April 7, 2014

Since the inception of 3D printing, digital artist David Katz has been fascinated with the art form and began experimenting with and creating 3D sculptures and art pieces. Most notable of these pieces is his most recent sculpture the "10 Circles of Life" that can be seen in the Temple Israel of Hollywood.

The "10 Circles" sculpture was inspired by Rabbi John Rosove's sermon "The 10 Circles of Life". The cylindrical sculpture composed of 10 circles, each circle in the sculpture stands for a valuable identity in one's life including: self/family, extended family/friends, humanity, and earth and cosmos. David first conceptualized the image via a 2D drawing, which was later translated into a 3D image by Jason Peters, his co-artist and partner in this project.

The piece was made from a plaster composite with a clear coat varnish. "I selected this material because it provided the desired variety and richness of color from a digital file." David said.

"The color was then printed directly into the part rather than merely on the surface. The general design was built in a 3D program using Autodesk Maya and the colors were designed in the program Painter. Once all drafting and editing was completed, the digital image was printed by 3D printing company Solid Concepts."

Jason Peters, a 3D artist shared the story behind this collaboration and what he learned from designing and preparing his very first 3D model for 3D printing.

David first conceptualized the sculpture as a 2D drawing, which I then translated into a 3D image. This brought about a plethora of questions. What will be the thickness of the model printed? Will it be solid or hollow? Is the model created properly to stand up without falling over? In a sense, my role quickly shifted from artist to engineer.


About the thickness of a 3D print


When designing something that is to be printed, it is imperative you have the appropriate thickness modeled on the print, otherwise the object may not withstand the printing process. Cost is also another factor to consider when determining thickness. If I was designing a pendant to be printed as a piece of jewelry, the piece would not need to be hollowed out. But if I wanted to print out a cube, it would be smarter to make the piece hollow in order to save money on the print.


Be your own engineer


One of the most important things in 3D Printing is to ensure that your object is modeled correctly. With the 10 Circles of Life project, the object was meant to be a fine art sculpture. But, like any model, it had its fair share of stability questions. Would the side poles be too thin and possibly break off? Would the base be wide enough to support the largest circle? Would it be top heavy? All these questions must be considered and answered when engineering a model.


The full color of the model


When you decide you are ready to do full color prints, as opposed to a solid object color, be aware that you will have less printing options and your object may be more fragile than a solid ABS hard plastic. Additionally, you will have fewer options for exporting your 3D file to the printer and you will need to supply all the color maps that make your piece a full color design. It can be a tedious process, but with David's extensive background in color, he was able to create the perfect combination of brightness and richness needed for the sculpture. In order to do this we printed the color directly into the material rather than on the surface. This created a brilliant rainbow of color.


Don't have a 3d printer? No problem.


If you are interested in printing a 3D model and do not own a 3D printer, that is perfectly okay. There are plenty of local and online companies available that allow you to upload your 3D model for printing. Not only will they print them for you, they will even check your 3D models to make sure they are printable before you invest a significant amount of time and money. For the 10 Circles of Life, we had the sculpture printed by the 3D printer at Solid Concepts.


The 10 Circles of Life


After all of this hard work, our piece was a success. Once it was printed, we presented it as a gift to Rabbi John Roscove and it can now be seen in the Temple Israel of Hollywood. If you aspire to be a 3D artist, let this be a testament that you too can create 3D art, even if you are a beginner. Good luck!

"3D Printing is an incredibly innovative way of imagining new ideas and bringing them to fruition in a matter of hours. The thought of being able to not only draw something on paper, but to create that idea in a 3D program and print it out is a unique and wonderful experience." said Peters.

Posted in 3D Design

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Sandra Coopersmith wrote at 5/23/2014 10:05:58 PM:

Fascinating article. What an intriguing collaboration, and what a striking result!

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