Computational Design Lab

Beautiful Modeler

Beautiful Modeler is a software tool for gestural sculpting using a multi-touch controller such as an iPad. Each finger is used to control a single touch point in the model, with multiple layers working to build up 3D volume. As the controller is connected over the wireless network, it can be moved freely to change the viewing angle of the model.

The model itself is presented on the main display rather than on the controller itself; this prevents occlusion of the model when sculpting with the whole hand. The controller screen does not need to be viewed while sculpting, meaning the controller can be rotated or flipped to sculpt from a range of angles. Currently the model is constructed using metaballs (code from Golan Levin), but this is just one approach for gestural input to be transformed into geometry.

Beautiful Modeler and the Beautiful Controller were created using openFrameworks. The finished mesh can be exported as an STL file (thanks to ofxSTL), meaning the sculpted form can be fabricated immediately. In the video above, the positive mesh has been post-processed to create a negative form for fabrication with a plaster-based 3D printer (thanks Zach!).

A simple circuit is then affixed inside the form to create a lamp. The shadows cast by the negative lamp shape reflect the original positive form.

Author: Karl D.D. Willis
Category: Projects