Vanitas

still_life2 Hello, and Welcome!  To yet another glorious installment of Things That Occupy My Time - the Blog.

This semester I'm taking a catch-all independent study that explores three-dimensional modeling technologies and different ways of manipulate them.  My first experiment was to attempt to use photogrammetry, which allows you to take a series of pictures of an object from multiple angles, then convert those photos into a 3D object.  I had a little practice doing this over the summer, using the 3DMD system in our Anaplastology clinic, which we use to capture patient data for reference when sculpting prostheses.  3DMD, however, is an expensive setup which I have limited access to, so I sought out out a different method...

...Enter 123D Catch - a free iPhone/iPad app which is, essentially, photogrammetry for the average Joe.  Autodesk, the company that is responsible for Catch, 3Ds Max, and Mudbox, has created a suite of apps to be used for 3D printing.  I wanted to see just how accurate the program was, so I decided to go into our student lounge and take 30+ pictures of our ever-grinning plastic skeleton model.  The result was pretty impressive:

123D Catch skull tests

*I'd like to point out that I am aware of the fact that pictured above is a screenshot (2D) of an interactive model (3D) that was made using a series of photos (2D) of an actual object (3d)...*

Using the free app, I was able to log in to the Autodesk website, convert the 3D model into a file type that I could import into 3Ds Max, and voila - a completely manipulable three-dimensional skull in a matter of minutes.  The model wasn't perfect, but once I was able to get it into 3Ds Max, it was a simple matter of choosing the best half of the skull and mirroring it.  After importing it into ZBrush, smoothing out some of the rough spots, and remeshing it, the skull was pretty much ready to go.  I still need to go in and add some more texture and color, but that comes later.

ZBrush modifications

 

The skull was just a test to see what was possible using 123D Catch, and I decided to incorporate it into a larger project where I could mess around with different textures, materials, and lighting.  I've always been interested in memento mori, vanitas, and all those classical depictions of life and death conversing with one another.  "Quello che voi siete noi eravamo; Quello che noi siamo voi sarete..."  What you are, we once were; What we are now, you will become - a message from the dead.....Boooooooooooooooooooooo!!!  So I decided to try my hand at a CG still life which includes all the staples of a good convo between the living and the dead: a timepiece, a flickering candle, some old books, a skull, et cetera. Oh, the impermanence of life!!  Now comes the fun part of making the leather look like leather, the wax like wax, and the lace like lace.  And I'll try to add a dash of dystopian abandonment for good measure!  I'll post the final result as soon as it's done.  In the meantime, here's a li'l bit of the work in progress:

pocketwatch

 

 

candle_test