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App review by Mark Chen, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2015
123D Sculpt+

123D Sculpt+

Easy-to-use 3D sculpting app works well on tablet, mobile

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Arts, Creativity

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Pros: Powerful and intuitive features make for a joyful, flexible creative experience.

Cons: The myriad of tools can be overwhelming at first, and the user forums are not well-supported.

Bottom Line: Where other 3D apps focus on hard-edge geometric shapes, this app successfully focuses on organic shapes better-suited to character design and sculpture.

Teachers should let each student play around with the app individually: It would be difficult to share a tablet, since 123D Sculpt+ requires so much detailed hands-on time. It could just as easily feature in an art classroom as in an engineering lab. Projects can be shared with the public and exported for 3-D printing, allowing for authentic creations and access to a larger audience. Combining 123D Sculpt+ with another app that concentrates on non-organic shapes, such as 123D Design or Tinkercad, would give students very powerful tools to create objects that both serve design needs and explore artistic visions.

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123D Sculpt+ (the enhanced version of 123D Sculpt) is an extremely easy-to-use digital sculpture app. Using it makes you feel like you're creating real-life clay sculptures -- except that the app can create symmetrical shapes along a center axis, and you don't get your hands messy. Designing human, animal, or fantastical creatures becomes effortless, as you only have to make one arm and one leg; the other limbs are automatically mirrored. It also supports standard digital-creation tools such as copying and pasting, resizing, and rotating. Once their sculptures are created, users can pose them by bending joints or turning the head and can even change the color by finger-painting. 

Projects can be shared or sent to a 3D printing service (Sculpteo), and there's an extensive, colorful gallery of user creations to browse through for inspiration. 123D Sculpt+ is a native tablet app, not a desktop-first app, so finger and thumb touch controls work perfectly. Additionally, there's good desktop integration: The 123D website lets users view their own libraries and export 3D files to use in another app or send to a personal 3D printer.

This powerful 3D sculpture app perfectly captures the joy of working with clay and enhances that experience with some terrific digital tools. The best part about 123D Sculpt+ is that its design is so intuitive and inviting. It begs to be explored, making it easy for students to hop in without specific goals in mind. When first launched, 123D Sculpt+ displays an overview guide of how to use all its sections, so it's easy to focus on creation rather than struggling with the interface. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a way to review this initial guide at a later time, so something important might be missed if it's skipped. The regular start screen defaults to a gallery of user creations, and each specific section has its own associated pop-up help for tools.

123D Sculpt+ is part of a larger suite of apps in the 123D line from Autodesk. The support website covers all the apps, which is great due to a large user base and lots of creations to check out in the gallery. It's also a drawback because Autodesk doesn't make it very easy to get support beyond its own help pages. A user-driven forum exists but is hard to find and therefore rarely used.

Overall Rating


Powerful, amazingly easy 3D sculpting and painting app is a joy to use, with an interface that will pull students in.


With a design that's intuitive and inviting, students are able to hone their spatial skills while expanding their creativity.


Beginner guides are built into the app for newbies, and video tutorials exist online, but, surprisingly, user forums are not well-supported.

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Mark Chen Researcher

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