6 years ago#1
heerpipsBig
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Lifecasting and traditional methods both have their places. Lifecasting is like photography in a way. Traditional clay and sweat is more like painting. When photography started it did not displace painting. Personally, I think traditional portraits have more 'life', if done correctly. Especially if you work with the final bronze in mind. You can do more with the reflected light by using textures.

If your client would like a lifecast portrait, which should be cheaper, by all means offer it. Do both, I do.

See this and the next three for some of my takes on lifecasting. I call them body ribbons.
http://www.whiteriverfoundry.com/fetching.htm

See this for sweat and clay portraits.
http://www.whiteriverfoundry.com/rachbust.html

As for the new scanners and stereo lithography, well,we'll just wait and see.

Mark Parmenter http://www.whiteriverfoundry.com

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6 years ago#2
Javid
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I've been a portrait sculptor for about a year and

[If what you are looking for is an exact replication of the subject's skin texture, then life casting is going to do a better job than any portraitist. But this is rarely what is called for in a portrait commission. Lifecasting isn't good at capturing the fleeting expressions which give a portrait life. Most lifecast faces have the expression you'd expect from someone getting their face covered with glop. While lifecasting is a good tool for some purposes, it's not a substitute for a good sculpted portrait bust, so relax.]

George Segal and others have been declared great

[As someone who uses lifecasting techniques quite a bit himself, I object to the dichotomy you are setting up between us and 'true' sculptors. Calling yourselves 'clay modelers' would be fine, however. It's true that the scanty amount of media attention devoted to sculpture no longer focuses exclusively on clay modelers, but that's because many interesting things are being done with other techniques- not to bring in the sensation-mongers who purposely target the media with their antics. Some sort of novelty of approach seems to bring more attention these days than classic techniques traditionally applied. Does that surprise you? Life-casting, like clay modeling, is just a technique, and should be chosen if it best fulfils a particular artistic purpose. ]

Now

[These machines are coming closer to producing 3d portrait likenesses with the fleeting expressions intact. I got a demonstration recently of a system (from 3dMetrics) that not only captured an excellent mesh from my face in a flash (hair is more of a problem) but surfaced it seamlessly with a photographic 'texture'. There are 4 and 5-axis milling machines, as well as additive Rapid Prototyping machines, that can faithfully reproduce this sort of mesh, although I don't know of any printers that work on 3d surfaces yet, to apply the photo to the actual object.

As for traditional figurative sculpture, it has been struggling with obsolescence for at least the last hundred years, and it seems to be doing fine. It is, after all, how people expect sculpture to look, and fulfilling people's expectations has always been the key to popular (if not 'high-art') success. If you crave the attention and praise of the art elite, then think of something new to do with this or any other technique, then sit back and wait to be 'discovered'.]

Andrew Werby

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6 years ago#3
bgall
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Thank you Cathy - that's exactly what I was thinking!

The arrogance of our age is that we think we can reproduce the beauty of nature and man, in fact we are as far away as we ever have been. Think about some of the most beautiful, moving sights in the world - a body of water, fire or candlelight, summer breeze, a baby's chuckle, a knowing glance, an ornamental flower, an autumn tree - all of these things and many, many more cannot be molded, cast, scanned, digitized or copied. Yet these are among the most common 'things' or sensations on this planet! It is up to the imagination of the artist to capture the look and feel objects, technique will always play, at best, a supporting role.

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6 years ago#4
Woody-
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I have done both lifecasting and the usual plain figure modeling. My traditional training has left me with an undeniable feeling that lifecasting is a little like cheating. This is nothing more than a bias, I realize, a holdover from my apprenticeship with conservative old geezers. But this feeling covers more than just pulling molds off of people. My mentors would have derided me for using any found object in a modeled work, like, say, using a real stick in a sculpture rather than sculpting the stick myself. Their posiiton was that in using objects this way the artist surrenders absolute control of the work. Like draping a cloth over a figure and stiffening it with glue, rather than creating a drapery wherein the sculptor controls the precise movement and composition. Their other complaint would be that in taking a life cast you are copying what is not so good about the figure along with what might be good about it. Not to mention that the weight of the mold will deform and distort the figure so that it will not be as accurate as a skilled sculptor can achieve thru strict modeling. Of course, they were trying to teach me technique and composition.

In a more modern sense- I have to say that I have played with scanning figures and outputting them in foam or wax and that I find this far more rewarding than lifecasting. First- there is no distortion of the figure by any mold material- even clothing and be accurately reproduced. But more important to me is the SCALING that this process makes possible. I can scan in a portion of a figure and output it accurately at any size I choose. I can also modify the scanned model inthe computer in any way I like and output the result. This makes the concept of lifecasting far more interesting and seem far less like 'cheating' to me somehow. Perhaps because it introduces far more control.

The newest generation of haptic devices will make a tremendous leap forward possible, harnessing traditional modelingskills in the virtual realm.

Christopher

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6 years ago#5
cihtingdf
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Thanks from me too, Cathy. I would take this to the next point and add, 'and then it's about transcribing reality in your own handwriting'.

I look at some of Segal's works and am overall left with the impression that while I admire the hard work and craftsmanship, I would not want to live with any of the figures I've seen so far. The emotional resonance they offer is one-note (to me), and does not work on the deeper levels of interplay that I want from a piece of art in my home environment. I see his pieces working fine in a corporate setting, or a public space where the viewer has but seconds or moments to contemplate, gets the reward offered (of the recognition each offers) and then moves on. I see his 'art' as more the choice he's made in what person and pose to work with. After that, it's high craft.

Caris www.lightcatcher.com

'It's a drum and arms waving. It's a bonfire at midnight on the top edge of a hill, this meeting here with you.' Rumi

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6 years ago#6
pranzo
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Christopher

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6 years ago#7
Rayven
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I found out the lucky way that it is possible, though not necessarily advisable to do open eyes in alginate. One of my volunteer models somehow lost track of what he was doing, and opened his eyes after I'd gooped him up. When the mask came off, he did complain that his eyes were tearing a lot, but they weren't red, and he swore up and down that he hadn't opened them (until he saw the cast). They opened rather unevenly, and the effect is spooky.

A used book (pub date ~1954) going into enormous detail on medical casting talks about how to do open eyes as well. The best technology he had was agar moulage, but alginate was on the technological horizon. Apparently, if you're good enough, and the goop is thick enough, you can either: - work right up to the edge of the eyelid, but not drop crud *in* the eye. - get a friendly doctor (remember, he's doing medical imaging) to put appropriate numbing-wetting-whatever soloution in for you. He also has a comment that _implies_ he eventually did the numbing thing himself, but only when he wanted to get an image of some defect on the surface of the eye.

I did a bit of looking into what's in those isotonic emergency eyewash solutions with an eye (pun intended) to mixing an appropriately salty water with the alginate, but have not really wanted to do enough research to convince myself that I'd not damage myself.

References, pics, on request.

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6 years ago#8
Chant Dhames
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Michael Gainer wrote

Requesting pix.

Thanks,

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6 years ago#9
etocaj
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<< I wanted the surface without the tiny little lines and cracks that are invisible in transluscent flesh but glaringly visible in plaster, bronze or resin. >>

There is a local artist who has done a bunch of pieces that surface now and then in art shows here. They are mostly torso and head pieces, which he paints 'realistically'. They are the creepiest thing you ever saw. Like Christopher says, all the tiniest lines in the skin are there, making the youngest person look like they have a strange fragile reptile skin disease. Ick! And the poses are less than interesting. And then, when I move past being creeped out, all I find myself doing is evaluating the body type, rather than enjoying the form. So if you do this type of work, pay attention to the details, large and small. Caris www.lightcatcher.com

'It's a drum and arms waving. It's a bonfire at midnight on the top edge of a hill, this meeting here with you.' Rumi

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