Nov 11, 2016 | By Nick

Irish designer Amy Doran has created a large 3D printed sea monster inspired by one of the creatures in James Cameron’s upcoming sequel to the box office smash hit Avatar. That movie won’t hit the big screen until 2018 at the earliest, and there are rumors doing the rounds that Cameron is aiming for a glasses-free 3D presentation that could delay the film further. But while we won’t get to see the cinematic version for a while, we can for now simply appreciate Doran’s model, which measures 55cm from head to tail.

Doran studied 3D Design, Model Making and Digital Art at the National Film School at I.A.D.T in Dublin, Ireland. This print was part of her coursework, and the model went from concept to final print in six weeks. That was thanks in part to i.materialise, which produces designs like this on a daily basis for designers around the world, offering 20 different materials, more than 100 possible combinations for the color and finish, and instant pricing.

Although her college only required a smaller print, Doran wanted to push her own limits (and those of a 3D printer). “I wanted to be challenged and I wanted to go beyond creating a small 3D print which was required as part of my college brief,” she said. However, her 55cm print was simply too large for a desktop printer, and Doran was determined not to print it in separate pieces and have seam lines in her finished model. With no other options at the college, she scoured the web and contacted a number of companies before settling on i.materialise.

“The biggest challenge in the design process was finding a company which would print my sea creature in one whole part,” Doran said. “There would be nowhere to hide the seam lines in my model if it was separated into parts, [because] it is not like a humanoid character where you can hide seamlines under clothes.”

Safe in the knowledge that there was a company that could actually print her vision, Doran set to work. The design process involved a combination of clay sculpting and 3D scanning to give her the basic concept. She then created the 3D model in 3DS Max and added the texture with Mudbox before uploading her model to i.materialise and waiting nervously for the finished product. The designer chose the Paintable Resin material option because of its lightness, cost, level of detail, and smooth finish that doesn’t require post-processing. “I had it on display, untouched in its raw form and mounted on an acrylic rod attached to a handmade base,” Doran explained.

Happily for Doran, the giant 3D printed sea creature has impressed the student's tutors and peers. The model has already featured in a number of exhibitions, including the I.A.D.T Graduate Exhibition in Dublin, the Exhibition by Emerging Artists 2016 in County Wicklow, and the New Blades Graduate Exhibition in London. That’s not bad for someone that came to the world of 3D design and printing relatively late. “I came from an all-girls school where we never practiced using computers or technical designs so I was captivated when we were taught how to design and make digital models in college," Doran recalled. "I love learning about new materials and practices, both physical and digital, and this led me to experiment with 3D printing.”

Doran is now on her way to a career in 3D design, and currently works for MacroWorks, an environmental consultancy outfit. There she produces photomontages and artwork to demonstrate the potential visual impact of large construction projects and infrastructure works. It’s a world away from fantasy worlds and underwater sea monsters, but even here Doran says that 3D printing can play an integral role in her daily life. “It gives a sense of reality to the project,” she said. “Especially when audiences are so used to viewing 3D digital models on screen.”

This won’t be the last model we see from Doran and i.materialise, we’re sure of that. The student might get snapped up by a design studio, or might keep making these outlandish models just for fun. But, like many 3D model enthusiasts from around the world, she simply has that creative vision. So while her course might be over, the drive to make cool models remains. We can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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