Getting Started – Making a Life Sculpture

My first steps were to choose the software needed to make the sculpture and then to try it out.

Software Choices

Before joining the MA course I had already extensively researched the available software for making the sculpture and selected:

  1. The Occipital Structure Sensor with the iPad mini and ItSeez3D cloud services for scanning a live life model
  2. DAZ3D for their ready made 3D models, and POSER for its ability to pose the model as I wanted, and
  3. Autodesk 123D MAKE to produce the instruction input to a laser cutter

The reasons behind my choices are explained below:

I have experimented with the Structure Sensor (similar to a Microsoft Kinect but attachable to an iPad) with their 3D scanning software but found the latter did not have the quality output I had hoped for when used on a full body scan. This was because their scanning software ran on the iPad which is not sufficiently powerful.

So I looked around on the internet for alternative cloud based services (which use much more powerful computers) that I could use with the Structure Sensor on my iPad mini. I experimented with Itseez3D and this produced better results. This service is also free (possibly only for the time being).

I also recently attended a two day one to one training session at XChange Training in London. My instructor Matthew O’Neill was very knowledgable on 3D software in general and Cinema4D (C4D) in particular. I showed him my work with the Structure Sensor and Itseez3D (the ‘Colin Blackmore’ head and shoulders model in my video). We discussed the software options for painting in 3D (not a 2D snapshot of the 3D model) and this limited the options considerably. I chose Cinema4D (C4D) for reasons I will explain later in another blog on 3D painting. He advised strongly not to try and learn to rig and animate a model as even an expert would take a dedicated week or more to produce 5 seconds of animation. This led to a discussion on ready made rigged models which I could pose using DAZ3D, POSER, and Turbosquid (more on this later in a future blog on 3D animation). I chose DAZ3D and POSER for ready made models for the 3D sculpture.

We discussed using C4D for making the sliced model to be input to a laser cutter. After showing me how this could be done in C4D I suggested that dedicated rather than generalised multi purpose software would be much easier to use. We looked at my suggestion of Autodesk 123D MAKE and he agreed.

This week I acquired a free download of DAZ3D and found that it had some limited posing capability. I also obtained a free download of Autodesk 123D MAKE. These were the versions for my MacBook Pro.

First steps using the chosen software

I decided that I would first experiment with a ready made model. Incorporating the scanning process on a life model in a studio is a step too far at this stage.

This is what I managed to produce after about an hour.

My first pose ever in Daz3D

My first pose ever in DAZ3D, which I then exported to 123D MAKE, and then to C4D

My first pose ever in 123D MAKE

My first pose ever in 123D MAKE

My first pose ever in C4D

My first pose ever in C4D – a rigged model

I was pretty pleased with what I achieved but there is a lot to learn to do this properly. I have also yet to try POSER to see what this software offers to see whether I can get a more refined result.

I am meeting Matthew Edwards, one of our Digital Technicians next Friday. I hope to discover where I can use a laser cutter and the format required for the input file needed to cut 47 sheets of MDF!!!

More Next Week.

One thought on “Getting Started – Making a Life Sculpture

  1. Pingback: Unit 1 Assessment | terencemquinn91

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