Multi-Colour 3D Print from translation of VR Raw File

Elliot Dodd‘s “Whippy Snaggle Stack” was produced as part of a collaboration between HTC Vive and the Royal Academy of Arts.  The main focus of the project was to try and draw/sculpt/design artwork within the virtual environment which could then subsequently be 3D printed. These “real-world” printed works were then presented alongside experiential virtual versions of them at the RA.

“For my project I attempted to make a work that could sit alongside the rest of my practice, where I make drawings, sculpture and film/3D animation. I used 2 pieces of software: Tiltbrush and Kodon, in order to form a character made from a combination of geometrical forms and biological elements. In my drawings I often try to capture forces of spiralling compression or squashing, so drawing inside tiltbrush was really physical and well suited to this. A massive advantage of VR is that you can work on something in a physical way but at any scale you want.. an element can be handheld or 20 metres tall from minute to minute, dependant on what makes sense at the time.”

Dodd in his studio with VR and 3D Print of Whippy Snaggle Stack

Members of D2W experience Dodd's VR at the RA

I really like the way working inside VR is so transportational and almost hallucinogenic. I’m always looking for new psychological spaces to work in, in order to disrupt my thought patterns. After completing the work I used an amazing company in Camden called Digits2Widgets. They enabled me to more or less take the work directly out of VR and print it using a full colour process in plaster.

I was compelled by the idea of a 3 dimensional version of my drawing. I’d seen lots of really commercial uses of the coloured plaster 3D printing method and felt it held some possibilities as a mode of less defined expression. Working with Digits2Widgets in Camden was great, and they made the translation process of the VR-raw file to a print ready file very smooth.

I felt it was important to have the print there alongside the VR incarnation, to be able to position it in direct competition with the enormous Constable on the other side of the room was very interesting. I love that an object of such complexity and high finish can emerge directly from a machine.”

The data for “Whippy Snaggle Stack” wasn’t quite ready to print, because as yet, this isn’t a conventional way of generating printable data. D2W in collaboration with Dodd, had to do some extensive work on both the surface data and the colour map of the object in order to produce workable data from this technology.

D2W regarded it as a fascinating challenge to take it the final step to printability, and we were astonished at how amazing “Whippy Snaggle Stack” was as a 3D print.  Not only  is it a great example of Multi-Colour 3D Printing, but a fantastically intriguing work in its own right.

Whippy Snaggle Stack presented on a plinth in the Royal Academy

Screengrab of VR experience created by Dodd

Elliot Dodd, based in London, works across multiple platforms and materials.
Recent work has included UV printed steel sculptures, drawing, virtual reality, motion graphics and film.

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