Just as you can compare prints with paintings, you can also compare traditional sculpture and three-dimensional sculpture, generated by computer. What do I mean when I mention traditional sculpture?
3d (Three-dimensional) sculpture
For further convenience, lets separate all sculptures on those that are hand crafted of a soft material, and those, that made of a stone. The soft one may be casted of a bronze, for example. So, why do I compare it all with virtual 3D modeling?
The time of special prototype printers is close. When that happens, sculptor will be able to “print” the shape for a casting in such a machine and cast it afterwards.
There are printers like that already, although the size of the model that you can form is not more than 15õ15õ10 ñm. But if we suppose that the 30 cm sculpture could be broken in parts, then you can form such a model from wax, using Solidscape platform, and then cast it. The complexity of such a model depends only on sculptor imagination and technology. So, besides the size – there are no more limitations.
And no one forbids growing a model by separate parts. It is quite possible with given precision.
Such printers are being used now to grow different plastic parts (cell phones), jewelry, anything that requires such a technology. Working platforms are made for small object production. There are different printers and materials used, but I’m not going to go into a detail, that’s not the purpose of this story.
I work few years already, modeling such products, and may assure you, that precision of such printers may reach up to 0.03 mm. Any model can be “grown”, with exact symmetrical elements.
There are also milling printers. There work could be compared carving a stone sculpture. With a coming of 3d scanners we may suspect a revolution in a world of sculpting.
Why do sculptures by hand, if any object can be scanned, modified and “printed” as a model for a casting? You can also “grow” a copy of an ancient coin or a little stature. Someday 3d printers begin reprint each other and take over the world, but that is far in the future.
So, what shall we have left of sculpture after we switch from hand to a printer? What do we have left of painting after coming of photography?
The best engineering minds fight to take away reason to build beauty by hand. Machines make it faster and more precise.
Let’s look at the following. Say, someone has digital camera, printer, and painting of Renoir. It’s like an automatic photograph for a passport. Just press the button and it’s done – you have a copy of a painting on paper. Let’s say this “someone” has also a skillful ape that can reproduce that painting just like a camera with all the details, with such precision, that it should be impossible to differentiate a copy from the original.
The start button could be replaced with a start gesture for an ape, such as pulling its tail. Cartridge alignment and filling could be replaced with some sweets to inspire an animal. Haman participation in both cases is somewhat the same. Although, in first case, human would say that he made a copy, and in the second case he would say that an ape made one. Does human really have right to say so? Sure, there is no such an ape in nature, but that’s not the matter.
On the other end, any printer may compete with any human in adding it’s personality in a picture. Every printer may change painting by little roller displacement and make it “personal”, just as copying painters, that use there own techniques.
I just mentioned one way of copy personification by a printer. There may be many such subtleties. Plus, our printer got lucky and now printing on canvas.
Lets get back to a 3d environment. Internet 3D data bank is growing all the time, and soon there will be no need to model any products. You’ll be able to find anything via internet. Reshetnikov painting”Îïÿòü äâîéêà” could be designed on a computer. Same textures and lighting could be found; - the rest is skill of modeling designer.
There are plug ins in Photoshop, that imitate painting brush strokes. Printing of such painting on canvas literally excludes the need to paint as is. What if it’s not a copy, but the original? What if second grader will find the original on the web, move characters and objects around? Can he pretend to be an original artist?
The tasks and customs of computer painters will differ from traditional ones like tasks and customs of captain of atomic icebreaker and little sale boat.
Foma Tuturov, 02/2009