Head of the Head (part 1 of 2)

In the interests of developing a beautiful product and maybe progressing a cringe-worthy pun, I hit on the idea of ‘The Head of the Head’. To produce a sculpture portrait for the local head-master. Principal Jim Cahill of Williamstown North Primary School. The primary school is located in West Melbourne, a rather lovely, if busy, place.

Jim kindly agreed to sitting, for the initial scan, managing to free 30 minutes out of his busy schedule. I came to the school; scanner in my backpack, and was shown into the meeting room. Jim had expressed a concern with the brightness of the scanner light. Although within an acceptable, medically defined, range; this was a perfectly reasonable reservation for which I used medical grade professional eyeshields. Resulting in a somewhat bug-eyed initial scan.

‘Head of the Head’, initial scan point-cloud

‘Head of the Head’, initial scan point-cloud

The scan took less than 5 minutes.

From this initial acquisition I could begin the sculpt, in preparation for printing. The aim was to create a full head to be printed as one piece. This includes hair; and what parts of the head might be showing through. Unfortunately 3D scanning is an optical process and hair, scattering the light, does not capture well. The hair required to be subsequently created and defined within the modelling environment.

An interesting point to note here is that hair in the sculpture requires more volume than in real-life to appear real-life-like. If that makes sense? It is a property of the solid object that the boundaries are defined by the edge of the material but with hair being made up of numerous strands with empty space, the edge of one’s hairdo is an approximate region. The task of the sculpture is to allude to this perceived volume, using solid materials.

‘Head of the Head’, initial capture rear-view solid

‘Head of the Head’, initial capture rear-view solid

The 3D object was them sculpted within the 3D environment using virtual tools much akin to those of the real world sculptor but with the distinct advantages of the effortless addition and removal, not to mention ‘undo’!

‘Head of the Head’, sculpted virtual metallic render

‘Head of the Head’, sculpted virtual metallic render

This process is surprisingly quick, as many of the tricky parts have been performed by the scan; texture, proportion and volume remain largely intact. Eyes, and the aforementioned hair were modelled and defined entirely in the virtual environment.

The process of production and finishing I’ll describe in part 2 (to be published soon).