uMake 101: Getting started with 3D Sketching on the iPad for free!


With the recent release of uMake version 1.1, we made our advanced tools free for everyone, enabling anyone to free their ideas in 3D without limits. With such a powerful set of tools, it’s never been a better time to get started with uMake! Just like any other App, taking a bit of time to learn the app and the tools will help you maximize your potential when using an app like uMake. After spending months using uMake and creating tutorials around it, here are some of our best tips to help you get started.

Sketching in 3D - go beyond stick figures.

We have all drawn an idea down on a sticky note only to wish that we could spin the idea around to show different perspectives of the same idea. Sketching in perspective however, especially on a 2 inch square is not an easy task. Well, no matter what your sketching skills are, uMake is easy to learn and pick up. While it lets you sketch in 3D, don’t be intimidated by the term ‘3D’. This is not another complex program that will take you months to learn. uMake is primarily focused on helping you quickly sketch out an idea in 3D space. Sketching in 3D means you can sketch your idea from several different views (start out sketching from the side view, then edit some of the curves from the top view, for example) in order to achieve a sketch that is three-dimensional in nature.

Watch the tutorials

Before you begin sketching, we strongly recommend starting out with the in app tutorials. These can be found in the side panel under the “?” icon. We recommend taking a look at “The Basics” section first, which will walk you through the various uMake tools and show you how to use them. From there, take a look at the “Quick Learn” section which contains a few tutorials that demonstrate how to create familiar objects in uMake such as a cube and a soda bottle. The total time to review “The Basics” and “Quick Learn” section is about 30 minutes, but once you’ve reviewed them, you will be well on your way to creating in uMake. The tutorials are always available to re-review in case you need a refresher.

Start with simple ideas

  One of the easiest ways to get frustrated when learning a new piece of software is trying to create something complex when first starting out. We recommend starting off with one or two relatively simple ideas, such as a light bulb, table, or maybe even a watch. Starting simple will let you get a feel for how the interface works and how the tools work, without having to worry too much on the end result. By starting simple and working your way up to slightly more complex 3D sketches, you will be on your way to creating powerful and maybe even complex 3D sketches in no time.

Master the tools

When you start with simple ideas, it lets you explore and have fun with each of the tools in uMake. If you take some time to master the tools, then pretty soon the using uMake will become second nature and you will be focused on the idea and end result instead of how to use the app. We recommend creating a “Scratch” file that you can use just to test out some tools or roughly test an idea before working on it in a new file. We also recommend spending some time playing with each tool in different ways just to see how it reacts and works. Spending about an hour in a “Scratch” file will give you great insight into how many of the uMake tools work. You will discover that the tools uMake offers are quite powerful once you master them.

Breaking elements down

Working in 3D requires a somewhat unique approach to creating. When you sketch in 3D, even if you have an idea for the final object you would like to create, (lets say a book, or a bottle for example) the best way to go about creating in 3D is to break objects down into their simplest elements. A box for example is simply an extruded square or rectangle. A bottle is a revolved curve for example. the curves in the image above will create a light bulb when using the 'Revolve' function for example. When thinking about what you would like to create in uMake, think about how you could break down the object into as few curves as possible. Thinking about how to break down an idea into its most basic elements will not only help you save time when sketching, but will generally result in a beautiful, clean, and easy to manipulate 3D sketch.

Have fun!

We hope you will find these tips helpful. The most important thing to remember when starting out is to have fun. You will be a master at the app in no time! uMake is constantly working on creating new tutorials and tips and trick and sharing them on our Facebook and Twitter feeds. If you have any recommendations or would like to share your creations, we would love to hear from you!

Posted on

August 1, 2016