Scenic design companies and artists often face numerous challenges when creating permanent and seasonal sculptures. Not only must they have the creativity to take a clients design concept and capture it in a physical form, but also have the necessary tools and materials to create an accurate and fit for purpose design.
For over 15 years Delcam, a leading developer of Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing (CADCAM) software, has been providing software to meet these needs through its close relationship with its customers and leading industry specialists. ArtCAM 2010, Delcam’s latest release of the software range, has been designed to dramatically improve the development of themed environments, whether they are for retail displays, corporate events and foam props for motion pictures / theatrical productions or more permanent features such as theme and leisure park sculptures.
ArtCAM gives the artist the freedom to choose how they want to design. If they prefer they can begin by hand sculpting a maquette which is then scanned using a 3D laser scanner. This data is then imported directly into ArtCAM reproducing the models exact proportions, which can then be scaled up or down accordingly. This alone saves considerable time in comparison with more inaccurate enlargement methods such as the pointing process.
Alternatively if the artist prefers to design in a familiar CAD package, such as Poser, Maya or Z-Brush, for example, the data can be imported directly into ArtCAM. ArtCAM also allows the artist to import scanned design sketches as well as intricate modelling directly within the software.
Working in the 3D view, the artist can take any 2D artwork and begin adding height and shape to areas of the design by simply clicking a specific colour from the bitmap image or selecting a vector boundary directly in the 3D view. The results are instantly visible on their screen. To aid the design process the user interface of ArtCAM 2010 can be customised to hide unused tools and create shortcuts for frequently used commands, creating a larger design space on the screen.
The designer can then add embellishments or further detail to their model by using ArtCAM’s advanced sculpting tools. These tools can not only add and remove material using adjustable sized tools with variable strength but have also been developed to replicate traditional sculpting methods. For example, using a Wacom tablet the more pressure applied by the pen to the tablet the more material is taken away.
To gain approval of the commissioned artwork ArtCAM’s 3D PDF viewer becomes invaluable. This embeds a dynamically viewable 3D model of the final design in an industry-standard and printable document that can then be e-mailed to the customer.
Once approved, the user can then prepare the model for production by employing ArtCAM’s powerful toolpath strategies to machine the sculpture in its entirety using rotary machining or use ArtCAM’s ‘Relief Slicer’ tool to divide the model into manageable parts for CNC milling with their foam router or RP machining.
In addition to ArtCAM’s array of effective toolpath strategies to quickly and accurately machine the models, Delcam has now also incorporated a great deal of technology from its industry leading CAM system, PowerMill into ArtCAM 2010. This has enabled even faster calculation times thanks to the inclusion of the latest multi-threading technology.
Prior to machining the designer then has the opportunity to review their model and the tools they have selected to machine it with ArtCAM’s new and improved toolpath simulation, which will save them both time and potential material wastage.
If you would like to find out more about ArtCAM 2010 why not attend one of the free online demonstrations taking place on the 18th of February 2010. For more information please go to:
If you cannot attend the demonstration or would like to find out more prior to the event please go to: www.artcam.com or www.delcam.com for more information on 4 and 5 axis machining solutions.
Images above were created by ArtCAM customer, Andy Freeman. The tablet was made for the "Night at the Museum Battle of the Smithsonian" featuring Ben Stiller.