AMS Spring 2023

Magical Art: 3D Printing Enables Artists to Create Designs That Change Forms Depending on Light

6K SmarTech

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artgifOver the past few years we have really begun to see many mainstream artists use 3D printing technology within their creations. Whether it is artistic fashion design, incredible lithophanes, or whatever else these brilliant minds can conjure up, the technology definitely has proven to have its worth within various fields of art.

For one duo of Zurich, Switzerland-based designers, 3D printing has allowed them to advance a particular art form several steps further. Drzach & Suchy are known for their incredibly unique forms of art, but one art form in particular really is of interest to them. Back in 2004, Drzach invented the technique of “shadow casting panels” (SCP), a method which allows for the storing and presenting of multiple images using just one single physical object. By utilizing light to its fullest extent, Drzach & Suchy have continued to improve upon this technique over the past 11 years. Just recently though, the duo decided to team with i.materialise to 3D print one of these SCP works. Using SketchUp, they created their 3D design, before sending the files off to i.materialise to have them 3D printed in a transparent resin material.

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“Previously, we made a prototype of a colorful SCP, but we had to assemble it manually, pixel-by-pixel, as 3D printing with colored transparent materials was not feasible,” the duo explained. “Now that more materials are available for 3D printing, we wanted to give it a try.”

The artwork was then shipped back to Drzach & Suchy, in several different color panels, which when stacked on top of one another, create the final piece of art. As you can see in the video at the bottom of this page, the images within the artwork really don’t appear until they are placed into a container, filled with milk and hit with a light source from particular angles. The milk is mainly used in order to hide the 3D printed material that holds the structure together, as this is not actually part of the work, but merely a means to keep the “pegs” in the right places.

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In this version of the SCP artwork, Drzach & Suchy elected to use Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy as their examples, but virtually anything could have been used. It should be interesting to see what other projects the duo can come up with using 3D printing via i.materialise in the future.

What do you think about this unique art form? Is this something you’d be willing to try yourself? Discuss in the shadow casting panels forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below.

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