Dignity in 3D
Direct Dimensions has had the opportunity to work on many amazing art projects in the last fifteen years ranging from documenting famous sculptures for museums to working with talented local artists. One of our recent projects has been a partnership with Zachary Oxman, a sculptor based in nearby Bethesda, Maryland. Mr. Oxman is known for his bronze art work as well as monumentally-sized stainless steel outdoor sculpture installations. His work can be found in many important collections, including the Permanent Collection of the Clinton Presidential Center.
When Mr. Oxman began work on a new equestrian commission entitled “Dignity”, he faced a typical sculpture fabrication problem – how to maintain the accuracy of his small maquette model as he scaled up the piece to its final larger size.
Mr. Oxman, an artist who often leverages new cutting edge technologies, was interested in employing new 3D digital enlargement methods to help him scale his sculpture with his desired level of accuracy. To help with this digital process, he contacted Direct Dimensions, well experienced in a wide variety of similar projects using 3D scanning and digital modeling.
Mr. Oxman brought his clay maquette to the Direct Dimensions’ facility near Baltimore. The complex organic shape was laser scanned with a FaroArm-based laser line scanner to quickly capture the fine detail and undercuts. The resultant 3D “point cloud” of raw laser data was then digitally modeled into a “watertight” mesh surface by DDI using PolyWorks software.
Once the digital model of the maquette was complete, Direct Dimensions worked closely with Mr. Oxman to further refine the sculpture to his specifications. In other words, the initial scanned-based digital model was edited to accentuate features, as directed by the artist himself, using advanced 3D tools similar to a “Photoshop” process.
After the refined 3D digital model was completed, it was used for two critical digital fabrication processes: to 5-axis mill large foam pieces of the complex head, mane, and tail; and also to mill 2D cross-sections from thin sheet steel – both combining to form an accurate internal structural armature for the larger sculpture. When combined, Mr. Oxman covered each of the foam pieces with clay and hand-sculpted the fine texture.
While the maquette was only 30 inches tall, the final piece would be much larger at approximately 13 feet.
The finished sculpture was fabricated in bronze and stainless steel and was successfully installed in Paris, Kentucky in August 2009.