Joseph Coddington, a master’s student at Victoria University of Wellington, has launched a project that focuses on how to use 3D printing for research methods with design focus and creative output, rather than just considering it from a technical point of view.
To demonstrate his method, Codington used 3D printing technology to replicate a panel from the artist Claude Monet’s Waterlillies collection, which is a series of paintings created by the artist in 1914-26 . Coddington chose Stratasys’ J750 3D printer to produce photos, first using Adobe’s Photoshop software to digitally copy the paintings.
In short, printing allows the user to define a color for each point (called a voxel) in the entire volume of the model. A voxel is a 3D version of a pixel, which is the smallest distinguishable element of a 3D object. In the voxel printing process, full-color 3D printing of pixels will be performed with the selected material hardness function.
Coddington had previously carried out another project involving voxel 3D printing, which aimed to establish this technology as a new means of film capture and proposed an alternative to .stl files. Through experiments, Coddington realized that by using voxels to print 3D printing film materials, he can make the film storage process fully developed.
As he described at the time, the project aims to “show the new applications that voxel printing can provide” while demonstrating the artistic quality of the technology.
Elsewhere, researchers from MIT’s Mediater Matter Group have explored voxel 3D printing, and the company has applied for a patent for a method of converting point cloud data into a pixel-by-pixel method for multi-material 3D printing. The team worked with Harvard University to demonstrate their methods and produced highly detailed anatomical models to better understand the patient’s condition.
When new 3D printing technologies appeared, Coddington discovered a research trend that was about to focus more on the technical aspects of the development and eclipsing many creative elements. He explained the basic principles of using voxel 3D printing as a technology that can be used, “not only between the digital world and the physical world, but also between visual literacy and process-based data.”
He went on to say: “Research with a focus on design allows me to generate new ideas that are unique and functionally applicable to new technologies. In this case, I am 3D printing images such as painting and using painting techniques to generate 3D printing images. .”
In order to execute his project, Coddington recruited Stratasys J750 3D printer. The award-winning J750 was launched in 2016 with the ability to mix and match realistic 3D printing without the need for post-processing full-color gradients. Since then, J750 has undergone several updates, including medical upgrades in 2019, and expanded its functions to include biomechanically accurate orthopedic applications at the end of last year.
Codington chose to 3D print this Monet’s Waterlillies painting because there are reasons to show the way the light moves in the image better than through a 2D plane. By illuminating light in his 3D printed images, Codington can show the depth of the image that Monet could not capture in 2D paintings.
In the project explanation, he said: “The water in the pond often has floating material fragments.” When light penetrates the water body, these fragments will appear at different depths. Monet uses layered painting to capture this feeling. However, his images are still limited to 2D planes. Voxel printing can expose the 2D plane and provide material fragments to be scattered throughout the object.
“When the backlight illuminates the print, because the light is illuminated and distorted by the material fragments, the quality we get is similar to the light passing through the pond.”
Coddington used computer-based editing software Adobe Photoshop to digitally replicate Monet’s layered paint method. Based on his observation of Monet’s work, he constructed 15 layers, each layer applied color in a digital improvisation form, and then layered them on top of each other. Codington then used J750 to 3D print digital images.
He concluded: “This research highlights the voxel printing method and provides a series of voxel printing, which can physically render the original digital image, thereby constructing its material output, and has the advantage of working in the digital field.” Therefore, the design of voxel printing can display the naked eye or visual data of the original image, and physically render the object without destroying its visual characteristics to provide a bare-hand effect.”
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