Dec 092016

Otto Lilienthal, a German pioneer of aviation. Body sculpted by Phú Nguyễn.

I just finished sculpting two digital portraits for a museum exhihit on the history of flight. One is of Otto Lilienthal, a German inventor of a glider in late 1800s, and the other is of John Uptigrove, a contemporary Canadian designer of a very small helicopter.

Photo of Otto Lilienthal

Otto Lilienthal “was the first person to make well-documented, repeated, successful gliding flights. Newspapers and magazines published photographs of Lilienthal gliding, favorably influencing public and scientific opinion about the possibility of flying machines becoming practical.”

My portrait sculpture of Lilienthal

The challenge mainly lay within the scarcity of reference photos of both characters. The vastly different moments when the photos were taken, where the character in question sometimes looked like completely different individuals, posed another problem for the artist to resolve.

A tiny photo of John Uptigrove

Uptigrove in T-shirt and jeans. Body sculpted by Phú Nguyễn.

The allowed timeframe was fairly tight, and the sculpts were intended for 3D printed figurines, so my main focus was to hit the likeness as much as possible.

My portrait sculpture of Uptigrove

If you have a hero or heroine of whom you would love to have a 3D printed portrait sculpture, feel free to drop me a line.

Dec 072014
Image by Endless Forms Most Beautiful on Flickr, released under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.

Image by Endless Forms Most Beautiful on Flickr, released under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.

I just finished cleaning up a 3D scan of Mary’s head from the Pietà for a client. I had an opportunity to use a high-quality cold cast marble replica as reference, which was copied by the Reproduction Studio of the Metropolitan Museum of Art directly from the masterpiece in Rome. Taking a close look at the replica while fixing the 3D scan, it thrilled me to think about the strokes Michelangelo actually did when he carved the piece from a single block of Carrara marble in 1498.

Many transitional planes around Mary’s eyes, nose and cheeks are surprisingly subtle to me. The youthful delicacy on her face is historically questionable to art critics. As an artist, however, my main concern is that by fixing the photogrammetrical defects I learned new lessons about representing facial features, as well as the aesthetics of cloth design for sculpture.


Nov 012014
Image by Porsche997SBS, released under CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

I just finished a 3D scan cleanup of the Dancing Faun for a client. After detailing two horns and four acorns on his head, as well as his facial hair (a lot of them), together with his pubic hair, genital, tail, fingers and toes, overall I’m pretty happy with my attempts to bring the repaired version closer to the original in Pompeii. Kudos to the ancient master who sculpted this great piece.

Read the Wikipedia article about the Dancing Faun here.

%d bloggers like this: