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123D's first weekly challenge has begun - Steal Public Art Answered

We've extended the challenge deadline! It's now ending August 5th, 2012.
For more information and links to the Catch
software and tutorials,
please head over here.

Head out and use 123D Catch to steal some interesting pieces of public art! What is Catch? It's free software that allows you to turn photos into 3D models. You can download it for PC, use the iPad app, or run it in your web browser. For more information about the software, please check out our youtube page for tutorials and demos!

1 grand prize winner will win a Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D Digital Camera and a print of their winning model! 20 runner up winners will win prints of their winning models!

To enter, follow these steps:

  1. go out and get an excellent Catch of your favorite piece of public art
  2. upload your creation to the 123D gallery anytime between July 9th and August 5th, 2012
  3. tag your model with "public art" and tell us a little about it! We love stories.

For more information (including complete rules because those are very important!), explanation and inspiration,
be sure to check out our official contest page!

Please note: this contest is now open to residents of the 50 United States (including the District of Columbia but excluding Puerto Rico), Canada (excluding the province of Quebec, Canada), United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, China, the Netherlands, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, India, Norway, and Switzerland... though we would still love to see what everyone else can catch!


Nice page, thank you...


6 years ago

Hi guys! Yes, shiny/reflective surfaces screw up the software - my favorite example of this so far has been the "exploding head" effect on the top of a bald coworker's head model. So shiny art + tons of sun is problematic; you may need to come back on a cloudy day, or better yet convince a flock of pigeons to help make the statue less shiny. :) 

For additional tips and tricks check out the official software tutorials here, early-adopter tips/tricks here (back when it was still Project Photofly), and in-the-trenches observations from a MakerBot/Met museum hackathon here.  Hopefully that should help.  

I look forward to the day that the software is indistinguishable from magic, but I'm willing to put a bit of effort into monkeying around to get a free photo-real 3D model.  YMMV.

In fairness, 200-odd photos and several hours of fiddling *is* a bit of effort. YMMV. I mostly just think that you've picked a tough first assignment - with public art you've rarely got control over the lighting, presence of people, access to all angles, etc. As a 3D noob, I think I will wait until the "Steal a small matte object from your dining room table" competition rolls around...

I admit HUGE pieces of public art are really hard. I've got lots that didn't work out. Doing things outside on a cloudy day helps immensely, but that's not always possible.

And we'll be doing a challenge like that at some point! I'm really wanting to do action figures and toys later down the line.

Since this was the first 123 challenge ever, you should have tried creating a public art capture first, then post it as an example.

I do have quite a few and more that I'm editing now. You can see them here:


I've been sharing lots of tutorials/examples/etc through the 123D blog and facebook pages, but not as much here - it's a little trickier to reach a big audience! I am starting to do instructables over how to use the software, though.

Here is the first of many:

There are definitely lots of things that need to be changed to make these challenges successful and I'm working toward it! The first challenge/contest is always the hardest because it's where you make ALL the mistakes. :P

Hey! I managed to edit mine down!!! And find the link to it afterwards!
Not perfect, but not bad for 23 shots, the area where it is most broken, I couldn't properly reach, and there was a strong silouette effect from the sun.
Good first try, if not a little frustrating! I am impressed with the software that the software is running on, interfacing needs work, but feedback'll help.


Thanks @jessyratfink for all her patience and help
(I'll chatter the ear off of a head of corn, and she was really nice about it all)

found the new address,
but it looks like just an image is there now, I do not get this.

Oh I feel for you... lol...

Now I know why I didn't go ahead with this challenge... Its too challenging...

I am not sure whether or not I have tagged mine correctly. public and art come up as two seperate tags. rather than public art, should it be public-art or publicart?

Confusing. I did some more edits, and appear to have lost it again. If it insists on saving as a new file, why is the old one gone. sigh. not sure if the link is still good, can't find my own model.

ARRGGGHHH! Where do they go? Why do they become just an image after you hit save. it is so scary. feels like all my work has vaporized. Nothing, not in the gallery and when I click it in my corner it just shows me an image.......nothing....what?


5 years ago

would anyone like to help me with my project (newbie)
if interested, more info is on this link


I just wanted to bump this request for help. This member is having some problems completing the challenge, so if anyone is able to give some pointers or help, I'm sure rptech would be very appreciative.

He's linked to his question from the Q & A as well for more info.

I can't find the model, it is available to look at on the 123d site? I sorta figured mine out, maybe I could have a peek. I haven't downloaded any software, I used the online app for mine.

rptech sent me a link to his raw files, but I would suggest that he send you a link to the project online. I too only have access to the online version (as there is no Mac version for 123D yet), and I didn't get around to doing my project as I wasn't anticipating that they'd extend the closing date.

I tried, and got fairly good results.
I took 23 shots, and tried the web app.
My frustration comes from editing.
My capture works well, but also models half of the known universe (exageration, but so much of the world that I had to magnify like a god to find my 'scupture' as most of the street, a barn, a house and a lot of field was included.
I spent a bunch of time removing the 'rest', selected faces (awkward) and deleting.
I went through that process twice, but couldn't figure out how to save my changes either time.
I 'added' it as a new model(or tried) but ended up with a single photo instead of the model...so i don't know where I went wrong.
I also found it difficult to select vertices and manipulate them. It seemed i was only able to delete sections and fill holes. (without much control)
The next thing to try will be downloading the software and running local to see if there is a difference, or if I can at least save my progress as I go.
My model is out there somewhere, but i don't have the link handy (if anyone want to edit it or have a look) You'll really need to zoom in and hunt for the scupture, it is about center of the long barn wall (gray bit)
model name is wood man or wooden man, and I think it is tagged as public art anyways, so perhps it is findable.

The download is much easier to use for editing, but I have to admit to not using it. :P

I think all the crazy stuff that happens in the background is really fun. I've got lots of failed/far too wonky catches under my belt now, and I still haven't figured out how to prevent it from RENDERING ALL THE THINGS when I'm working with a big object. Small objects are really easy, it's all about the camera angle.

I got a Catch of a big metal sculpture here in SF in front of a Peet's coffee and it rendered not one, not two, but like FIVE buildings around it, all distorted and crazy thanks to all the glass they were made of. It looked like the scariest nightmare ever. :D

I couldn't find your model, though. I want to see it! Did you check the "share in the gallery" box when looking at your model on 123dapp.com?

Ugh! I like the contest idea.... but I hate that 123D is still not available for Mac OS X. Autodesk has been promising it for OVER a year... :(

Unfortunately, that's Catch 22...

I'm on Safari 5.1.4... they say they support 5.1 and above, but I get an error message saying that "We're sorry but your current browser configuration is not supported"......... *sigh*


It tells me my browser isn't supported either, and tells me to try FF 8.0 or higher.

I'm using FF 13.0.1


Oh, wait.... I got mine working now... Click on the "information" link below FF and you should get more info about what settings you may have to enable... I just did that on Safari and now it works. :)

Same here... Are you close enough to any Olympic related Art?

Oh, I know a torch-bearer!

I wonder if she'd let me...

(Oh, and how upset would the IOC be about me "stealing" the image? That sound's like a plan!)

hehe... I'd do it... The challenge is "Steal Public Art" :D

I've already started chasing down her contact details (she's the girlfriend of a fellow Scout leader).

The thing is, I seriously object to the way the IOC are being possessive of the Olympic brand, and the way our government has changed the law just because the IOC demanded it as a condition of the Olympics being here.

For instance - the IOC has the "right" to get instant take-downs on videos taken by the public inside the event, and breach of trademark, normally a civil offence, is a criminal offence if you breach Olympic trademarks.


We had similar controversy here during the 2010 Winter Olympics... I personally think its a joke. If its a "public" event, imo, its fair game, but they will go to any lengths necessary (even at the risk of looking stupid to the public) to protect their holier than thou "rights"...

AFAIK, torch bearers aren't a "copyright". The torch may be, but thousands of people are photographing and video taping each leg of the route; so if this is someone you know, and is a willing participant, then I can't see how you are "infringing" on any trademarks.

It's the stuff inside the events they've got control over.

Did you know, there's even an "official make-up look", designed by Max Factor? All female athletes will be made up in it to be presented with their medals;

"The Sports Chic beauty look begins with a natural, healthy glow created using Max factor's Lasting Performance Foundation, which is then enhanced with regal purple and gold hues inspired by the official costumes designed by Royal College of Art students"

www.stylist.co.uk via Private Eye magazine.


I'm with you....yuck. How does one have a "natural healthy glow" using make up LOL Seems an oxymoron to me


As much as I approve of The Olympic Ideal, I am falling further and further out with the London 2012 games.

It's become a commercial travesty.

Oh wow... I hardly know what to say.... That's just crazy!

*rolling my eyes in olympic Max Factor Mascara*

Now, I understand Kitefamily leaving the UK at this time.
And so, that is what happened to Helena Rubinstein.


I think that's just "special Autodesk Numerology"... o_0

It does seem to be tricky, all right - looks easy but getting enough shots, of the right subject (evenly lit, not dark, not shiny), taken from all the right angles etc does seem to be far from trivial. I made several different projects and none of them worked - at best I got six photos (out of the many I took) to stitch together, and my attempts to manually stitch also failed (program did not accept points that I matched, and forcing it to accept them just made a giant mess). The closest I got was with the sculpture below; I had plenty of photos and the lighting was good, but I think the program couldn't cope with the reflectivity. The ones taken in bright sunshine didn't work at all. Disappointing, but I got glimpses of the potential of the program... just not sure I'm prepared to take 50-70 carefully set up photos to showcase something in 3D.


6 years ago

So how does this challenge work- is this like the MiR challenge where we have to actually "Make Real" whatever we catch, or is it enough to just use the program?

Just have to post the model to the gallery and you're in! :)

I haven't paid as much attention to 3d software as I ought - 123D Catch is the one where you use an ordinary digital camera to take lots of digital photos of one object, from lots of angles, and the software stitches them into a 3d model, yes?

Yep, that's it! I've been really impressed with what people have been able to do with it. :D