I am pretty sure I found this app from Richard Byrne. I realize that many of the cool apps that I try out on the iPad often come suggested from Richard (Thanks, man!). Along with his amazing Free Tech for Teachers blog site, Richard also runs the periodic app review at his iPad Apps for School site. Both are worth following.
Anyway, this app — 123D Creatures — is a nifty three-dimensional creation tool that allows you to design and “cook” creatures, and it’s free. What I liked about it is the simplicity of instructions (the app walks you through the entire process) and the range of ways you can invent something new, something crazy, something interesting. You are in charge of body shape, texture, colors and even poses as you go through the process. The “cooking” part if when you are done, and the app renders your creature as an image that you can then export. (It occurred to me, too, that if you used the new ThingLink app with this image, you could perhaps create an interesting “story” or “informational text” layered on top of it. That’s for another day, perhaps.)
The process reminded me a lot of our claymation work — in which kids are using their hands and minds to create something out of a giant blob of nothing. Here, with the 123D Creature app, that nothing is virtual, and yet, you could easily make connections to the way engineers design things using CAD (computer aided design) software programs. A lot of the same steps that would go into an engineer design also goes into creating a creature here.
Peace (in the mold),
PS — I see in the reviews of the app that some folks had trouble with the rendering. I did not. But it’s good to read reviews just to get a sense of potential troubles.