123D Sculpt

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
123D Sculpt App Poster Image
Push, pull, and paint iPad clay to make fantastical images.

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 3+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about shapes -- especially three-dimensional shapes, such as cubes and cylinders -- and how shapes make up different objects in part-whole relationships. As kids try out the art of digital sculpture and painting, they exercise imagination and the mastery of a multitude of tools and options. On 123D Sculpt, kids make new digital creations that they can then share socially via email, YouTube, and more. The app also helps kids learn sculpture vocabulary, like "pinch," "smooth," and "bulge." 123D Sculpt is a great outlet for creative fun, especially for artistically inclined kids.

Ease of Play

Even with the initial tutorial, as well as the show "Tooltips" option, this app takes quite a bit of experimenting, time, and patience to begin to master. Younger kids may be frustrated until they understand the idea that to create a 3D image, there are many more sides to be painted, shaped, and maneuvered than in a "flat" image.


Bullet holes are an image option to choose from in the in-app albums to include on the sculptures.


The in-app Sculpt Store provides more base sculpture options to choose from, for $0.99 per set. The publisher's name, Autodesk, is found on main screen and the company's news site is linked to in the app.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 123D Sculpt is an innovative art app that allows users to change and paint basic sculpture shapes of heads, bodies, airplanes, dogs, basic shapes, and more into endless sculptures. If kids click on the "News" tab, they'll go to a page where there are a number of examples of favorite sculptures of the week chosen by the creator's staff. A few of the images here (bulging red eyes and tattooed, morphed faces) might be scary for some younger kids. Kids can share their creations via social media sites, so parents might want to discuss when this is appropriate. Also, the app offers in-app purchases, so parents not wanting that option should turn off in-app purchases in the iPad's settings.

User Reviews

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Kid, 10 years old September 19, 2011

What's it about?

Kids choose from a variety of basic, gray objects, such as a dog or an airplane, to begin sculpting more unique figures. Using 123D Sculpt's tools, they can do many things, including elongate, twist, bulge, and flatten the image of the object before painting it. The tools let kids use their hands on the screen in ways like pinching and smoothing; it feels like manipulating real clay in some ways. Kids can also import and manipulate photos from their iPad's photo library. There are many options for posting and sharing their creations online.

Is it any good?

123D SCULPT is an amazingly powerful, free app for creating images that can wow, confuse, and challenge perspective. That said, this can be a frustrating app for younger kids who aren't yet able to grasp the 3D concept, or for older kids who need more direction that the initial tutorial and very basic tool-tips. But for the artistically inclined, this app will open new worlds of possibilities for invention and creativity.  Kids can share the sculptures they create (including those that include images taken from their own camera) via YouTube, email, Dropbox, Facebook, Flickr, and more. So it's a good idea to review rules about what sort of photos may not be appropriate for this sort of tool, and a reminder that people who are in the photos may need to give their permission for their image to be used and morphed if posted publicly.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Remind kids to ask permission of people who are in photos they manipulate if they want to post them publicly.

  • Show kids real-life objects that illustrate the concept of three-dimensional shapes like cylinders, cones, and cubes.

  • Work with kids to make homemade sculpting clay (you can find recipes online) -- or buy it to work with at home.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love being creative

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