Since the first functional 3D printers were created 30 years ago they have been used to create car parts, smartphone cases, fashion accessories and even artificial organs. Not only is the technology impressive, so are the different types of materials you can print with. But I want to focus on what 3D printing can do in the hands of creatives (especially since 3D printing is now possible from Photoshop CC). I’ve highlighted a couple of areas where artists and designers are doing amazing work in the hopes that it will inspire you to create. (And remember that you don’t need a 3D printer. Just create/refine with Photoshop CC and send directly to Shapeways.com.)
Technically Complex Tangles
Josh Harker is considered a pioneer and visionary in 3D printed art and sculpture. He is credited as the first to break the “design & manufacturing possibility threshold” due to the level of detail he has in his work. Yet 3D printing has come a long way and now you can achieve this same level of detail using something like laser sintering. Don’t have the $250k laser sinter printer? Just send it to an online service like Shapeways.com and they’ll mail it to your house. Or you can view (and purchase) his work on his website.
“There is no technique that is capable of achieving such a great degree of hyper(sur)realism as 3D-modeling. At the same time, 3D printing is the only technique with which virtual models can be made actually physically touchable,” says artist Eric Van Straaten. Eric creates and prints 3D objects using full-color sandstone.
How can you do this?
- Use the 3D app of your choice to create an object.
- Import it into Photoshop CC.
- Paint directly on the object.
- Send to Shapeways from Photoshop CC for printing.
View more of Eric’s work.
Interactive 3D Voiceprint
I had the privilege of meeting artist Gilles Azzaro at 3D Printshow in NYC where he revealed an incredibly creative printed sculpture featuring a speech made by Barrack Obama explaining the ‘Next Industrial Revolution’ (3D Printing!). A creative use of multiple technologies, made possible by 3D printing. See the video of it in action here.
There are many fashion designers using 3D printing (see below) but I personally like Sebastian Errazuriz as he uses 3D printing to tell stories of love through the memory of 12 previous relationships. The shoes are just fantastic and are accompanied by photos and stories that are equally interesting.
3D Printed Alphabet
Johnson Banks has created Arkitype, which is an “alphabet of alphabets”. They developed a typographic 3D print of the alphabet, based on popular typefaces. A must for anyone interested in typography and can handle being really jealous of this creative and beautiful idea. Check it out.
Functional & Personalized Items
There is hardly a designer out there who doesn’t have a unique iPhone case or laptop sticker. It’s in our blood to create and customize. This sets up 3D printing for a number of uses, like this iPad stand, or my iPhone case. This is one of the many items that have been created by designers and are available on Shapeways.com. Or you can make your own using Photoshop CC like I did.
Below are some additional 3D printed works to inspire you and show the different uses of 3D printing in the hands of creatives.
As you can see there are many designers and artists using 3D printing in fascinating ways. But the question is, in this relatively new field, what will you create?