Well, this is something new for mobile devices. So far we have found applications like web-browsers, media players, file browsers, text processors, office files editors… Nothing about IDEs for software developers neither 3D modeling/animating applications (which actually is kind of the same case).
Maybe this limit has come to an end, because iPhone can work as a 3D modeler with the new application iTracer, which belongs to the games developer Fabio Policarpo.
iTracer allows you to build a 3D scene with basic primitives like cubes and spheres, and use extrusion and revolution operations to edit the models. It also supports generic triangle meshes with per-vertex normals.
According to materials, it includes a material editor which supports diffuse and specular components, opacity, refraction, reflection, transparency and ilumination. With this app you can render your scenes and save them. This render can work with shadows and multiple lights.
And what about the multitouch feature? iPhone and iTouch include this feature, which is really useful in this application. It allows view scaling, panning and tilting; and object translating, rotating and scaling with simple touch movements.
From SevenClick we’ve wanted to have a try to this app. In general, just to say that it works as it should, but I will note some conclusions.
- GUI: it’s simple, so easy to use. As a good thing I have to say that the iPhone multitouch feature is essential to make the app handy. It helps a lot in the operations of camera movement and rotation.
- Multitouch: as I’ve said before, it’s essential. But as a drawback I can say that the fact that you cannot use both hands (like in PC apps), makes you work slower. Cause you always have to switch between object and camera operations, or have to select and operation from the screen what is commonly faster done by using keyboard commands on PCs.
- Object operations: when objects are small (often when they are created) it’s difficult to select them and operate. So you have to zoom in to be able to take that object properly.
- Renderer: it’s far from computer applications, but includes all the basic features like transparency, refraction and reflection.
- Delete operation: it is “hidden”, is not a visible operation on the screen, you have to navigate through several steps on the menu to be able to delete an object.
- Curve points uneditable: meshes constructed by extrusion or revolution are based on curve points. These points are not currently editable so now you cannot edit the objects you have built using this curves. But iTracer could take this into a future update.
To sum up, I think this kind of applications are not really useful in mobile devices. It’s great to use tiny non-keyboard devices, but for mobile devices purposes, not for computer ones. In this case, PCs are much more useful so that allow keyboard commands and mouse operations at the same time, what makes you develop faster. In addition, the screen is too small to develop big scenes, so the app starts to loose sense. Besides, the operations are too simple to model fine production objects.
However, this application is a beginning, and if it’s improved it could be more useful. But in my opinion, the current sense of this app it’s just to play with 3D modeling and test iPhone and iTouch as a mobile developer device.