On its own, the iPad is a great product. With the addition of the awesome apps that enable you to easily create wonderful products, such as Martha Stewart CraftStudio, Paper by FiftyThree, GarageBand, and VidRhythm, the iPad truly shines. Today, I will share about a new app that enables you to easily design your own 3D objects on the iPad, entitled Foldify.
Fold Here to Start
Developed by Pixle, a three-man team based in Poland, Foldify is an awesome iPad app that enables you to create your own colorful 3D figures from scratch. To ease the design process, the app gives you a 2D flattened template from which the 3D object will be constructed. As you manipulate the design on the 2D template, you will be able see to a real time preview of the 3D form.
To create your 3D model, you start by selecting one of the existing models in the gallery or by tapping the new button to create a new one based on the built-in templates. The templates provided in the app's initial version include an action figure, a car, a bus, a tree, a house and a ball. Once you have selected a template, you can start editing your model.
You can use the colored pencil and brush to draw and decorate the template to fit your desired model. You can also add stamps and patterns to your design. Once your design is completed, you can save the 3D model as an image on your Camera Roll, send it via e-mail, share it on Facebook and Twitter, or share it with other users in Foldify online community. But, the best thing that you can do with your creation is to print it and bring it to life.
Foldify supports AirPrint-ready printers, but if you don't have one, you can always send the cutting and folding instructions as a PDF file to your e-mail account. You can then download and print it. Once you've done that, be sure to spare at least 20 minutes to start cutting, folding and gluing.
What Parents Need to Know
Krzysztof Zabłocki, the developer of Foldify, specifically mentioned in a recent interview that he and his team had no intention of creating this app just for juniors. Instead, they wanted to create an app that can be used and enjoyed by everyone, including adults.
As someone who is just so-so when it comes to arts and crafts, I find the Foldify online community to be both inspirational and practically useful. With a single tap on the Online tab, the app allows you to browse through the various designs that other users have created and shared. You can use these as inspirations to create new and exciting stuff, or just print them and start paper crafting with your juniors.
At the time of this review, the app has a limited number of templates and stamps that you can use. The developers have confirmed that they will be releasing new 3D object model templates in the future updates, both for free or as in-app purchases.
The app comes with 11 different stamp packages (for a total of hundreds of stamps) that you can use for free. These stamps include variants of eyes, mouths, noses, moustaches, hands and glasses that are very helpful for creating action figures. There are also various car parts, home accessories, fruits, leaves and patterns that you can use to decorate your models. If you want more stamps, you can browse through the various packages that are currently available as in-app purchases in the Extras tab.
What I Like
First and foremost, the real time 3D preview is a great feature that makes designing the models easier. For parents, this feature can also be used as a tool for sharpening your junior's spatial visualization ability.
The app is also intuitive and tactile; you can drag the 2D template with a two-finger gesture, pivot to rotate it, and pinch to zoom in and zoom out. I really like the developer's approach of not providing multiple brush sizes. Instead, the app allows you to zoom in to have your fixed-size brush stroke smaller, and zoom out to make it larger. I find this approach more powerful than having multiple brush sizes.
One of the hardest parts in any product design is balancing between power and usability. I personally think that the developers have successfully achieved this by allowing the users to easily personalize their designs but still keep them within the provided templates. Good designs enable users to easily create great products and make it hard for them to create bad ones. I sincerely believe Foldify does this.
Having tried Foldify with a few friends, here are several tips for when you try the app for the first time:
- If you want to revisit the in-app tutorial, you can tap on the information icon on the top right corner and choose Guide from the popup menu.
- If you applied multiple stamps on the template and you want to re-arrange their orders in the stacked layers, simply tap the one you want to bring forward. There is no option to lock or send a layer backward, and you can't override the tap behavior to not bring a stamp forward. Hence, knowing this default behavior is crucial.
- If you want to lock the changes that you have just made, simply switch from the current editing mode to another. For example, if you want to keep a stamp position, orientation and size, just switch from the stamp tool to the brush tool.
- If you picked a custom color from the color wheel, I would suggest adding it to your palette. Simply tap and hold on any color on the palette that you want to replace.
- If you want to return to the default zoom and orientation, tap on the transparent restore scale button on the bottom left corner of the 2D canvas.
- When printing the 2D template, you can safely choose the large size because it can still fit on an A4-size paper.
- Before you start paper crafting, prepare a pair of scissors or a cutter and a glue stick. You would also need about 20 minutes to cut, fold and glue the model. For more complex models, it might be a lot faster to use a cutter instead of scissors.
Foldify is an excellent app that iPad owners should consider getting. Its intuitive user interface makes it easy to create beautiful and personalized 3D figures. If you were thinking to get rid of your printer, don't do it. At least, not until you've tried Foldify.
Foldify is available for iPad
Get it on the App Store: iPad