Flex Your Design Muscles and Bend the Rules of Design with 3D Sculptor

3D Sculptor offers a variety of specialized functions that let you quickly create highly stylized 3D geometry by letting you push and pull, or sculpt, your geometry to the shape you desire. But there are several tools in 3D Sculptor that you may not know about that help automate and control your geometry more easily.


Let’s take a quick look at three subdivision modeling functions.

  •        Arc Bend  
  •        Flex      
  •        Symmetry 


First off, these options are found on the Subdivision section of the action bar in the xShape app:

The Arc Bend function lets you bend the end mesh points on a subdivision object in an arc. You do this by first selecting Arc Bend from the action bar and then selecting a plane in which the bend will occur—sort of like selecting a plane for sketching.

Then select one or more points in the subdivision mesh to set up the extent for the bend. Finally, drag the arc handles to create an arc bend in the subdivision surface. The handle controls the amount of bend and the distance over which the bend acts (see images below).

Arc Bend is all about control and accuracy. Trying to do this manually by simply pushing and pulling geometry would be very difficult and time-consuming. Arc Bend lets you be both fast and accurate when making these types of shapes.

Flex is another great function for creating controlled “fall off” geometry. Flex provides a manipulator to control the amount of fall-off and the distance over which the fall-off acts. As you pull the manipulator handle away from your control line, the geometry will follow proportionally.

As in the last example, you can see the difficulty you would have trying to make this kind of shape by merely pushing and pulling the subdivision surface. Like Arc Bend does for curved geometry, Flex gives you speed and accuracy when trying to make geometry that falls off or flairs proportionally.


And by turning on Symmetry, any edit or manipulation you perform on the subdivision surface will be mirrored to the other side, ensuring that your design is symmetric and accurate about a plane of symmetry.

Trying to keep a subdivision design symmetric without such a function would be pretty much impossible. And being able to create symmetry, only when you need it, allows you to create geometry where some areas are symmetric, and some are not.

Remember that all you need to work from home is an internet connection—no need to lug your CAD workstation around town since your computing horsepower comes from the cloud on the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform. Click here to learn more about 3D Sculptor and how it easily it interacts with SOLIDWORKS®.

We would love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave a comment below. Want a demo? Get in touch with your local reseller.

Craig Therrien

Craig Therrien

Craig Therrien is a Product Manager at SolidWorks