Update 6/23/14: I used a compilation of the model in a display of photographs of other people's prints on February 3, 2014 to LACMA. Here is a version of my display: 3D Printing, 3D Capture, and Chances for Design Custodians. Please share it with anyone you believe might be interested -- Thanks.
"Supreme western works of art, like Oedipus Rex and Hamlet, maintain their indeterminacy through all presentation. They're ungraspable. Even the Venus de Milo developed everything by losing her arms." -- Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson
In the 19th century, significant works of sculptural artwork were replicated in plaster. Artisans attentively made forms of the primeval originals, and high quality replicas were subsequently cast in plaster to be purchased, sold, and traded by universities, museums, art schools, and private collectors . Plaster casts of the 2nd century BC Venus de Milo were quite popular, and would have been discovered in cast groups all around the globe.
However, the plaster cast custom disappeared in the early 1900s. Groups that were cast were broken up, sold off piece by piece, and sometimes really physically ruined. There are just several sizeable groups of plaster casts left in existence now.
The Skulpturhalle Basel museum in Switzerland preserves one of the planet 's few living substantial groups of plaster casts. They've an extremely top quality cast of Venus de Milo, which was commissioned by the University of Basel and attentively cast by the Louvre's own atelier in 1850.
In September 2013, together with the financial support of the Reality Capture section of Autodesk as well as the museum's permission, I spent a week working in the Skulpturhalle, taking 3D surveys of my choice of casts. I shot hundreds of carefully staged photographs of Venus and used Autodesk's ReCap Photo photogrammetry applications to process them into this high quality 3D model.
This version of Venus de Milo is a contemporary artifact and direct descendent of the plaster cast convention, which is poised for a 3D caught, 3D printed, digital renaissance. It's to my knowledge the first high quality 3D survey of the Venus de Milo to be freely printed, and I'm pleased in order to provide you direct access to its historical, enigmatic, and graceful contours, which descend to us through an unbroken chain from antiquity -- from the Greek island of Milos 2,100 years past, to the Louvre, to the Skulpturhalle, through my camera lens, to you.
It's possible for you to also read more about my job, Through A Scanner, Skulpturhalle, at http://ThroughAScanner.com. I'll be printing more results, including Winged Victory of Samothrace as well as the Medusa Rondanini, among others, and cataloging them here: http://thingiverse.com/thing:83781 I post occasional updates on Twitter as well: http://twitter.com/CosmoWenman
Should you know anyone who'd be interested in sponsoring more of the type of work by me, please send them my way.
-- Cosmo Wenman
The 3D print revealed in the photographs and video was made with white PLA and ended in patinated copper using Alternative Reality Patinas (coming soon!). It is the first of its type, and it was revealed at Paris 3D Printshows and the London in November 2013. It Is on the market.
I'm also offering 3D prints of Venus de Milo through my Shapeways store, http://shapeways.com/shops/CosmoWenman
In addition to my Shapeways offerings, I can cast Venus for you in bronze or stainless steel in any size.
Tips, Tools, and Specifications:
Venus de Milo
Skulpturhalle Basel accession number 261
1850 plaster molded and cast from the first by the Louvre atelier, with just very slight signs of parting lines, as well as a fake patina probably added in the 1950s or 1960s.
Skulpturhalle Basel: http://www.skulpturhalle.ch
History of the Skulpturhalle and uses of plaster casts: http://goo.gl/aFX84x
250 JPEGs processed with Autodesk's ReCap Picture cloud-based photogrammetry application: http://recap.autodesk.com, using every other third picture from 663 successive locations, plus an assortment of detail photos.
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Lens: Sigma EX 50mm
Using a wireless remote shutter release as well as a free tripod for pictures at eye level and under, along with a tripod on extended legs with wheels for pictures from above.
5616 x 3744 pixels per photo
Lighting: Regular museum lights plus three additional set spotlights, with diffuse light from skylight on an overcast day.
Scaling, cropping, sectioning, and print groundwork of the version was done with Blender, on an underpowered Windows 7 PC that's dying at this very minute, as I type.
Scale references in the raw unedited .obj:
The gray plinth Venus stands on is 690mm x 519mm x 337mm (345mm to the flooring).
The white balance reference card is 254mm x 216mm.
The "Frauen und Sport" poster is 2000mm wide.
The "Weitere Sportarten" poster is 1700mm broad.
The "Wagenrennen und Reiten" poster is 2188millimeter broad and 915mm from the ground.
(I 'm having trouble uploading the first .obj and feels of the unedited capture -- they're quite big files. I will keep trying and post a link if I wind up hosting it someplace else.)
The model has been just very lightly re-sculpted with Meshmixer to repair one area near the top of the head to fill a hole in the physical plaster cast, and to edit a capture flaw, also on top of the head, which the pictures didn't capture nicely. The valley where the rear of the right arm of the body meets with the side of the torso was made somewhat clearer. A couple little places in a number of the valleys in the drapery are inverted, convex where they ought to not be convex, but these were left as-is.
The entire, single-component model wants supports under the body's right arm, and under the face. I have printed it little, with no infill, with RepG for a Replicator1 along with file homework.
The multi-component parts print nicely in PLA with no outside supports. I have printed them several times with RepG for file homework along with a Replicator1, with zero infill, 3 walls thick, at .2millimeter layer height for the body sections, and 10% infill, 4 walls thick and .12millimeter layer height for the face and crown bits. At its present scale, the constructed print stands about 19.5 inches tall, and is approximately the same scale as my Winged Victory model -- they make a fine pair side by side.
Other machine and applications combos may need distinct settings.
This endeavor was made possible by the financial support of Autodesk's Reality Capture section. My thanks to Brian and Tatjana Dzambazova Mathews there for making it happen, and to the folks in 123D teams and Autodesk's Reality Capture, who make products that are unbelievable. http://recap.autodesk.com + http://123dapp.com
Thanks to Dr. Tomas Lochman, manager of the Skulpturhalle Basel museum, for giving me access to the museum and enabling me to run this experiment in expanding the reach of its unbelievable set and the nature that told its development. http://www.skulpturhalle.ch
I'd additionally like to thank the following:
Bernard Frischer, Professor of Informatics and Manager of the Virtual World Heritage Laboratory, Indiana University, for his guidance on where to attempt this experiment (e plunged non), and for presenting me to Dr. Lochman. http://frischerconsulting.com/frischer/projects.html
FARO, for making a FARO Scanarm Edge laser scanner accessible to me, and to FARO's Florian Fuenfschilling and Chris Bartschat for their expertise using it and catching some laser scans of added sections for me. http://faro.com
Ralph Wiedemeier, who made and given me a custom, 10' tall tripod on wheels that was certainly essential. He delivered it from Zurich to me. http://framefactory.ch
Bre Pettis and Kio Stark for early comments and guidance on my Kickstarter effort. http://brepettis.com + http://kiostark.com
MakerBot for featuring my Kickstarter on Thingiverse.
Kerry Hogarth of the 3D Printshow, for giving me tickets to the London, Paris, and New York shows to utilize as Kickstarter benefits, and for exhibit space there to flaunt the job's results. http://3dprintshow.com
Susan Self for her help boosting the Kickstarter to the media. [email protected]
Virginia Postrel for her guidance and help telling the narrative of the bigger picture as it is been coming into focus. http://vpostrel.com/power-of-glamour
Thank you to all my Kickstarter's backers. Though it was not the viral hit the effort fell without their support and help boosting it and we had hoped for, the job would have stayed dead in the water. http://kck.st/1bxMz0I
Associated media mentions: http://cosmowenman.wordpress.com/media-mentions/