|Dragon sculpture [message #43811] Fri, 10 February 2012 22:57 UTC
This little sandstone beauty arrived in time to be a Valentines present for my sweetie. You may look at it and say, "Wow, the modeling of those two dragons is really rough/bad/sloppy...", and it is, but there's history here that makes it a great gift.
The original model of these two heart-shaped dragons I did back in 2003 while attending the SIGGRAPH conference. At that conference, there was a group presenting their – then cutting edge – immersive 3D modeling system, BLUIsclupt. "BLUIsculpt is an interactive virtual reality application that permits a user to freely sketch voxels inside a 10-foot cube for output as physical objects" Long before the days of Kinect, Move, and Wiimotes, the BLUIsculpt system consisted of a wand and 3D shutter glasses, and a 10 foot screen. Both the wand and glasses had tracking markers, so the system knew where your head and wand were in the space. The display showed 3D from the proper vantage point of your head, and drew a digital sphere on the end of your "wand". Using the wand you could "paint" metaballs in the 3D space, and grab the model and view it from all angles.
BLUIsculpt has a Sourceforge page, but looks like it has been collecting dust for some time.
So, I got a chance to work with BLUIsculpt while at the conference, and I modeled these two dragons as a treat to my then girlfriend, now wife for when I got back. With only a half hour to work, and the system not giving an amazing amount of detail, I couldn't create a super-refined model, but it was great for "painting" shapes in the air. They had a rapid prototyping machine there that I got my model printed with, but the technology was very young then, and I could only get it printed about 2 inches high, and since it used support material of the same plastic as the piece (just in a lattice pattern), half of the model came out rather rough.
I took the gray model home, painted it, glued it on a base, and presented it to my sweetie, who loved it. Even though the dragons didn't sit perfectly straight (since their tails weren't quite flat) on the base, and it wasn't a very big piece. It eventually fell and broke, and disappeared, having served its purpose as a memento for some years.
Now that my sweetie is my wife, and rapid prototyping technology has advanced quite far, I'm recreating this gift for her for Valentines. I dusted off the decade-old backup CD I had of my BLUIsculpt session, added a base in Blender, colorized it, and got it printed 4 inches tall in Sandstone, so I didn't have to paint it this time around.
So, I'm quite happy this bit of nostalgia is able to live on again as another memory for us. Thanks Shapeways!
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[Updated on: Fri, 10 February 2012 22:59 UTC]