Entoforms at GO3D
November 30, 2014As of November 4th a select few Entoforms can be found at the Museum of Communication in the Hague. They are part of their year long GO3D exhibition. The exhibit shows the history of 3D printing from 1984 up until the present day.
The Odd Luminary
April 5, 2013A select few Entoforms are now available with free shipping in the shop at the Odd Luminary! This is a wonderful wunderkammer of a webshop has long been a favourite of mine. I’m really excited that they decided to add my creatures to their collection. Thanks cousin Cate!
Entoforms exhibit in Nijmegen
January 25, 2013This sunday is the opening of a 3D printing exhibit at the Lindenberg house of arts in Nijmegen (Netherlands). You can see the Entoforms there until Februari 17th along with works by amongst others Michiel Cornelissen and Dirk van der Kooi. You can find more information here: http://www.delindenberg.com/programma.asp?rid=40.
See the Entoforms in the wild this weekend!
October 27, 2012This weekend you can see the Entoforms exhibited at the Affordable Art Fair in Amsterdam and the Shapeways booth at the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven (both in the Netherlands).
The Entoforms at the Art & Antiques fair
April 9, 2012This week the Entoforms will be shown at the Art & Antiques fair in s’Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch) here in the Netherlands. It’s open to the public from the 15th through to the 22nd of April. I will be attending myself as well.
Exhibit at Puntspatie
March 1, 2012This morning I was in amsterdam to bring the Entoforms to the office of Puntspatie for an exhibit. You can find them there all of this month. Be sure to have a look if you visit the Artis zoo, or happen to pass by. The exhibit is right across the street from the entrance (Plantage Kerklaan 45).
Three is a magic number
September 7, 2011It has been a while since I posted any news. I have been rather busy with all manner of projects, but also the Entoforms.
A lot of Entoforms have been sent as perks to the people who contributed to the crowdfunding campaign. A bunch of new ones have been developed/grown, and are on their way. I will update the website soon, because the catalogue is behind somewhat.
But the biggest news is that there’s an exiting exhibit coming up in October. I can’t give any details yet, but it’s got me all nervous. For that exhibit I want to show the Entoforms as more of an interactive installation. And to that end… Tim from blendid helped me out with a big red button! It’s actually a hacked usb numpad connected to an industrial button, and every time you press the button… it’s as if you pressed a 3! I’ll make my system respond to that so it starts growing an entoform whenever anyone presses 3… It’s really fun… thanks heaps Tim!
Thank you everyone!
August 2, 2011Crowdfunding Campaign has come to an end. The total amount raised comes to $2.810,-. 16 People contributed their hard earned cold hard cash, and I appreciate it, and am ever thankful! You made it possible for me to finish a first series of Entoforms. A series large enough to exhibit at the Affordable Art Fair this fall. Even though we didn’t get close to the initial goal I had set, this was the main target, and I dare say… we succeeded!
We also have a winner!
I had a small informal competition running. People who posted a tweet, had a chance to win their own unique custom Entoform! And the winner is: Eduardo (@elabx) from Mexico City! I’ll send you a message a.s.a.p. so we can figure out what you want!
It’s been a blast
Thank you all for an incredible experience. The Campaign may be over, but for the Entoforms it’s only the beginning. Stay in touch, and keep your eye on this space!
The crowdfunding experience
July 28, 2011Crowdfunding Campaign for this project is coming to a close (August 1st 2011), I think it’s a good time for me to look back, and see what happened since I started.
I remember hearing about crowdfunding during the creation of Sintel. I think Colin Levy, was the first to tell me about it. And of course it sounded familiar, because let’s be honest… the Blender Institute has been funding projects this way for quite some time already! It’s a grand idea, and right in line with open-source and creative commons… which I like!
Then Colin showed us all how to run a successful campaign, getting the money together for his short film. Well… that of course gave me something to think about. I’ve been spending a lot of time, trying to come up with “less commercial” ways to make a living from my art, and this seemed great!
Where to fund your project.
I spent some time browsing the internet, looking for places to host my campaign. You don’t really want to go reinventing the wheel… Kickstarter.com is easily the best known place, with the most traffic… but it has 2 big downsides. 1 You don’t get your money until the campaign finishes, and only if you reach your goal, and 2 you have to be an American to start a project on it. The first point seems really logical, and I think is great for a lot of projects. You don’t want to give away your money to someone who isn’t going to spend it on what they said, because they didn’t get their entire budget. But in my case… I’d already been working on the Entoforms for 6 months or so, and was going to use the money for the project no matter what… so… it actually made sense for me to just get the money straight away. And in relation to the second point… I’m Dutch, so… yeah…
The one that I ended up going for is indieGoGo.com. It seemed nice, and allows for world wide participation. They also pay off straight away. They do have a little trick though… they deduct 9% from whatever you get, and only if you reach your goal, do they give you 5% back. One thing I did notice… and found out the hard way. Fine art projects are the hardest to fund! Movies/music/books even trips are much easier to fund that art. Even though I didn’t reach my goal in the end… if I compare my project to other similar art projects… I did rather well! I had a look at other people’s campaigns before I got started, and the first thing you see is.. you need a cool video! So I asked Ali Boubred (the dude who made the docu about Sintel‘s creation), who I really dig, to make a small video with me. I wanted to not just do an intro for the campaign, but also something that I could show as an intro to the Entoforms in general… I think that was a mistake! I really like the video… it turned out great (of course not how I expected, but great anyway), it worked somewhat… but I think you’re better off creating a video specifically for your campaign… Not just explaining what your project is, and use the text for the rest. Name the website where people can donate in the video, and tell them what they get in return! I have to admit, standing in front of a camera and trying to make sense is… well… hard! Really hard! But also completely worth it as an experience. And I still owe Ali big time for helping out. I calculated that to fund the entire initial stage of my project, I needed 10.000 Euros. And… as it turns out, I only generated about a 7th of that amount with the campaign. But, I’ll tell you what… I still think the math is correct. It’s basically how much I’ve invested myself so far… and through the campaign I got a little money back from the community, which is awesome… I think it’s important to be honest about your goals. You can’t go asking people for less than you need, and expect them to pay more. One of the best parts of a crowdfunding campaign is it’s perks. When people donate to your project, you give them a present in return. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is to be really clear in my description of a perk. And… not be afraid to add a couple new ones mid way through.
Starting a campaign
Set your goal
The one that I ended up going for is indieGoGo.com. It seemed nice, and allows for world wide participation. They also pay off straight away. They do have a little trick though… they deduct 9% from whatever you get, and only if you reach your goal, do they give you 5% back.
One thing I did notice… and found out the hard way. Fine art projects are the hardest to fund! Movies/music/books even trips are much easier to fund that art. Even though I didn’t reach my goal in the end… if I compare my project to other similar art projects… I did rather well!
I had a look at other people’s campaigns before I got started, and the first thing you see is.. you need a cool video! So I asked Ali Boubred (the dude who made the docu about Sintel‘s creation), who I really dig, to make a small video with me. I wanted to not just do an intro for the campaign, but also something that I could show as an intro to the Entoforms in general… I think that was a mistake! I really like the video… it turned out great (of course not how I expected, but great anyway), it worked somewhat… but I think you’re better off creating a video specifically for your campaign… Not just explaining what your project is, and use the text for the rest. Name the website where people can donate in the video, and tell them what they get in return!
I have to admit, standing in front of a camera and trying to make sense is… well… hard! Really hard! But also completely worth it as an experience. And I still owe Ali big time for helping out.
I calculated that to fund the entire initial stage of my project, I needed 10.000 Euros. And… as it turns out, I only generated about a 7th of that amount with the campaign. But, I’ll tell you what… I still think the math is correct. It’s basically how much I’ve invested myself so far… and through the campaign I got a little money back from the community, which is awesome… I think it’s important to be honest about your goals. You can’t go asking people for less than you need, and expect them to pay more.
One of the best parts of a crowdfunding campaign is it’s perks. When people donate to your project, you give them a present in return. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is to be really clear in my description of a perk. And… not be afraid to add a couple new ones mid way through.
I got it wrong there as well… my cheapest perk was $15 for a set of post-cards… no one went for that. People either wanted an Entoform, or nothing. That’s an important lesson… I wouldn’t go in for a card either, website credit maybe, but not a card. So it’s a good idea to offer people stuff you’d want yourself.
I’m the first to admit it… I’m not the most introverted. I don’t think anyone’s described me as “shy” in the last decade or two. But my oh my… do I hate asking for help. And that’s exactly what Crowdfunding is about. You are asking people for help, and attention all the time. So you best make sure you’re prepared to. For me… I felt like hiding behind the sofa every time I pressed “send” for another e-mail, going out to some blog.
But… it works… Find people who write stuff that relates somewhat to what you’re doing, and send them an e-mail! Because they need content too, and they love getting it handed to them. See the list of articles about the Entoforms, most of those were the result of me sending a personal e-mail to the editor/author. I didn’t spam them of course… I sent them a nice/honest e-mail explaining what I’m up to, and why I thought it might be interesting to them.
Also… here’s a big trick! Find projects like yours and see where they were published! Then write to those places!
- Do make a video with you talking about your project (even if you’re not crowdfunding).
- Do offer people perks that you’d like to get yourself.
- Do be honest about your goals and set them accordingly.
- Do ask for attention a lot!
- Do release news updates regularly (twice a week as minimum)
- Do run a campaign that’s 2 months or shorter (2 is plenty, longer becomes a pain)
- Do have a little competition where you give away stuff too.
- Do e-mail everyone you know, and lots of people you don’t (but write every e-mail yourself, and make it personal).
- Do use Google blogsearch to find people to write to about your project.
- Do find out where your competition got published.
- Do be incredibly bold in showing you’re doing a campaign… subtlety is nice… but doesn’t work well here!
- Do get banners up on every website you can (but don’t spend money on it, because banners are a crappy way to advertise).
- Do get all your friends and family involved.
- Do find the right crowdfunding platform for your project!
- Do run a campaign, it’s scary, but a great experience!
It has been a whirlwind 2.5 months for me. I’ve enjoyed it. Personally… I found it somewhat of an emotional roller-coaster. Every time I got picked up by a major website I thought “the ball would start rolling”, and then a few days later I realised nothing much happened. I had more ups and downs in the last 2 months than in the previous 2 years… and that includes working on Sintel! I’ve learnt more about myself (and how to run a business) during this campaign than well… in rather a long time.
So… would I call it a success? I didn’t get close to reaching my goal financially… I did end up with a series of Entoforms large enough to exhibit. I learnt a great deal. I made lots of new connections. I got to develop my project further, and got tons of feedback and ideas.
Lets put it like this… Will I be running another crowdfunding campaign in the future?
Entoforms around the world
July 11, 2011
In the last week I’ve made quite a few improvements to the Entoforms. I brought back creases, and made colours a lot more varied. Also… I can now generate families based on a list of names. SO….. Here’s two really fun ones!
An Entoform for every capital city
An Entoform for every country
Win a unique personal Entoform
July 4, 2011For the final month of the indieGoGo campaign to fund the Entoforms I decided to have a little competition. You can win a unique personal Entoform based on your name, labeled, boxed, and signed. At the end of the campaign (august 1st), a winner will be randomly selected from all the participants. Here is what you have to do for a chance to win!
- Follow @macouno on twitter
- Tweet the following message (the bold text):
I am entered to win an Entoform from @macouno. Go to http://www.indiegogo.com/entoforms to contribute and enter as well
Ship ahoy… man if only that sounded cool
June 29, 2011I spent some time this week working on a little experiment…
I downloaded the Shipyard file by Greyoxide. Then wrote a little script based on the Entoforms code which assembles ships! Among other things… it’s a bit of proof that all this work on the Entoforms can be applied to other things as well.
Here’s a video I made of all known Blender 3D programmers as spaceships… Yea!
New forms and old
I just now published a brand new entoform! Go have a look at Iuga Magna.
Ready… set… ship!
June 17, 2011It is that time! Today I sent out the first batch of perks for the indieGoGo crowdfunding Campaign! It feels really great, it’s going very well… thank you all ever so much!
I also took the time to put all the remaining Entoforms in boxes with correct labelling. This means that I can now once again concentrate on creating new stuff for a bit!
It’s been quite the weekend
June 14, 2011Hello everyone… I think I can’t get away with not doing a small post right now. It’s been a busy couple of days! I finally received the drill bits I’ve been waiting for, then figured out they’re useless! Then mounted the first series in the brand new fresh black insect boxes… which look awesome! Also had a bit of a birthday party in the park, and a whole gaggle of articles about the Entoforms appeared around the web, I’ll have to make a proper page with links!
Here’s a few (in order of appearance as far as I can tell).
Oh… and I saw a rainbow right above me between a couple of clouds, so I tried to take a picture of it (still looking for the pot of gold)!
An actual birthday present!
June 10, 2011Only yesterday I got a big box with lots of printed entoforms… and today… I got a small box with three more! I added some pictures to the media page.
If you have a close look… you can tell… these are from the first generation with eyes! All the entoforms before now were born blind!
An early birthday present!
June 9, 2011Tomorrow is my birthday! And… today I got a nice fresh package from the Shapeways Stork! Four brand new Entoforms! And… they are huuuge! Nine centimetres doesn’t seem like much when you see the number in the computer… but wow… big!
See the media page for some more new pictures (they were added to the press package as well).
Sadly I found out today that the new drill bits I’ve been waiting for were sent to the wrong address. So this evening I have to go check to see if the Italian restaurant on the corner has them… or threw them out. As soon as those are in I can start mounting all these lovely new critters!
Photos, Eyes, and Families
June 7, 2011Even though not that much time has elapsed since the previous post, a lot has happened.
- I grew Generation 0041, 0042, and 0043, and uploaded them to youtube.
- Generation 0041 had better limitation of the number of grown limbs.
- Generation 0042 has better eyes, and ridges returned (not seen since the days of albino Entoforms).
- Generation 0043 has much stronger family ties… you can now actually see the resemblance between all the family members.
- I also recieved the first batch of black insect boxes. They look much nicer than the wooden ones with the coloured critters in them.
- I broke my 0.5mm drill bit and ordered new ones. I’m waiting for those to arrive so I can properly mount the latest series of Entoforms in the new boxes.
- I bought 2 electric drills, only to find out that the first had the wrong adapter, and the second can’t handle drills as small as I need them. So I’m hoping the crowdfunding campaign raises enough money to purchase a new dremel drill soon!
- An article about the entoforms appeared on: vinylpulse.com
- Another article was announced but has not been published yet.
- Three of my latest Entoforms had trouble in the printing process… so now I decided to only publish critters in the catalogue that can actually be printed and ordered. This means it’ll take a bit longer than before before I share the final designs… but at least you know they are all available for actual print.
- And… I added a media page and downloadable zipped press package.
May 29, 2011
Finally I got around to making Entoforms grow eyes! At the same time I also started optimising a lot of the code… slowly it’s evolving into something that doesn’t just “work” but also works properly. The colours are wrong… some have become rainbow creatures… which is kind of nice… except… that they weren’t supposed to
I have to say thank you to Hamed Zaghaghi for being the first person to submit a patch to me for improving my code. He made my scripts work better for people who don’t exactly have my setup.
I will see about uploading a few of the new models soon. Also… I should be getting some new/nice “insect boxes” tomorrow. I’ll take photos as soon as I mounted the entoforms in them.
The next generation
May 25, 2011After almost a month I finally got around to growing a new generation, and I have to say… this was a tough delivery. It feels as if there was some sort of ‘Mass extinction event’… evolution took a step back, sideways… then moved in a different direction altogether.
Somehow the system became a lot slower… thus I spent a day or two finding ways to make everything a lot faster. In the end… I made the system nearly 5X quicker!!! This saves me 24hrs for every generation I grow from here on. So that’s definitely been worth it! It does mean I had to change the way colours are implemented, and I had to temporarily ditch creases. For those who are interested… the big time saving was in no longer switching to and from ‘edit mode’ in Blender a lot… that takes too much time.
Just for fun, here’s what’s involved in bringing a generation to you.
- Improve scripts to ready for the next step in evolotion (can be a lot of work, can be quick)
- Start the system, then wait for at least 6hrs for the new Entoforms to grow (usually whilst I’m in bed)
- Check results…
- Create a video from the result
- Upload video to youtube
- Pick Entoforms for 3D printing, and catalogue
- Name the Entoforms using some creativity and Google Translate (I don’t speak Latin)
- UV unwrap Entoform
- Bake the vertex colours to a 4096 x 4096 pixels image texture (no anti alias that’s why it’s so big)
- Open image texture in Gimp to set background colour and resize to a smooth 2048 x 2048 pixels (correct gamma if blender did it wrong).
- Scale the model to a correct relative printable size
- Fix wall thickness using the solidify modifier (new trick)
- Apply a subsurf modifier
- Convert quads to tris
- Open in old (2.49b) blender version for export to vrml
- Open the vrml in accutrans to reassign the uv image texture and resave as vrlm (97), because the export from Blender isn’t liked by 3d printers
- Open the vrml in a text editor to manually set the image texture path (needs to be relative, and accutrans doesn’t do this nicely)
- Pack the image texture and vrml in a .zip
- Upload .zip to shapeways.com
- Render a turntable sequence of the model inBlender
- Run a python script to make one neat turntable image from the 144 tiles
- Convert the turntable to jpg using irfanview
- Pick a tile, resize it, and also convert using irfanview for a thumbnail
- Upload thumbnail and turntable to catalogue
- Upload turntable to Google Picasa
- Add model to a clean blend file with license
- Find the frame with this model from the original animation
- Convert frame to correct size & jpg file format
- Upload clean blend and image to catalogue
- Upload clean blend and image to Blendswap.com
- Add family to entoforms.com database
- Add palette to database
- Add Entoform to database
As you can see there’s quite a few steps involved in getting these out… And this is just the work that takes place after they have been created. The big job is writing the scripts to grow the Entoforms.
May 22, 2011
Today I created an SVN repository at code.google.com. SVN is short for Subversion, which is a system to do “version management”. It allows me to keep track of all the changes I am making to the programs. It makes it safer for me, because it’s not only stored on my own computer, and now I can also go “back in time” in case I make a mistake.
A nice second benefit is that I can share everything with all of you whilst I am working on it. A lot of things are unstable right now, but feel free to download/have a look, play around and let me think what you know!
The repository can be found here: http://code.google.com/p/entoforms/
May 19, 2011Go have a look at http://generativemodelingproject.blogspot.com/
Shigeto Maeda is working on his ‘Entoforms inspired’ Generative modelling project, and he is really getting somewhere! I’m honoured to help him out with little code hints from time to time. Seeing him progress is just amazing!
Here’s a few more websites/artists that I came across looking into “insect” related art… Sadly most stuff is quite retro/steampunk, where that isn’t what I’m aiming for at all, but it’s fun, and inspiring none the less!
- http://www.arthrobots.com/ (bugs made from bullets)
- http://www.myspace.com/linkleisure (cool art, a few bugs)
- http://www.otherist.com/ (cabinet of curiosities)
- http://www.angelovermeulen.net/?page_id=152 (Angelo Vermeulen’s corrupted roaches)
- http://www.insectlabstudio.com/ (Mike Libby’s awesome steampunked insects)
Around the web
May 19, 2011
Since the campaign started last friday, the Entoforms have been spreading all over the web! Thank you everyone for posting links. Here is a short list with a few places they appeared.
- A banner was placed on http://graphicall.org/
- A banner was placed on the forum at http://blenderartists.org/forum/
- An article appeared on http://www.blendernation.com/
- An article appeared on http://blog.thingiverse.com/
- The models were posted on http://www.blendswap.com/
- The models were posted on http://www.thingiverse.com/
And of course, lots of people mentioned Entoforms on facebook and twitter! Thank you all ever so much, and… keep it up!
BTW, not to forget… The first Campaign donations are in! I am really excited, and incredibly thankful, I’ll make sure the funders get something special in return!
The campaign has started!
May 16, 2011
I started a crowdfunding campaign! You can get your very own Entoform.
Spread the word!
Thank you all ever so much!
First coloured Entoform arrived!
May 5, 2011
This morning the stork delivered a brand new little coloured Entoform. It has a couple of siblings in white and “alumide”, but I dare say… wow… colour is great! I’m calling it: Nuntius Certior. It shows me that this is definitely the way forward. More exciting news is on it’s way in the next couple of days, but for now… awesome!
April 16, 2011
I took all day yesterday refining the look and feel of the renders. Thanks to David Revoy I found a really nice font (Birdman Bold). And he reminded me that my screen is a bit too bright… but then nearly everyone has that.
Also I fixed an issue with colour palette selection. The previous series had only 2 palettes because of a stupid bug… So that’s yet another fix. I changed the closing titles as well… added some logos for the websites I’m getting stuff from.
April 15, 2011
I spent rather a large chunk of yesterday working on legs… figuring out why they disappeared mostly. But now, I’m happy to report their return. Apparently the legs were not the problem. I’m growing three main bodyparts Head/Body/Tail. The tail was using up so much of the body that there simply was no more surface left for the legs to grow out of.
That was all due to the optimisations I did a few days ago. Tweaking and finding the cause of little issues like this is eating a lot of time… like now… this species is very very red… which is cool, but I don’t quite know why… Let’s go find out!
April 14, 2011
After getting the renders to visually work the way I wanted… I spent some time making the settings for generating Entoforms a bit more “automatic” using less presets. As you can see the result is more defined legs, but also some missing legs. By the way… yes I didn’t post a ‘species’… I’ve been advancing rather a lot these last days.
I need to now see why a bunch are missing legs… and I want to see if Ican make legs “intersect” less… then bring back bulges/ridges and eyes!
April 13, 2011
I made some big changes to the way I have been rendering. I really wanted to use the Freestyle renderer to get a more “drawn” look, but it was crashing on some Entoforms. So I hacked a nasty workaround into my scripts, and learned some new tricks. In stead of just generating a creature, and then rendering an image of it… my scripts now do something different.
- Generate an Entoform
- Save the form to a blender file
- Start a completely new unrelated “instance” of blender
- In that instance open the file and render/save an image of the Entoform
The result is rather a big performance boost! Because the script that generates the Entoforms does not have to wait for rendering to start growing the next version.
Also… the crashes I was getting have already been fixed by the Freestyle people! So… awesome… speed boost, and no more manual fixing! Thank you T.K. for the fix and paulhart2 for the fresh windows build!
April 12, 2011
At long last development is really gearing up for big advances. I was unhappy with the colours I was getting for the previous species. I was generating them fully automagically… which is nice, but the results were simply not good enough.
I decided I was missing the human eye… so after a bit of browsing I found Adobe’s Kula website where people can create and share colour palettes. It is a nice system… and… most important, it has RSS feeds with lots of colour palettes. So I wrote a python program that can retrieve them for me.
April 11, 2011
This is the very first full series of coloured Entoforms! Sadly the Freestyle Blender module kept crashing… so I’m not using the sketchy technique I wanted… but it’s a good start. I want to work more on making the colours less ‘faded’, and getting better palettes from the web.
Square quads ftw
April 5, 2011
It’s been a little while since I updated… for which there are two main reasons.
1. Nicholas Bishop! Yeah… him… hehe. He has been working on a new modifier in Blender called the “Skin modifier“! It looks like it could make my scripts way way simpler! So I played with his modifier quite a bit for a week or two. It’s awesome! But… though it would be simpler for me to base my code around his modifier, it would give me less control in the end. So I decided to stick to my own code, and ignore his developments for now.
2. I had the flu! Yeah… flu… bah… but I’m pretty much all better now.
Square is nice!
So yesterday I spent most of the day working on something I wanted to change… and it’s all about topology. My script already creates a quad only mesh, but a lot of those quads were rectangular. Which is no real problem… but all squares would be neater. So I figured out a way to do that… the end result is… squarer quads, but less exact measurements.
This means that if I’m growing a leg that’s 10 units long… I no longer say… “Well I’ll do it in 5 steps, so each step has to be 2 long”… no in stead I’ll say… “I’m growing a leg that’s 10 units long… one square extruded step is 1.5 long… so I’ll grow 6 steps, and end up with an almost 10 long leg”. Or that’s the general idea.
I also decided to give freestyle rendering a chance… It’s working nice, and only took me a day to get some nice results… though… I need to change my renders a bit… No problem.. I want to try generating Entoforms with colour anyway, so… that should improve my renders automagicly.
Here’s my latest test
Four new creatures!
March 11, 2011
I got home last night to find a message from UPS saying that they left a package for me at the print shop next door… the 3D stork delivered four new Entoform prints… I’m keeping them in plastic until I have the “insect boxes” for them… then I will go ahead and mount them… I’m extremely happy, they turned out beautiful!
February 26, 2011
Just a small update… I am now forcing the script to not just make a head & body, but also to add a “tail section”… which insects all have.. or in their case you might call it the “hind quarters”? The next 3 prints have been ordered so I have a bit more time to adjust results before ordering more..
Currently I’m looking for exhibition options.
Finished the first
February 24, 2011
So at long last, after being on this project for over a month now… here’s the very first proper result… or at least… Here’s what I had in mind all along!
That does not mean it’s over of course… there’s more to come! It’s only the beginning!
small smaller tiny
February 24, 2011
So… yesterday after I got my first printed Entoform I tried to pierce it with an insect pin… to no avail. The material is far too hard. I tried heating the pin with a lighter, but it wouldn’t keep the heat. Then this morning I had the bright idea of attaching the needle to a soldering iron… but… well… there was no neat way to do that.
Thus I went to a DIY store and asked them about tiny drills… the smallest bit they had was 1mm whilst the pin I want to use is 0.5mm… As I tried to explain my predicament to the shop owner he just looked at me cross-eyed as if I was missing a marble or two (admittedly I might at that).
So… I took the subway to a tiny shop all the way on the other side of town, a shop that sells things for people who make model airplanes and such… (http://www.quartel.nl). Here… well they still looked at me cross-eyed, but had exactly what I needed! A teeny tiny drill (see the screwdriver style thing in the picture) that you use by hand, and a set of teeny tiny bits that would give your dentist a serious case of drill envy… everything from 0.3 to 1.6mm…. soooo small!!!!
I’ve now drilled my first Entoform and it works absolutely perfectly… I can stick the pin through and it grips beautifully… Next I’ll have to see if I have a teeny tiny pen for the teeny tiny labels…
February 23, 2011
I received my first 2 printed Entoforms today! They came out gorgeous! Though, actually, I originally ordered 4 and two were rejected as “unprintable”… which is good too, because I’m still testing.
The big question now is… How to make a tiny hole in them for the “insect pin”??? I don’t really own anything that can do it neatly.
February 21, 2011
Progress is steady by now. I keep adding new features and creating creatures that look more and more like animals and less like blobs, or Sea Cucumbers… which is good…
Last Saturday the ever awesome Campbell Barton helped me set up Ubuntu, a debug blender build and sysprof on my system… the result of which is… a 10X faster running script! Actually the big improvement isn’t in my script but in the setup of the original blender scene that the script works on… awesome!!!
The latest improvement to the Entoform generator is the addition of “joints”. So now at the end of a “protuberance” another one can grow at a different angle.
Here are the latest 1440 creatures I’ve generated… next up… mouths or eyes!
February 13, 2011
Last Friday I went ahead and ordered my first batch of Entoforms from Shapeways. Also I ordered the nessecary Entomological supplies from Vermandel. And… wow… Vermandel is quick. Yesterday I received the package from them already!
As you can see I ordered a bunch of things.
- A box to present insects in (with a special board as background for pinning the bugs to)
- A little wooden block to make sure everything is always pinned at the right height (and the labels are spaced equally along the needle)
- Two types of needles (long and medium). Apparently the long ones are actually too long for the box… but I could cut them down if need be.
- And lastly a whole stack of preprinted labels. These take the name of the entoform/place of discovery/genus/date and so forth. I’m missing the red labels for the Holotype, but I’ll find them.
The labels are a whole study by themselves. The people at Naturalis told me all about them. A few basic bits of information should always be on there.
- Whose the sample is (in this case my name)
- The country/place where the creature is found (in my case ‘created’)
- The date the creature was found, and here you note it like 13 II 2011. The month is noted in “roman numerals” That way the imperial and metric people don’t get confused.
- Then you may want to add a red label for the Holotype. The Holotype is the creature that “defines” the type. If you want to know if an animal is of a certain species… you compare it to the Holotype.
- In the past creatures found in the Netherlands were labeled with a green label.
- Vermandel also has labels just to show whether the creature is male or female. I don’t really need that I think, but it’s fun/cheap so I ordered them too.
The one thing I have to check still is the paper of the labels that I got. The scientists use paper based on Cotton in stead of wood because it lasts much longer. I’m not sure which I’ve got… I’ll have to ask.
I should be getting the first Entoforms in a week at most… I can’t wait!!!
February 10, 2011
Oh boy… no, nothing wrong… I just realised I’m spending far far too much time fixing code. So… I’ve spent a day or two writing code that can generate lots of Entoforms for me.
Last week I was invited to Naturalis in Leiden. They have a huge scientific collection of Insects, which is perfect for rerence for me. It is very rare for artists to be invited there… I am ever so grateful.. I was an amazing experience.
But now… this is where I’m at!
Movement has it’s consequences.
February 3, 2011
I’ve done a lot of work this last week. Fixed many a bug… and made a few new ones as well! The biggest issue I think I solved was “overdone randomness”. It was far too easy to generate crazy, ugly, wonky creatures. I had to keep a very close eye on the dna going in.
This is now solved. You can now enter pretty much any text you want. And a big difference with earlier creatures… Now you always get a Head/Body and something poking out of the side. More on the way!
It’s alive! Well… nearly
January 28, 2011
Here’s an example of the current state of the project. Slowly but surely I’m moving into the realm of “making something cool”. There’s still lots of bugs in my code, but in this case I do not mind at all. I’m hoping I can get some more results out of the system today. At least I got the rendertime down to a very reasonable 4s a frame!
January 5, 2011
After spending a week writing code, and experimenting I am starting to get some results. There are two videos below here. The first is a very early experiment for which I no longer have the files. The second is starting to get interesting…
About the project
January 5, 2011
Entoforms are a concept I have been thinking about for a while. The name Entoform is based on the Greek word “Entomon”, which means “insect”. The study of insects is called “Entomology”.
Part of the concept is the experimentation with new technology. In the latest versions of Blender 3D you can use python scripting to emulate manual modelling (creation of shapes). Because of this I had the idea that in stead of coming up with a shape myself, and then figuring out how to make it. In stead I can write a chunk of code that can grow me a shape based on something akin to DNA.
On the job
I have currently spent a week on the project and have a basic working version of the code. It is highly experimental, and not really of much use to the public as a tool, but I am sure I can create a number of simpler tools based on this code that I can release to the Blender 3D community. Also a nice by-product of this project is that I can test the new code in Blender, and report the bugs I am sure I will run into. Very few people have been working with this technology so far.
Keeping track of progress
Part of the script is a function to create a sequence of images showing how the Entoform grows in 3D. I will use these to create videos which I’ll post on youtube and embed in posts here as well. For each post I will also attach the .blend file with the end result and the version of the script used to create the form.
The end result
My end goal is to exhibit 3D printed versions of the Entoforms. They will be presented as entomologists exhibit their subjects. I am really looking forward to experimenting more with 3D printing. I have been involved with the technology for a bit, but haven’t until now come up with a personal project that suits it.
More to come!