Taking a 2D photo and turning it into a 3D model is something that many users getting started in 3D printing are interested in doing. Sometimes a straight-on shot can help you get basic dimensions, but really transitioning it into a 3D model can be very difficult. Now, Smoothie-3D is trying to make this process easier with their free online modeling tool.

Smoothie-3D is a completely browser-based 3D modeling platform that incorporates several features that are often difficult to do in other programs. You can quickly import and manipulate existing 3D objects and perform actions like embedding text. Of course, one of the coolest features of Smoothie-3D is the ability to trace an image into multiple parts, then individually manipulate the dimensions and placement of those parts into a 3D model.

Their demo video of modeling a squirrel is instantly impressive:

The site requires a free registration to use, and I was pleased to discover that the squirrel model was available as a free demo to all new users. I was even more pleased when I opened the model and removed the texture map to reveal that, while not a detailed sculpt, it was a very recognizable model of a squirrel.

Do you frequently run into a 3D modeling problem, and need to find a tool to solve it? Let us know in the comments below.