Not too long ago a web service called 2Shapes was brought to my attention. Its premise is an interesting one – remote interactive bespoke design directly with a client.
From my investigations, it looks as if they’ve recreated the basic levels of Countersketch functionality online via the cloud. The difference is they’ve added a more flexible pricing system alongside a more accessible file exporter to download your own files. It also looks like they’re willing and able to help you bring in your own original models. Overall, it looks to be a good idea, and a welcome new service for those jewellers trying to offer a semi-bespoke online service to their customers. Consider it the next evolution of the build your own ring websites we saw proliferate over the past 10 years.
Really, it seems the only thing letting them down is their difficult-to-read English content on their site. From the looks of things, English is not their first language. But considering how many jewellery CAD software packages started in another language (RhinoGold, 3Design, and JewelCAD, for example), that’s not much of an issue when it comes to features and support.
In practice, this looks like what I warned Stuller/Gemvision about back in 2010 has finally come to pass. To be more specific, they had just released the new version of Countersketch, but they were very particular about letting anyone else add 3D models or export models out of the program. They wanted to keep all of the manufacturing in-house, even for international clients. Needless to say, it was only a matter of time before another developer with less need for tight control caught up with them. With 2shapes, it looks like it’s finally happened.
My verdict? If an online bespoke offering is something your business is considering, have a talk with them and see if they’re a good fit.