3D Printing For Art

In his 1889 essay “The Decay of Lying,” Oscar Wilde famously said that “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” Today it is impossible to imagine the world without technology, smartphones and other devices that enable instant communication. George Orwell described a society with a TV in every room in his novel 1984, published in 1949. Many of the sketches by Leonardo da Vinci resemble devices and appliances that came into existence centuries later.

Art and the latest accomplishments and advancements of society have always been interconnected, which is why 3D printing and scanning has not avoided the attention of forward-thinking artists.

In 2014, the Smithsonian Institution welcomed to its collection a portrait that was the first of its kind. It was a three-dimensional bust of President Obama created by a team of employees from the Smithsonian Institute and experts at the University of Southern California. The experts used handheld 3D scanners and cameras to scan the face of the President and create the portrait. According to various reports, the scans were taken at the White House, and the process took about 5 minutes. 

The officials compared the 3D portrait of president Obama to the plaster masks of presidents Lincoln and Washington. The main differences between a 3D scan and plaster masks are time, convenience, and ease of preservation. The plaster process required Lincoln and Washington to remain still for a long while, and yielded a delicate piece.

Today the portrait is a part of Smithsonian’s 3D program that aims to digitize the extensive collection of the institute. 

Using 3D printing and scanning to create art

There are a number of ways for artists to use 3D scanning and printing to create art. These methods can be used to assist artists, creators, animators, and other creative designers in a variety of fields. Here are just a few examples:

3D Masterpieces

Inspired by famous Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Rob and Nick Carter have created a series of 3D artworks dedicated to historical masterpieces. The Carters are a part of the movement that embraces new technology in presenting and creating art. 

One of their exhibits aimed at bringing Renaissance masterpieces into the digital landscape. The artists believe that working with the art from the old masters and showing it using current technology reflects modern-day reality. In addition to 3D artworks, they have art displayed on the screens of Mac computers and iPads. Nick Carter says that in the past artists distilled reality through painting and making images and sculptures. The way people perceive reality today is often through a screen, which is why Rob and Nick believe is it important for artists to embrace new technologies.

3D printing to create sculptures

Ioan Florea uses 3D printing to shape metals into massive sculptures that depict everything from a car to a wagon. His Ford Torino made out of liquid metal was the first ever 3D printed car to sell at an art auction. The artist exhibited the car at the Inside 3D Printing Show Rapid Show in Detroit, International Auto Show in New York City and International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago.

How museums can benefit from 3D scanning and printing

3D scanning and printing can be utilized not just by individual artists, but by museums and museum collections. Just like the Smithsonian Institution, museums can use 3D scanning technology and Halo’s expertise and equipment to do everything from scanning and preserving archival artistry to replicating art pieces for both research and commercial purposes. 

Halo Aerospace can help Florida museums to capture detailed and accurate records of works of art, in both dimension and color. Finally, Halo can help restore art when necessary by using digital files. 

Case studies

Halo has worked with artists in the past, from scanning a person to make a bust to creating sculptures and replicas of art. For an artist, consider 3D printing as a way to aid you in making art. 

For example, a local artist brought in a clay panther model that he had sculpted himself. He came to Halo because he wanted to enlarge the model via 3D scanning, and then print an enlarged 3D sculpture. This enlarged print was to be used as the skeleton for future sculptures, which would allow for higher volume of production and accurate transition of artistic detail from model to model.

Halo scanned the smaller sculpture, cleaned up the digital file, and verified dimensions. Then, Halo experts scaled the dimensions digitally to the desired size. The scan resulted in an accurate digital file that could be used for 3D printing, to create a mold for a larger work of art. 

With Halo’s help, you can aid your art creation process. Halo has 3D scanners that can accurately register dimension, color, textures, and even provide a 2D printable file to be used as reference by designers in the future.

Once you have a digital file, you can create 3D prints and sculptures of all kinds of shapes. Halo can help you print in practically any material except glass, and up to 30″X x 30″Y x 45″Z (or roughly the size of a car bumper).

Improving your art with technology

Even though 3D printing and scanning are most popular for manufacturing and tech, they can be used for tasks like scanning and replicating fossils, or making or preserving works of art. The only limit is your imagination. 

Contact Halo today to learn more about how we can help with your current and future art projects and existing art pieces.

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