As something of a tech-friendly art teacher, I immediately saw how these PLA (biodegradable plastic) filament models make great maquettes or scale models for students work on a larger scale perhaps using traditional materials and techniques. In much the same way that a photo can help a student as source imagery for a 2D work, a 3D model of an idea can assist in working out problems of form, shape and structure.

PLA material itself is not unpleasant in colour and takes opaque white acrylic paint really well – the surface is slightly rough to the touch. A more transparent yellow also worked satisfactorily – final piece quality? That’s another question for my next model – I’m thinking perhaps a mixed media piece with elements of 3D glue-gunned to the surface. Maybe a zombie graphic with 3D hand emerging out of the 2D surface.

My current Year 8 project is all about animation; what a great idea to design and make a mini 3D model of the character in order to see it from different angles or use it for stop motion. Here is an example Michelangelo’s David bust.

Finally, I’m also thinking how the 3D software could be used as a tool in itself – ‘glitch art’ style computer art worked into in photoshop then 3D printed and painted up or reconstructed to scale. Applying photoshop effects to get a painterly tiled image that could be applied to the 3D model. I am thinking in terms of tiled surfaces at the moment; perhaps a whole wall of hand painted 3D bas-relief tiles of each child in a year group.

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