Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

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3D Printed Custom Jewelry

July 9, 2016

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One of the cool things about using a service like Shapeways is that you can get 3D prints made in materials like metal–even precious metals. This clasp was a commission for fashion designer Katie Bickford-Sawkings. It is printed in polished silver from a model created in ZBrush:

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Shapeways first prints the model in a castable wax, then uses a traditional lost-wax process to cast the final piece in metal.

Each material has it’s own design constraints, which has been a sometimes frustrating learning experience for me, as I’ve had to keep tweaking things to create something that will print successfully and pass through multiple steps to become a finished product….

Sometimes a customer wants text engraved or embossed on a small piece of jewelry. While I can model it as small as I want–there are limitations to how fine a detail you can get. The smallest detail that you can get is about 0.3mm, so when you model the text you have to think about the thickness of the strokes and serifs rather than the height of the letters. You also have to be aware of the space between letters!

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On this jump ring, the customer wanted the word “C.U.R.E.” in a font that had thin serifs. To scale the text up so the serif was 0.3mm would make the word too big to fit on the ring! So I had to go in and modify each letter, offsetting the original curves to create letters that would make it through the process.

But even though there are some design constraints with this process, there is also a lot of freedom when it comes to sculpting digitally and then reproducing that piece with 3D printing.

An example is this Bahamian conch shell. The client wanted this specific type of shell in a piece of jewelry, and airmailed me an actual shell so that I could use it as a reference.

conch-shell-in-color

I used a Structure 3D scanner to capture the basic geometry of the shell and then imported into ZBrush.

StructureScan

The scan data gave me a pretty good base mesh for the shell, and I had the actual conch shell in my lap as I went in and sculpted the details. This 3D model of the conch was then incorporated into a custom pendant.

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If you would like some help turning your idea for a custom jewelry piece into reality, you can contact me on the Designers for Hire page at Shapeways. I would love to help you bring your dream to life!

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3D Printed Miniatures

April 4, 2016

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I’ve been doing a lot of commissions through Shapeways this year, many of which are miniatures.

There is a new material that Shapeways is testing called High Definition Acrylate, that is ideal for miniatures.

email-blog-hi-def-acrylateSo now I’m thinking about creating a series of miniatures myself and offering for sale… What about a series of 54mm miniatures inspired by my Dark Lead sketchbook?

Whoareyou

or maybe something like this Alice in Wonderland piece that I made for my daughter?

Here is a sample I just got from Shapeways at 54mm height:

Photo Apr 16, 1 53 24 PM

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Digital Painting

June 22, 2015

TheCrossing_wallpaper

I did this in ProCreate on my iPad–Pretty fun!

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DIY –3D Printing in Bronze!

February 20, 2015

So I broke down and purchased my own 3D printer, when I discovered some amazing new materials that are 80% powdered metal. They are Bronzefill and Copperfill, created by a company called ColorFabb in the Netherlands. This is like creating cold-cast bronze, but directly printing it instead of casting it in a mold.

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My first print using Copperfill turned out great. The material cools a little slower than regular PLA, so it doesn’t warp at all. I did increase  the temperature on my extruder to 215C instead of the default 208C. I’m using the Printrbot Simple Metal, which I am very pleased with (that’s an affiliate link, so if you are in the market…). Below are the steps I used to finish my print:

  1. Print your part. I’m using my design, YodaBuddha
    Photo Feb 04, 8 53 28 PM
  2. Clean up the print using needle files, sandpaper, and even a soldering iron! This last tip is a great way to weld different parts together! Use steel wool to buff the surface and expose the metal particles.
    Photo Feb 18, 6 28 20 PM
  3. Apply traditional cold patina (I’m using Mahogany from Sculpt Nouveau) with a brush or spray bottle. You may want to warm up the print with a hair dryer before applying. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then reapply until you get the darkness you want.
    Photo Feb 18, 6 32 47 PM
  4. When the print is dark enough, use the steel wool to gently buff the raised areas to bring out the metallic luster.
    Photo Feb 19, 9 42 42 AM Photo Feb 19, 9 46 41 AM
  5. Seal the print with clear wax. I used floor wax!
    Photo Feb 19, 9 59 08 AM

That was all there was to it. I hope this inspires you to do some 3D printed bronze yourself!

Photo Feb 20, 11 30 32 AM

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Thoughts on 3D Printing

November 14, 2014

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It seems incredible to me that I’m looking at a bronze sculpture of YodaBuddha created  by 3D printing. I conceived the idea in the morning, sculpted it in ZBrush, and uploaded the file to Shapeways in the afternoon.

The “buzz” about 3D printing has been on the technology, the printers themselves, and those start-up companies like Makerbot and Formlabs who have entered the hardware market in the last few years. The story of the individual designer with his home factory creating limited edition or bespoke items is just beginning.

From a designer’s perspective, it is very empowering to be able to go directly from an idea to a manufactured product–No set up fees, tooling costs, or minimum quantities. While it is possible that the technology could bring some manufacturing back to the US from Asia, I think that something like a home-factory craft business may emerge here.

If you have a great product idea, it should be possible to produce it directly with 3D printing. What comes to mind are short-run items like garage kits, designer toys, miniatures, collectibles. The kind of art objects that are done with silicon molds and casting resins. The same companies doing that type of product now are also places that might provide some freelance opportunities… Artistry and skill come with years of practice. The ubiquity of 3D printers doesn’t change that, but it does create a market for designers who can turn an idea into a printable file.

I was (like many artists, I’m sure) eagerly reading the brochures and specs of the latest machines–excited by the prospect of getting my own. I was about ready to place an order for the Form1+ when a news article gave me pause…Auto Desk announced their intentions to enter into this marketplace as well… Now, they create great tools–don’t get me wrong–but the majority of folks buying their content creation tools are dreaming of being artists and animators.  The spectacular Hollywood animated features and the blockbuster visual effects have them inspired–but not everyone is going to end up with a job at Pixar… Similarly, people are excited by the technology of 3D printing and rushing to get one of their own–many inspired by remarkable artwork that they see posted on ZBrushCentral –as though the right software and the right magic box is going to turn them into the next Michelangelo…Rather than being fleeced, those artists might be better served by a modest investment in some watercolors and a box of Sculpy….

Keeping this in mind, I thought I better figure out what I am going to make and who I’m going to sell it to before I plunk down the money for my own printer. Our public library has Makerbot Replicators that you can use if you have a library card ($50/year if you live outside the city), and Shapeways has lots of material choices that I can experiment with for now….

Edit:
After all of that, I finally broke down and bought an awesome Printerbot Simple Metal. for $599– It was in the top 4 in Make Magazines 3D Printer shootout!

 

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Stylizing the look…

March 18, 2014

Have you noticed that the “look” of big budget animated movies has become  homogenized?  However beautiful those globally illuminated, sub-surface scattered, realistically simulated CG worlds have become, there is a common look to them…. I think it is because the artists and the tools are the same from studio to studio…

From what I understand about the industry, artists move from film to film, studio to studio, as each project ends (self described “pixel gypsies”)… The tools are similar between studios, the feature orgy in 3D software pushing in a Darwinian way towards a synthetic hyper realism.

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The last animation that I posted suffered from this same look, and I had to stop and think about why…. I think  there is an unconscious bias towards that style, because our tools favor it, and there is an expectation that for it to be accepted   it has to have that look.

I am just one guy.  Even if I thought that this homogenous CG look was great–there are hundreds of people involved in creating it–and if my work attempts to emulated it, then it will rightly be compared to it.  The animation, the particles and effects, the lighting–everything has to be at Hollywood level…If it is not, then rather than being immersed in the story with the characters, the viewer is going to be distracted….

Realizing I needed to stylize the look–Dig a little deeper than what the tools want to give me–make them give me what I want,  I started looking at my influences for TAR of Zandoria to see what it was that I liked (and figure out how to make the computer render it).

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Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, and Simon Bisley are my favorite fantasy artists. So I started looking at their paintings for stylistic cues that I could try to emulate–since that genre is the inspiration for TAR, if I could make it come to life that would be more satisfying….

The first thing that jumped out at me is the strong contrast between light and dark–It is called chiaroscuro in painting. The defined contours in Frazetta’s and Bisley’s work also stood out–I think this comes from their background in comics before they started painting…

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The backgrounds are painted of course, and since I was already using a matte painting approach to creating my backgrounds for TAR, this is an easy shift–Even running a Photoshop filter was an improvement over the realistic matte painting…

I added toon shading to the edges of my objects, and I relighted the scene with a key light and a couple of fill lights.  I think I am also going to tweak something with the diffuse falloff at the edges, to get a look for like my airbrushed version of TAR.

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3D Print your own TAR of Zandoria Collectible!

January 23, 2014

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Download and 3D print your own TAR of Zandoria collectible statue! Print it and put it on your desk. Print it and give it as a gift. Take a picture and share it! Every time someone sees this statue, they are going to ask “What IS that!?”

That is going to help spread awareness of this project, and the cost of the .stl will help me keep the lights on😉

Pierre at Cults3D invited me to upload  my sculptures to their new 3D model marketplace where people can buy print-ready models to build on their 3D printers. It seems like a great idea–I imagine that there are only so many Stanford bunnies and Yoda heads that a person needs… As 3D printers become ubiquitous there is a need for high quality sculpts to fill the build platforms.

I foresee that there is going to be a market for commission work too, so if you need a little help bringing your idea to life, please give me a shout. Here it is on Thingiverse

TAR_stl_2

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