3D technology is strongly associated with modern tools and innovations from the spheres of research and development. However, for hundreds – even thousands – of years, artists have been using 3D modelling techniques to create prototypes and works of art. The idea therefore already existed, but as technology has evolved, the vocation of the 3D expert has become a career in itself.

3D printing, scanning, modelling, computer graphics…

These days, the tools used to create models are becoming increasingly sophisticated. While some devices and software dedicated to the creation of 3D objects are designed to be used by the average person, only people with expertise in them know how to fully exploit the potential of these tools.

The role of a 3D expert

Whatever the nature of the project entrusted to them, the 3D expert is able to determine the best techniques to use to achieve the desired result. Generally speaking, artists rely on 3D experts to assist them in the prototype development stages, the creation of a mould, or the manufacturing of the different pieces that make up the work. 3D experts work with scanning software and devices that enable the manufacturing of objects, and that work very quickly and precisely.
Let’s take a look at the techniques and instruments that 3D experts work with, as well as how these tools are used to help create works of art.

3D scanning

3D scanning software has become extremely powerful. It’s possible to work from a 2D drawing or a 3D object, no matter its size. In the case of a 3D object, the software is connected to non-contact scanning sensors that the expert has placed around the object. These sensors are capable of analyzing the size, volume, texture, and colour of the object, and can then recreate them in the form of a 3D file on a computer. The software reproduces every detail of the original object in an extremely faithful manner.
For artists, this scanning technique can be used at several stages of the creation process. First of all, the artist can use it to experiment with the shapes, textures, and colours of the work that’s being created. Instead of having to devote hours to the construction of different handmade prototypes, they can work from the computer file in collaboration with the 3D expert, who will make custom modifications using the software. They can also use this technique to create models for moulds that will be used to create several copies of the same work.
Finally, 3D scanning is a solution to consider for archiving purposes.

3D printing

In a sense, 3D printing is the next step after scanning. This technology helps create 3D objects from computer files. It’s also possible to scan an object that already exists and reproduce it. 3D printing is done layer by layer using a material made from a mixture of clumping powder and a binding agent.
Here too, 3D printing is mainly used to manufacture prototypes and pieces that make up the work of art. Following the artist’s instructions, the 3D expert is able to meet their needs by working with scanning software and operating the 3D printer to ensure optimal results.

Efficiency and accessibility

Long reserved for large companies and sectors related to science and research, the innovations of 3D technology are now used in many fields, including the arts. The role of the 3D expert is to act as an assistant to their contractor, putting their knowledge to work to take full advantage of all the functions associated with these tools.