French PLM specialist Dassault Systèmes has launched what it describes as a "breakthrough" 3D sketching tool that combines the intuitiveness of 2D painting with the power of 3D modelling.

Catia Natural Sketch enables designers to sketch ideas on-screen as they would do on paper, with the ability to translate ideas into 3D at the same time.

Sketching in 3D with the new software is said to let designers better understand their design in 3D, avoid misinterpretations of 2D views, and better communicate their ideas to 3D modellers. It also helps improve the quality of the final design. Suitable for a range of industries, it can also be used for footwear and accessories.