Mar. 12, 2015 | By Simon

Although the practice of 3D scanning public artwork has been met with setbacks and hurdles centered around various copyright and private property legal battles, recent developments by organized (and motivated) institutions have helped propel the practice into legal territory that for some, will be the future of attending museums and private art collections.

Through a series of collaborations with museums, art collectors and philanthropists, a team of 3D printing experts has established a database of 3D scan data - or “Art DNA” - that they hope will help open the door for the future of art appreciation.

The team, who work under the name Artficial, began their quest of democratizing art by developing what they call a “cradle of technology” that will be set up inside several museums around the world that are considered to be among the most visited and important historical and cultural sites.

When attending these sites, visitors will be able to pick up replicas of the artworks that are present at each exhibit or gallery and interact with historical artifacts in ways that have previously never been done.  For example, a replica of an old Native American hand tool could be picked up and held to feel where considerations might have been made for ergonomics centuries ago while the original tool can be viewed behind glass just inches away.   

To date, the Artficial team has been digitizing an expansive library of 3D scanned (and 3D modeled) art and historical pieces that span over many years and geographical settings.  This includes Western art models from the Classical Greek period, through to the Renaissance, Islamic, Asian, African and Hebrew artifacts.

The company is now offering a service that allows users at home to configure and reproduce pieces from museums and private collections that can be reproduced to fit individual taste, style and desires in a variety of sizes and material options - all while obtaining real time information on the replica’s final cost.  

Currently, the service will offer replicas printed in both laser sintered nylon (polyamide) and cured transparent resin, which are both available in many different colors. Additionally, the company plans offer casted and direct metal 3D printing services in the near future.  

For those with their own 3D printers, the Artficial Library will be able to be streamed directly to their own desktop through a collaboration with Authentise.  

Authentise was born out of NASA’s Singularity University and has developed the most advanced system for free and secure circulation of Art DNA-based 3D models. The service is compatible with most desktop 3D printers including those from MakerBot, Ultimaker and RepRap-based models. You can print your own models with the Authentise design streaming service, and use an off-the-shelf webcam to monitor your print progress with cutting-edge computer vision. If it detects a deviation from the intended build progress, you will be informed by email or text.

While nothing will ever replace seeing actual historical artifacts up close and in-person, the fact is that not everybody is able to experience seeing these first hand.  By further democratizing private art and allowing it to be streamed to household and school 3D printers, Artficial is helping bring in an entirely new museum-going experience that for many, may never happen otherwise.  

Posted in 3D Design


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Drew wrote at 3/20/2015 3:59:17 PM:

Guys you got this wrong: you can stream Art DNA (perfectly reproduced 3d model of the masterpieces) for free in you 3d printer - Press "STRAM DNA". You can also customize material color and size of a replica to be sent at home, at a charge of a price, which is not out of line since it's professional 3d printing and high level finishing. I purchased a Ferrari red replica of sculpture "Crocifisso" for 30$ and I can't wait to receive it!

Drew wrote at 3/20/2015 1:57:09 PM:

Guys, you completely misunderstood the site: You can print ArtDNA (the perfectly reproduced 3D model of a masterpiece) for free - press "STREAM DNA". You also have the choice to customize material color and size of a masterpiece in the Artficial Library and receive it at home at a charge of a price - which I believe is not "out of line" since we are talking about professional 3d printing technology and high-level finishes. I bought a reproduction of "Crocifisso" for 30$ and I can't wait to receive it...

Michael Rolfer wrote at 3/13/2015 6:33:08 PM:

If you visit their site you will see that this is a classic bait and switch. The images they show you appear to be photos of the originals but what they are offering are small reprints in solid colors in standard 3d printer materials. Perhaps they intend to move toward more realistic renderings of the originals? $3000 fpr a reprint of, albeit some beautiful pieces, in a solid or transparent 3d printed material seems way out of line.

All Things 3D wrote at 3/12/2015 10:56:48 PM:

Simon and, you are just hitting it out of the part this week. You will be mentioned on "3D in Review" tomorrow.

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