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  #1  
Old 04-07-2004, 04:21 PM
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Thumbs up New Forum

Hi everyone, I'm starting a new forum to address new technologies in the creation of sculpture. I would like to explore various 3d software packages, CAD/CAM interfaces, milling, laser, plasma, and water-cutting of metal, etc.

Also, let's explore the various philosophical implications of creating 3D work today and validity of using computers to create sculpture.

What else would you like to see discussed?
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  #2  
Old 04-07-2004, 09:39 PM
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Re: New Forum; Computer-conceptual

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Originally Posted by RuBert
Hi everyone, I'm starting a new forum to address new technologies .....
Also, let's explore the various philosophical implications of creating 3D work today and validity of using computers to create sculpture.

What else would you like to see discussed?
Great idea for a new section, Russ. For starters on new concepts, how about the position of “conceptual” 3D pieces, namely those actually resident in a computer, with the possibility of presentation by computer-directed manufacturing processes of the sort you describe, or simply by visualization on a computer or video screen. Not the relatively suggestive, but still vital works currently categorized as conceptual.

Maybe a different term should be created for works actually resident in a computer or other memory device.
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:48 PM
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Re: New Forum; Computer-conceptual

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Originally Posted by fritchie
Great idea for a new section, Russ. For starters on new concepts, how about the position of “conceptual” 3D pieces, namely those actually resident in a computer, with the possibility of presentation by computer-directed manufacturing processes of the sort you describe, or simply by visualization on a computer or video screen.
Obviously the cost and difficulty of realizing some works is an issue. At what point are they valid? I have pieces that exist in my computer, and they might exist in the real world at some point and in some form. One larger piece in my computer right now has a park being built for it. But the actual piece will only take physical form later this year. It doesn't really function as intended on the computer and will only truly touch people after it is built.

So what do we call a completely conceptual 3d work? Can we possibly give form and life to some of these works here on this community?
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Old 04-08-2004, 06:06 PM
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Re: New Forum

In the Casting industry where I work, the term used is "digital model", the verb form being "to model...". Basically it's an electronic blueprint, which can be used in various applications, like "solidification modeling", "heat transfer modeling", "shrink modeling", etc. Is that the kind of term you're after, Fritchie?
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Old 04-08-2004, 07:06 PM
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Re: New Forum

I'm a very big fan of using rhino3d for help in generating forms. The several advantages include the ability to go off in infinite directions from a given start, with the ability to immediately go back to where you started. Going right from the computer to the cutting machine is great, be it plasma, waterjet, laser, or whatever.
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Old 04-08-2004, 09:36 PM
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Re: New Forum; Computer-conceptual

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Originally Posted by RuBert
..... One larger piece in my computer right now has a park being built for it. But the actual piece will only take physical form later this year. It doesn't really function as intended on the computer and will only truly touch people after it is built. .....
You raise an excellent point, Russ, interactivity. But computer or video games are wildly interactive, and wildly popular. I am an assistant advisor to a much older advisor in my college fraternity, and occasionally I see these people with their computer games. They’re obviously very engaging, so why shouldn’t sculpture follow the same track? It would reduce the manufacturing cost immensely, and still provide a similar sort of interactivity.

Of course the drawback, if that is the proper term, is that all this is done indoors, without the sunlight, muscle activity, and potential group interactivity of “real life”. However, isn’t what I just described the “real life” of today and tomorrow? I don’t think many people of today regret losing the backbreaking farm or fishing, or even manufacturing life of yore. And group games are growing in popularity. Why not group experiences with virtual or computer-resident sculpture?
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Old 04-08-2004, 09:49 PM
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Re: New Forum; linguistics again

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Originally Posted by jwebb
In the Casting industry where I work, the term used is "digital model", the verb form being "to model...". Basically it's an electronic blueprint, which can be used in various applications, like "solidification modeling", "heat transfer modeling", "shrink modeling", etc. Is that the kind of term you're after, Fritchie?
Actually, I think a “sexier” term is needed if this is to become a real field in sculpture. We have gone over the importance of language in steering cognition several times in this community, and that is what is involved here. I expect, given general trends in computer usage and growth, that virtual experiences of the sort we are discussing here will become quite common, and probably in all fields of human activity.

The term “conceptual sculpture” would be quite good, it seems to me, except for preemption by current usage. “Virtual sculpture”, as in “virtual reality” is a possibility. I think we ought to hear many ideas here.

And computer-resident sculpture should carry as many features as posible of “real” sculpture - texture, color, mass and inertia in the case of movement, and so on. With the prosthetics currently under development, such as gloves for virtual interactivity, these features soon will be required for the arena to grow.

Last edited by fritchie : 04-08-2004 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 04-08-2004, 10:08 PM
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Re: New Forum; Computer-conceptual

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I don’t think many people of today regret losing the backbreaking farm or fishing, or even manufacturing life of yore.
But I believe there is a happy medium that we risk losing. Physical labor that fills the day and exhausts the body does not allow for proper reflection or abstract thought. Sitting inside all day plugged in does not allow for a proper understanding for the feel of the world outside our own minds. I still engage in rather dreary, industrial work on occasion just as I sometimes spend days on end rebuilding my website or designing. Both are inadequate and leave something to be desired.

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Old 04-09-2004, 01:22 PM
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Re: New Forum; Computer-conceptual

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But I believe there is a happy medium that we risk losing. Physical labor that fills the day and exhausts the body does not allow for proper reflection or abstract thought. Sitting inside all day plugged in does not allow for a proper understanding for the feel of the world outside our own minds. I still engage in rather dreary, industrial work on occasion just as I sometimes spend days on end rebuilding my website or designing. Both are inadequate and leave something to be desired.

Sam
I agree with Sam's perspective and offer that the same holds true for the viewer. While pixel-based works open up possiblities for viewers that are not available in the physical world and break down the barrier of location allowing global access to the works, they also don't provide the same spacial and tactile range of experience. Examples of what can't be experienced with the digital works: the installations Dia has sponsored for so many years - a roomfull of soil on the third floor of their gallery in Manhattan where the viewer can smell the cleanness of the earth and see the rough surface seemingly anticipating growth (and people from all over the USA were certain that the soil had the signature scent from their own community); or Ursula Von Rydingsvard's cedar sculptures whose solidity and rough cut forms, their graphite impregnated surfaces, and smell of cedar; Smithson's "Spiral Jetty" where the viewers could originally walk out to the center of the spiral and back out into the world, and which was subject to actual natural forces that submerged it for a time; or Jeff Koons' "Puppy" where it's just so incredibly weird to see flowers, ephemeral in nature, growing in a doggy shape that's 20 or 30 feet tall, so much bigger than the viewer, and drooling at the mouth, freshly watered. No digital art can reach that far. But these works are labor intensive, costly and bound by physical laws.
On the other hand, pixel-based art is not bound by the physical restraints of tangible work and its potential scope in terms of portability and ease of access give it a range far more vast and complete than any physical works can ever have. Once the viewer has access to the format, the only limitation of what he or she could experience is the amount of time spent and none of it involves any cost in terms of travel or entrance fees. But he or she had so be willing to experience the work in the format of a small rectangular screen.
Since experience of both pixel-based art and physical art requires concessions of the viewer, the existence of both or something in the middle seem appropriate. Works that exist in cyber space that can also can be seen "in the flesh" for their more tactile aspects, or sculptures that could not exist without computer technology like (her name scapes me..maybe Jane something? well-known, saw her work at the Tang Museum, at the Decordova) who pioneered this hybrid form by making casts of her face and other body parts and of animals and using the computer to make absolutely accurate rescalings, then fusing them into hybrid forms that are beautifully cast in stainless and other metals; these share features of both worlds. Maybe I'm showing my age, but I'm not ready to let go of the tactile world yet, yet recent digital ways of working open up all sorts of possibilities.
Cyberart becomes an additional medium to explore, not a substitute one. Although it is essentially "conceptual", there is already an art form indicated by that term and we are talking about something powerful enough to not just be considered a subset of another form. It is something all of its own.
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Old 04-09-2004, 11:16 PM
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Re: New Forum; cyberspace

I agree with Sam and JAZ's statements, that we shouldn't go completely into cyberspace with art, as if that were possible (Maybe in the Matrix...). Clearly, what computers do is open new doors and create new possibilities. All the old ones remain, resources permitting.
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Old 04-10-2004, 12:38 AM
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Re: New Forum

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsimms
I'm a very big fan of using rhino3d for help in generating forms. The several advantages include the ability to go off in infinite directions from a given start, with the ability to immediately go back to where you started. Going right from the computer to the cutting machine is great, be it plasma, waterjet, laser, or whatever.
john
I have only used rhino3d a little at a ISC sculpture conference workshop, how well can it generate a path for a plasma or laser to follow? Can it unfold metal in various ways?

The last time I looked at it I thought the interface was something like MiniCad, but that was about four years ago, so I'm sure it has evolved.

I'm using IronCad along with other programs, but it is a bit too expensive to recommend.
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Old 04-10-2004, 12:59 AM
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Re: New Forum; Computer-conceptual

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Originally Posted by JAZ
Cyberart becomes an additional medium to explore, not a substitute one. Although it is essentially "conceptual", there is already an art form indicated by that term and we are talking about something powerful enough to not just be considered a subset of another form. It is something all of its own.
Jaz, very insightful comments. Several years ago I attended a Cyberart conference in LA, and was left feeling the rather superficial nature of much of the work. On the other hand I also discovered a powerful tool for predicting mass, center of gravity, and predicting the forces of nature on structurally indeterminate objects.

For our purposes here, we can explore not only the Cyberart aspects but also the functional and presentation possibilities that are becoming so pervasive. Architecture is an example of a field has profoundly felt the effect of the emergence of this technology, and certainly the public art area of sculpture is deeply impacted.
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Old 04-10-2004, 07:28 AM
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Re: New Forum

As you mentionned architecture, Rubert, I remember when working in that field how frustrating it was to have nice virtual drawings and perpectives and no physical feeling of the space, no vibrations of the material, no reflexion of the light.
Sculpture will always be sculpture. Technologies could help us to shorter some technical steps but our eyes, our hands will always have the final word.
Virtual conception is a great field to explore but it will generate a new kind of art, a new way to communicate, a new language.
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Old 04-10-2004, 10:03 PM
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Re: New Forum; Computer-conceptual; cybersculpture

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Originally Posted by RuBert
Jaz, very insightful comments. Several years ago I attended a Cyberart conference in LA, and was left feeling the rather superficial nature of much of the work. ...
For our purposes here, we can explore not only the Cyberart aspects but also the functional and presentation possibilities that are becoming so pervasive.
Don’t forget that cyberart, or cybersculpture in particular, potentially can take on narrative forms in addition to simple construction of static or “mobile” objects. That is, it potentially could produce an artificial, sculpted world, peopled with sculpted organisms or with other real humans as in current role-playing games.

As the technology develops, sculptors or teams of sculptors could produce cities or villages of arbitrary form and color, peopled with sculpted animals and plants, and visited by a progression of activities. An art form like this could be sculpture, architecture, drama, and symphony all at once. Talk about installation or situational sculpture!
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Old 04-11-2004, 07:04 PM
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Re: New Forum; Computer-conceptual; cybersculpture

Sounds like we're heading towards SimArt (like SimCity and SimAnt, etc.), which is a logical next step, though not for people like me who still are foolish enough to do work that causes us to sweat.
I agree that for some of us the presentation aspect is the most viable at this point. For example, I submitted a design to the World Trade Center Memorial Competition along with 5,200 others. I did some aspects of mine with good old fashioned watercolors for a background, then made a small maquette, shot it with a digital camera, then used Photoshop to multiply it and include photos of real people in my crude attempt at what architects and other designers do so easily. Some of the other participant's designs were infinitely more sophisticated and the winning design was fairly well rendered digitally when first submitted and now has been retooled to be almost believable as reality. It truly is amazing what can be done with the right digital tools. My daughter graduated with a degree in computer graphics from Syracuse and one of their little student projects was to take a set of architects' specs and make a video of it that was a 3D walkthrough of a hazardous waste fascility that hadn't been built yet. That was maybe eight years ago. I'll never be able to do that, though due to lack of expertise and lack of the ability to sit in front of a computer for that long. Also there is a counter-intuitive aspect to sophisticated computer applications that is problemmatical for someone with a certain kind of brain. I've taken a ramshackle building and Photoshoped it to repair all of the windows and put cars and people in the parking lot to make it look like the Arts Center the city had hoped to make of it, but at that point I'm maxed out.
One digital application I have benefitted from in terms of presentation of artwork that this thread has reminded me of is that a couple of years ago a friend asked me if he could make a digital video about one of my outdoor sculpture installations. He came to my studio when it was in progress and that whole thing. I have a VHS of it because that was all I was capable of handling at the time, but now I'm going to ask him to make me a digital version, which I know he can. Thank you for bringing this up. You got my wheels turning.
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Old 04-11-2004, 08:37 PM
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Re: New Forum; Computer-conceptual; cybersculpture

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Originally Posted by JAZ
Sounds like we're heading towards SimArt (like SimCity and SimAnt, etc.), which is a logical next step, though not for people like me who still are foolish enough to do work that causes us to sweat. ... Thank you for bringing this up. You got my wheels turning.
JAZ - There are just possibilities for now, and possibly realities for sculptors in the most technologically advanced facilities. Personally, I also am committed to working in clay and bronze with the human figure, because computer technology still can’t do what I want, at least the technology available to me.

But, I see part of the purpose of this forum as letting the imagination roam, and as informing sculptors in general of the advancing state of possibilities. Cheers! And thanks for the names Cyberart and SimCity, etc. I had forgotten SimCity; I never have seen examples.
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Old 04-18-2004, 11:36 PM
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The digital stuff is really cool and shouldn't be faulted for what it is. I work with digital technology but will always prefer to have dry clay stuck under my fingernails. When thinking about this digital stuff, I can't help but be reminded of an interview with Peter Buck from R.E.M some years back. The reporter was asking him what he thought about computers and music (with the inference that REM's stuff was so far away from electronic music, electronic music was cold and lifeless,etc). Buck came back and said how much he loved computers because they were increasing his ability to make even more traditional sounding music (with traditional instruments) in a more efficient way that offered more creative options than before. I don't know, I guess what I mean is that it's up to you(us, anyone) as an artist to see if this is the right thing for you, personally. This technology is in it's infancy and what tomorrow holds is anyone's guess. I'm a traditional sculptor working at a digital facility (The Digital Atelier of the Johnson Atelier) and am familiar with both worlds. I don't have a website up now but go to

www.3dny.com

to see a digital product I've developed for another organiztion.

It's the one on doing a head in Maya.
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Old 04-19-2004, 01:09 AM
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Re: New Forum

Hi jfmenna,

The head with the clay tools next to it is amazing. Nice job.

I've been hearing something about "Digital Stone" at the Johnson Atelier, do you know what's up with that? I was wondering if that is where you are working, but am not sure if it is the same thing as the Digital Atelier.

Maya seems like an interesting program. Did you find it hard to use at first, or did it come easily to you as a sculptor? I was wondering if you kind of came at it like Peter Buck - a nice example by the way.
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Old 04-19-2004, 04:10 AM
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Re: New Forum

Joeseph, I,m a stone sculptor,who also loves modeling,your obvious skill and credentials are very impressive indeed! I personally would like to see more and would most definately have a blast using a program like yours, in fact it's in my favorites. I'm in the beginning stages of aquiring a piece of property,so the budget's up in the air so to speak, but shoot a few hours of overtime and I could afford that baby!

Let's shoot straight here. Any objections to the issue at hand in this particular thread, are the same one's that ripple through just about every medium at every level and are usually caused or held by those who already have the entire ART rap!, or are so damned great that they can't see past themselves.

"Those facts,words,persons, which dwell in his memory without his being able to say why,remain because they have a relation to him not less real for being as yet unapprehended. They are symbols of value to him as they can interpret parts of his conciousness which he would vainly seek words for in the conventional images in books and other minds.What ATTRACTS my attention shall have it, as I will go to the man who knocks at my door, whilst a thousand persons as worthy go by it, to whom I give no regard."

This could very well be the first or only medium an otherwise lost talent ever comes into contact with.

I think it's great! damn the critics, most of them are dead in the water anyway. Gdog.
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Old 04-19-2004, 09:21 PM
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Re: New Forum; MediaBooks

jfmenna - Welcome back! I appreciated your contributions in the earlier “computing” section that partly was lost when Russ’ service crashed a while back. Hopefully, this “New Technologies” section will continue with some of that.

What is a MediaBook? From context, I assume that it is a CD which combines the modeling program with instructive text and illustrative examples.

And, as a specific question, how much, if any, pushing and pulling can be done on localized or global areas of the model to tweak the appearance, or even to create an entirely different face? Hopefully quite a lot. I’ve always anticipated that as a real advantage of these computer modeling tools. In the real, clay world, I’ve used the same two pairs of torsos, male and female, now to do a couple of rounds of new figures, quite different from the earlier ones. That saves a lot of armature construction and of clay removal and readdition.

And, congratulations on both the book and the sculptures! These faces and figures represent a big step toward electronic figuration.

Last edited by fritchie : 04-19-2004 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 04-20-2004, 12:00 AM
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Re: New Forum

I work at the Johnson Atelier and am part of the Digital Atelier which is our digital enlarging division. Maya's a great program. I think the best way to learn is to take an introductory continuing ed or community college class and then go from there on your own. Maya is primarily an animation package but it is being increasingly used by artists from various fields including design and architecture. Rhino is another good program and is designed specifically to produce rp models and millable data. This head project is more of a commercial project and doesn't reflect the kind of sculpture that I make...far from it in fact. I am definitely in tune with the REM approach to technology. It seems that the artworld and digital media technology are co-mingling as never before...web-sites as conceptual art pieces, guys reprogramming Nintendo cartridges at the Whitney, Matthew Barney's film series. It all makes my head spin and forces me to constantly re-examine my notions of art and how others engage it. I should probably stop yappin' here....life is short and there's still a whole lot of art to try and make! Good luck all
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Old 06-17-2004, 08:53 PM
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Re: New Forum

That reminds me...


www.larrycarlson.com

Some food for thought. Digital art is already an established art form, and as mentioned earlier it has some good and bad qualities to it. That particular site is my personal favourite, but I know of a few others. Dialup users be patient; I believe Shockwave was used in some of those pieces and it will take long to load.
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Old 11-16-2004, 12:26 PM
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Re: New Forum

Quote:
Originally Posted by RuBert
Hi jfmenna,

The head with the clay tools next to it is amazing. Nice job.

I've been hearing something about "Digital Stone" at the Johnson Atelier, do you know what's up with that? I was wondering if that is where you are working, but am not sure if it is the same thing as the Digital Atelier.

Maya seems like an interesting program. Did you find it hard to use at first, or did it come easily to you as a sculptor? I was wondering if you kind of came at it like Peter Buck - a nice example by the way.
I am the director of the newly formed Digital Stone Project. www.digitalstoneproject.org
We have formed a non profit organisation to take over the former Johnson Atelier Stone Division.
At the Stone division we had 9 years of experience working with laser scanners and CNC machines cutting stone.
We are making the same technology and recources available to sculptors and students. For more information visit our website or call 609-587-6699.
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Old 11-17-2004, 08:23 PM
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Re: New Forum

I've come a bit late to this thread but I want to weigh in anyway.

I have many years in the machine design business under my belt. I go back to the "pencile on paper" days when drafting was an ART. Everyone had their own style of line, way of laying out images on a drawing, and hand lettering.

When computer aided design (CAD) came into being I moved into the field along with everyone else. Slowely the technology improved, going from purely 2D drawing to 3D modeling.

During the transition from paper to computer I did, however, find I went through a period of depression; a time of grieving for the loss of the "hands on" personal touch that showed in my drawings. Everything was now set by the computer - line weight, image layout, and lettering - "Default Settings" they're called.

3D design software is now quite powerfull. Drawings are no longer made. The part models are sent by e-mail to machine shops where they are downloaded to the machines that do things like cut metal into parts, produce 3D rapid prototypes, and bend sheet metal; all with accuracies never achieved before. What is produced from a computer generated design can be, for all intensive purposes, exactly what is in the computer, to within plus or minus .0005 inches.

The interface with the computers have also changed and the options widened. There are pens on the screen, the mouse on a pad, and recently I read about a tactile feedback system that allows one to manipulate what is on the screen like clay; feeling the resistance of the material as it's worked. And don't forget the laser scanners that can now produce a computer image of anything, includng the human body, with no error in accuracy. This image can then be machined out of foam, a mold made of the foam image, and bronze pored to produce a sculpture.

But is this a sculpture? Where is the creativity? Where is the decision made? Is it all left to the "default settings" of the machine? Are we going to be turning out sculpture like the mass produced items on the market that are out-dated so soon and replaced with some new gizmo?

Technology is good. It's exciting. It can make life easy. In the bronze casting field, laser scanning and enlargement capabilities are definitly a time saving attribute - much better than the old pointing method - as long as the final stage is hands on finishing of the final surface and detail of the model.

But CAD technology could also rob us of individuality. And then, would we just become "default scuptors" used by the machines?

Any takers on this issue?
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Old 11-18-2004, 11:06 PM
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Re: New Forum

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Originally Posted by oddist
But is this a sculpture? Where is the creativity? Where is the decision made? Is it all left to the "default settings" of the machine? Are we going to be turning out sculpture like the mass produced items on the market that are out-dated so soon and replaced with some new gizmo?

Technology is good. It's exciting. It can make life easy. In the bronze casting field, laser scanning and enlargement capabilities are definitly a time saving attribute - much better than the old pointing method - as long as the final stage is hands on finishing of the final surface and detail of the model.

But CAD technology could also rob us of individuality. And then, would we just become "default scuptors" used by the machines?

Any takers on this issue?
I think the ideas and forms created are more important than what was used to create them. But there is no doubt that some of the time just spent on drudgery can be reduced by some of these technologies. If I have to drill just 6 3/4" holes in 1/2" 316 stainless steel for a base it might take me an entire day - I'm a little slow. However if it is laser-cut my time can be spent doing something more fun and creative than standing at a drill-press all day.

So of course that's just one example, and while some thrive on using the technology for duplicates of sculpture, I never use technology to make a second copy.

However, there is a seductive nature to technology that causes it to spread at a alarming rate.

Now we all have these cell phones and are forever on call - supposedly available at any time. To me that is the technology that is the most intrusive.

The new technologies I do like to use enable greater control of certain materials and give me more time to express creative thoughts. That is not to say that they are right for everyone.
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