color to each creation. And if you want a personal touch, you can import a photo from your camera or photo library and use it a custom texture. When you 're done with your sculpture, you can export it to a transparent PNG. It's unfortunate the app does not let you export the creation to a 3D file format.

Though I am not an artist, I found 123D Sculpt to be very easy to use and enjoyable. The interface is intuitive and the app has a nice help section to explain what each tool and menu bar contains. A multiple undo feature lets you backtrack when you realize you've made some design mistakes.

If you are a budding Michelangelo, then you should check out 123D Sculpt. It' s available for free from the App Store and ships with 15-20 clay models. Additional models are available as an in-app purchase.