NAME: Fine art 3D printing
AUTHOR: Tim Zaman, a researcher of the Delft University of technology, in collaboration with Océ, a company part of the Canon group specializing in professional printing technologies.
DESCRIPTION: Some people might wonder why 3D printing should be involved in the reproduction of paintings but anyone who has ever see up close a painting by Rembrandt will understand that the texture of the artwork is almost as important as its colors. Since texture implies depth, 3D scanning and subsequently 3D printing are the go-to technologies to achieve an accurate reproduction of painted pieces. Tim Zanan invented a simple method that can capture in a very high resolution the depth and color of a painting. Made of two cameras and a fringe projection, the system can capture 40 million points per shot. The 3D scan of Rembrandt’s The Jewish Bride contains 1 billion points making the visualization of the data on a computer screen virtually impossible. The best way to visualize it is to print it using Océ’s Fine Art 3D printer. In a few hours the copy of the painting with a resolution of 50 microns is completed.
AMUSEMENT RATE: The 3D scanning technology developed by Zanan could have multiple applications. It could help the restoration of a painting. There is also the obvious commercial use: cheap copies of famous paintings sold at museum’s gift shops around the world. No need to start a heated debate about the end of authenticity in art quite yet. If the combination of the 3D scan and Fine Art 3D printer do reproduce the artwork’s depth and color with great fidelity, the system is not yet capable of copying the transparency and glossiness of the original painting. We have a few years left before every body have exact replicas of the Mona Lisa in their living room.