Free 3D Tools and Community: 3Dvia from Dassault Systemes

3DVIA is the newest of the Dassault Systemes brands. (currently include SolidWorks, CATIA and the now defunct Cosmic Blobs [RIP]) Its mission is democratizing the usage of 3D so that everybody can use it in their everyday life, either at work or at home, through the web. Leveraging all existing 3D technologies of Dassault Systemes, as well as developing new ones, to deliver new types of innovative 3D services, online.
ad will be the meeting point for all the communities wishing to improving everyday’s life with 3D. It will provide both 3D content and 3D services, either very generic or more dedicated to specific goals. It relies on dedicated infrastructure, leverages real-time display and behavioral 3D technologies, and provides services for everyone to imagine, create, share, experience or play in 3D. Not all of the tools are free, and the gaming engine has not been released yet, but it is a step in the right direction.
Online tools include:
3DVIA Shape is a free online 3D modeling application that allows any user to create 3D models and publish them directly to
3DVIA MP – The premiere authoring platform for high-quality 3D game production on multiple platforms including PC, Xbox 360, PLAYSTATION PS3 and online.
3DVIA Composer will change forever the way you create, update and distribute rich product documentation.
3DVIA Printscreen – brings you for the first time and in one unique tool the ability to create and save 3D Scenes on the fly from any 3D application.
3DVIA Live, 3DVIA Live delivers a breakthrough lightweight 3D paradigm for on-line collaborative intelligence, leveraging enterprise 3D and PLM information
There is also a tool for sharing/showing off 3d models on social networking sites like 3Dcollage on Facebook
All of the software is currently P.C. only, and supported 3D file formats are currently limited to:
.prj (3D Studio R1-R4)
.obj (Wavefront OBJ)
.wrl (VRML1, VRML2)
.stl, .stla, .stlb
.dae (Collada)
and 2D formats include
.jpg, .jpe, .jpeg
.tif, .tiff
Which is really quite reasonable.

Users publish their 3D models under “Creative Commons Licenses” which are the best dedicated to a 3D models sharing community. It is the responsibility of the user to choose the suitable copyright to associate with its model. You can also choose to mark your model as “All rights reserved”.

Looks like this is a case of the very big end of town making a decent go of creating a series of open tools and a community around it.
They have also opened it up for commerce including Mass Customization applications such as Lumec3D allowing you to create your own luminaire (lamp) assembly from a large catalog of possible configuration and immediately experience it in real time within different 3D environments.

Here’s one I “designed” in about 8 seconds.. including placing it in a 3d walkthrough environment.
luminaire 1luminaire 2luminaire 3
You will need to have Virtools plug in to make it all happen.

9 Responses to “Free 3D Tools and Community: 3Dvia from Dassault Systemes”

  1. Jesse Louis-Rosenberg Says:

    As someone who has worked for a company that makes a derivative of Dassault’s CATIA, I am very skeptical of this product. It’s a nice gesture, but frankly it’s part of a race between the major 3D companies to get into the online service market. Dassault has a virtual monopoly on high end engineering software, and it costs tens of thousands of dollars to get it. I doubt they have plans on releasing something for free that will take away anything from that part of the market. But that means DIY designers won’t have access to the advanced tools they need to really compete with the traditional industry. The 3DVIA Shape modeler is extremely limited, and I doubt it is easy or possible to engineer designs for production (at least for anything remotely complex).

    In addition DS software has a tendency to lack in user friendliness, and the company itself doesn’t have the best customer service.

    Frankly, what is needed are not hand-outs from big companies but an open source movement from within the DIY community itself. There are currently initiatives like Blender, which are trying to create FOSS alternatives for 3D modeling; however these tend to be based on the animation industry and not geared toward engineering.

  2. Roy Says:

    Wow, cool. Could this be a new standard software for sharing 3D data? Is there a reason that 3DVIA Shape looks so much like Sketchup? That list of formats is certainly a lot better than you get with the free sketchup.

  3. Jon Says:

    There is a great program that I wish was out before I taught myself 3D with 3DS Max over a decade ago called Blender… you can get it here.

    The one nice thing other then cost is that it seems ALMOST equivalent to the very high-end 3D applications out there, it blows away the entry level ones by a large margin.


  4. Hawmij Says:

    “Its mission is democratizing the usage of 3D so that everybody can use it in their everyday life, through the web”

    As long as the software’s PC only the only 3D space I’ll be navigating with this product is my hand moving to close the browser.

  5. Dave5 Says:

    @Jesse – You’re right, but the really critical bit that is missing from this is an set of good standard file types.

  6. Ponoko Blog Says:

    […] Following on from the previous post about Dassault Systèmes 3D tools is another, (re)introducing Cosmic Blobs Pro Built around the idea that surfaces should be manipulated directly, Cosmic Blobs Model Pro is an entry level tool for 3D content creation. Developed by the creators of Cosmic Blobs, with a slightly less cartoony interface, but still basically aimed at kids. This is the Beta version so perhaps the next iteration will be more suitable for design applications. Models can be exported as a triangular mesh into several 3D formats, including standard STL, VRML, and OBJ formats. VRML and OBJ output also includes texture coordinates and images. CBMP, as I will now refer to it, is available for both Mac & P.C. You only need fill in a basic form to get a key to register the 15 day trial to an unlimited version. They have a gallery of (lame) examples and their is also supposed to be a community forum, and a dedicated fan blog site. How much of this is ground up is yet to be seen. As Jesse Louis-Rosenberg mentioned in reply to the previous post, I do not believe that Dassault Systèmes are looking to democratize the 3D design process, but more likely simply trying to stake out more territory for themselves. I doubt that anyone will use it as a tool to produce the next DIY design innovation, but at least it is a free tool to at least get a basic idea about 3D modeling organic forms with a simple, yet limited interface. […]

  7. Roy Says:

    Indeed, Jesse. What we really need is an FOSS parametric modeller.

  8. we dont do retro » Blog Archive » Dassault Systèmes’ 3DVia gives some clues about the future of consumer generated 3D content Says:

    […] (Thanks go to Duann Scott for bringing this to my attention. You can read his thoughts over at the Ponoko blog). […]

  9. Ponoko Blog Says:

    […] There are two main ones, which both come down to the question of ‘quality’. The first is that the surface finish of parts made by rapid prototyping or rapid manufacturing is relatively poor compared to mass manufactured products: they tend to have ridges, or rough surfaces, and the colours are limited. But these are gradually improving, and it’s worth remembering that injection moulding is a process that’s 140 years old. 3D printers and other rapid manufacturing technologies are still in their infancy by comparison. The second limitation is the tools that consumers have available to design their own products. This is hard enough in 2D, which is why I imagine Ponoko has introduced Photomake, for people who can’t use Adobe Illustrator. 3D Computer Aided Design is much harder to learn, most designers take at least three years to get good at a single CAD package. So there needs to be much simpler modelling tools, and that’s now a significant part of my research. But again there are signs that things are moving: Google SketchUp and 3DVia Shape are undoubtedly consumer-oriented, and Shapeways Creator and FluidForms show some interesting approaches. I also think there’s a hell of a lot to learn from Spore Creature Creator, in the way it both helps and restricts you in designing new creatures. […]