Smooth Hands


Originally uploaded by da mad pixelist

I’ve been experimenting with extruded shapes, with the end goal of fabricating some interesting ones using a 3D printer at the University I teach at, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham (UK).

So far, it has been a long learning process – first, making extrusions of my hands using Fluxus and a custom-written OpenCV-based image-outline-tracer in C++ (using some OpenFrameworks); then, using Dave’s extrusion functions in fluxus mixed with my live-drawing sketches, coupled with the OBJ-file export, and finally imported into Blender (for some nice ray-tracing).

The trouble is, I can create 3D shapes but hey have no “solidity,” which means their outlines have no thickness. Apparently you can’t 3D print objects and just hope that they are thick enough, or tweak it on the machine, as I’d hoped. No, as with all computers and electronic devices, they only do EXACTLY what you tell them to do, and nothing more or less.

The image here is a reject from Fluxus/Blender, where I created an inner shape by duplicating the original shape and growing it outward along its normals (used for lighting, normals are perpendicular to the surface of the object, meaning they point exactly outwards and are useful for expanding shapes). The problem is that my shape is so complex, I can’t get away with simply growing it. I’m going to need to do some horrible maths, I can feel it…

Still, I really like this image.  I’m a big fan of Salvador Dali (don’t laugh) and the infinite blue background and contrasting, surreally-melted hand shape in front lends this image a particularly Dali-esque quality, I think.