Voxelise is a computer aided design (CAD) program developed by UK-based software company Digimania. Its pixelated style is designed to get children into 3D modeling, and allows users to 3D print their creations and Minecraft imports.
To find out more, 3D Printing Industry spoke to Voxelise lead developer Neil Goodman about voxels, education, and retro gaming.
Inspired by retro video games
Neil is a former game developer and has been with Digimania since the company’s inception in the early 1990s. He says,
I started messing around at home when I was in my teens, just typing in things that were in magazines and trying to make my own games from there. So I’ve got a love now of retro games, because it’s from that period.
In 2016, the company were looking to devise a new product. This is when Neil suggested something from the 3D modeling angle. He says,
I was looking for something to be able to make my own assets for games in my spare time. Doing it in voxels is something I can manage, whereas a more complex 3D tool like Blender or Maya is way beyond me.
The decision to follow an educational approach was made after a business in Shanghai showed interest in Digimania’s existing Muvizu animation software for children.
3D printing always part of the plan
The software was officially launched at 2017’s Bett Show, to which thee company received an unprecedented positive response from teachers and tech experts. The launch was also noted by 3D Printing Industry editor-in-chief Michael Petch.
Since the block-placing Minecraft game took off with children (Ed- and adults!), and has subsequently been introduced in schools, brick-based design software makes perfect sense. Though objects in the Minecraft world aren’t specifically created for 3D printability. With Voxelise however, 3D printing has always been part of the plan.
What’s next for the software?
As CTO, Neil has designed a flexible roadmap for the next 6 – 12 months of the software’s lifecycle. Complementing an educational focus, he comments,
We’ve really tried to make the whole user interface very accessible and straightforward. So we’ve taken a lot of feedback on the existing user interface and we’re really polishing and re-designing that to make it the best it can be.
Having cracked the size of pixelated Voxelise files that were surprisingly large to start with, the plan is also to introduce new features to the software, including an enhanced first-person design view.
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Featured image shows a SkyShip 3D modeled in Voxelise. Image via Digimania