Beyond cubes

Today I am glad to deliver the next big update to 3DTin.

Uptil now all the sketches in 3DTin were voxelized approximations of real models. To their credit, voxels are easy to draw, require almost no learning and final models have some retro look. But sometimes you really miss a slope here and a curvature there. Now, you won’t.

You can now add cylinders, spheres, cones and wedges to your sketches. What more, you can tweak their sizes by setting custom parameters (radius, height, etc.). A combination of these shapes along with the versatile cubes, you can easily build a beautiful model in no time.

How do you do it?

You will now see a plus icon added above your left side toolbar.

As you press this new button, you will see a new toolbar containing variety of shapes. Click on one of them and a dialog will pop up. Here you can enter parameters for that shape. As you hit “Add” you are now ready to place the new shape anywhere in your sketch. A ghost image of the new shape gets added to your sketch, which follows your mouse as you find a good location to place it. Once you find such a location, you can just click to place the shape there. 


Once you have added a shape, you are free to move it around, or rotate/flip it. Just click on the move/rotate/flip action buttons in the top toolbar and then click on the shape you just added.

To show you what you can do with the new functionality, I put together this simple sketch last weekend.


This minimal model of my favorite space ride, is assembled using 3 cylinders, 2 half cylinders, 6 quarter cylinders, 19 wedges and few good old cubes. I didn’t exactly time myself, but it took less than an hour after I decided to draw it.

With this new feature, the goal is to keep the workflow similar to voxel based drawing (because that’s the simplest way to assemble a model), while giving you more power to create rich geometry.

I am really excited to deliever this feature today, after past 3 weeks’ continuous development. I can’t wait to see what new models you build with it.

To handle these new models, the export factory had to be revamped too. I have cooked up a new configuration on the server, which should improve the process of exporting the sketches. However, since it’s new, it may go on/off in next few days. Please let me know if you see any outages or see some errors in the exported files.

One last word, to enjoy 3DTin in its full glory you have to have WebGL. The newly added shapes will not render correctly, in non-webgl browsers; let alone the sluggishness of the UI.

Waiting for your feedback. Enjoy!

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2 Responses to Beyond cubes

  1. dwight lemonius says:

    i need help getting the shape its says Advanced Geometry requires WebGL for correct rendering. Please use browser with WebGL support. how can i fix that

  2. 3DTin says:

    Dwight, your browser needs WebGL support in order to use Advanced geometry. Make sure you are using latest version of Chrome/Firefox and you have a decent graphics card. If your graphics card is slightly older, you can still try some tricks mentioned on following support page to get WebGL working: –ignore-gpu-blacklist tag)

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