Eric Maslowski, Technical Creative Consultant

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Sculptural Motion: A Look at Performative Movements as Sculpture

Mathew Schwartz was an active student with the University of Michigan 3D Lab working on several projects through the years. As his senior thesis approached he looked into the significance of motion as a sculptural form and the possibility of using the lab's motion capture system. I had the pleasure of seeing his idea mature and even played a role in it's success through the facilitating of the various resources he needed and developing an initial script for 3d Studio Max that extracted the movements into a 3D form. He then took that script expanded on the user interface and added custom algorithms to support the goals of his thesis. (video of process on slide 4)

His technical process started with recording motion capture data of various movements. This was done with a Vicon motion capture system which offered a high resolution data set. A Kinect or cluster of web cameras could theoretically work as well but the fidelity may not be high enough for what Mat was going for. Once the motion data was cleaned it was exported into 3D Studio Max where a script I wrote, and Mat added a few UI and algorithmic changes to, took a particular object over time and turned it into a swept/lofted surface.

From there the 3D shape was cleaned up and prepared for the rapid prototyping process. Mat's end goal was a bronze casting of each piece. As such the model needed to be modified so that it would survive the gating, burnout, and pouring stages of bronze casting. Once a 3D model of ABS plastic was created the bronze casting process begin which resulted in the images above (slide 1,2,3)

I'll be posting a version of the script here once I have a moment to clean it up a little.

Photos of finished works and video courtesy of Mathew Schwartz.