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Doing 3-D rendering with students can be intimidating. There are so many apps out there, but few are user-friendly for both teachers and students. While you may believe in challenging students to stretch their brains by designing in three-dimensions, the reality is that there are a lot of cumbersome choices out there that don’t fit well in a school setting.
I recently learned about a 3-D design program working to change all of that, and I’d love to tell you about it today.
The motto at Morphi is “3-D Design for All,” and it’s evident they work hard to live up to that statement. I had the chance to speak with the app’s Chief Designer, Sophie Georgiou, who explained more.
“Morphi is very user-friendly but also has robust features and tools. It allows students to quickly go from 2-D to 3-D, and they find it fun and engaging to use. They can design inside and outside of the classroom and even outside of the iPad with Augmented Reality.”
Plus, she added, “Students as young as pre-kindergarten through 2nd are actively using the app as well as grades 3-5, middle school, high school, university level and professional designers.”
If you’ve been on the fence about trying 3-D design with your students, I encourage you to give Morphi a shot!
Before we dive into how Morphi works, let’s talk a little bit about why you might use this technology in the classroom in the first place.
3-D rendering allows students to see the connections between two-dimensional and three-dimensional work. For example, students can take a two-dimensional sketch and, using a program like Morphi, learn how it might translate into a three-dimensional object on the screen.
Furthermore, using these types of programs, students can design objects that are three-dimensional and bring them to life using a 3-D printer.
1. As an extension of any lesson you teach
You can use this type of software to encourage students to create 3-D designs related to almost any lesson you teach. For example, maybe students are working on one-point perspective city drawings. Why not have them render one of their buildings in three dimensions? Or, perhaps you are working with a theme like “the future.” Why not ask your students to design a piece of furniture for 2075?
2. As a sketching or envisioning tool for sculpture projects
3-D design programs are a great way for students to visualize what they might be able to create with actual three-dimensional objects. Instead of having them sketch on paper, you can have them use the software.
3. As a way to practice observational drawing
You can also have students do just the opposite. Have them design a 3-D object on the screen and then sketch it on paper!
4. As an introduction to augmented reality
With Morphi, you can place your 3-D designs into other spaces to see how they might actually look. Challenge your students to create their own sculpture for a specific area in your community! (To see more about Morphi and augmented reality check out this video.)
5. To create actual objects
As mentioned above, students can use 3-D design in conjunction with a 3-D printer to create their own objects. Check out these helpful articles from our archives to get started:
6. To explore symmetry
One cool thing about Morphi is that it has a feature that helps your students explore symmetry. Challenge your students to create a symmetrical 3-D design and watch them become enthralled with the process!
There are a few different 3-D design programs that are good for classroom use. Tinkercad and Google SketchUp are two amazing free options. However, I don’t mind paying for Morphi because it has some features I appreciate for classroom use.
Here are 4 things I like:
In addition, Sophie told me they purposely created basic, intermediate, and advanced tools so people of all skill levels can be successful.
If you have limited funds, but still want to try Morphi, try buying it for just a few devices and have your students rotate through.
If you decide to give Morphi a try, you can find a variety of helpful instructional videos on the Morphi website and in the Morphi app under “Tutorials.” If you’d like to get creating right away, you can follow the two simple tutorials below!
As you and your students explore the app, you will begin to become more comfortable and familiar with all of the design options. You can even upload a jpeg image and turn it into a 3-D design! Through exploration, true learning occurs.
As technology becomes a natural part of classrooms everywhere, Morphi is a great addition to your art studio. Sophie told me, “We recognize and celebrate the power of art educators as leaders in the maker education and ed tech movements. We believe art educators are uniquely positioned in schools because they can often be more experimental and progressive in their approach to teaching – bridging the many academic disciplines including STEAM.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Thanks so much to Sophie for giving us insight into this cool app!
Do you use 3-D design apps in the classroom?
How do you think you could use Morphi to expand your curriculum?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.