Home > Article, Video > 3-D Copying Makes Michelangelos of the Masses – Bloomberg

3-D Copying Makes Michelangelos of the Masses – Bloomberg

Autodesk 123DWhen Cosmo Wenman went to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles in late May, he did what many people do.

He took photos of some of his favorite sculptures. But instead of a few snapshots, Wenman took hundreds of pictures, documenting busts and reliefs from every accessible angle. Then he did something currently unusual — but likely to become common.

Wenman turned the photos into three-dimensional digital maps, using a free program called Autodesk 123D Catch. Then he used the maps to print miniature plastic replicas on the $2,000 MakerBot 3-D printer in his home office. And he made one of his best scans freely available, uploading it to the Thingiverse site where MakerBot enthusiasts share digital plans. Now, alongside the hobbyist designs for specialty tools, robot figurines and hair ornaments, you can find an 18th-century relief, John Deare’s “Venus Reclining on a Sea Monster with Cupid and a Putto.”

On Thingiverse, you can also find data maps for around three dozen sculptures from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Unlike Wenman’s one-man amateur venture, these scans are the result of an official collaboration between MakerBot Industries LLC and the Met. This month, the museum hosted a two- day “Hackathon” in which artists working with MakerBot staff members and equipment used the same process to create scans and replicas of Met sculptures, as well as their own derivative works.

Digital Scans

The technology is still primitive and frustrating, and the scans it produces are far from perfect, but the future is clear. The masterworks of three-dimensional art are joining the digital commons. For art lovers, this technological moment represents a tremendous opportunity. The combination of digital scans and inexpensive 3-D printing could do for three-dimensional art what prints have been doing for paintings and drawings for 500 years: make these works familiar, beloved and visually influential to people who will never have a chance to see them in person.

via 3-D Copying Makes Michelangelos of the Masses – Bloomberg.

Strange Random Museum Quote:

“I never can pass by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York without thinking of it not as a gallery of living portraits but as a cemetery of tax-deductible wealth.” – Lewis H. Lapham

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