Autodesk makes software for people who make the man-made world. If you've ever driven a high-performance car, admired a towering skyscraper, used a smartphone, or watched a blockbuster film, chances are you've experienced what millions of Autodesk customers are doing with our software. Autodesk gives you the power to make anything, but some segments of the general public are not yet aware of that. About 11 years ago, we had the CTO from the White House visit Autodesk to talk about the government's role in technology that is used to design and make things. He noted that our products and services were great, but nobody knew who we were. The gallery is one of the ways that we are working to change that.
The Autodesk Gallery at One Market in San Francisco celebrates design — the process of taking a great idea and turning it into a reality. With about 60 different exhibits regularly on display that showcase the innovative work of Autodesk customers, the gallery illustrates the role technology plays in great design and engineering. Autodesk Gallery Ambassadors conduct gallery tours as a sideline to their day jobs. The tours provide ambassadors with opportunities to practice public speaking in front of small groups. Autodesk Gallery Curator, Jason Medal-Katz, chose the title, ambassador, instead of docent because the correct way to address an ambassador is "your Excellency." Alas, this never happens.
The Making A Cardboard Head exhibit is one that you can see on the 2nd floor of our One Market office in San Francisco. It features the son (Willie) of one of our CEO-emeritus and current Autodesk Board member, Carl Bass. Willie is all grown up at college now, but this exhibit was created during his early teenage years.
- Carl Bass // more
- Willie Bass
Using Autodesk technology, making a cardboard head can be done in a few steps.
Take Some Pictures
Photogrammetry is the process of converting 2D images to a 3D model. Autodesk's initial interest in photogrammetry began when renovation projects, that lacked original AutoCAD drawings or Revit models, had to begin from scratch. Rather than have to model the as-built structures, we asked a simple question "Wouldn't it be nice if customers could take pictures of the space to be renovated, and we could generate a model from them?" Once we could make models from pictures, lots of other uses emerged. In this case, a person's head can be done using the same process that one would use for a room or object. Willie sat still while Carl took about 50 pictures of him from various angles, making sure to get coverage of 360 degrees.
Convert the Pictures to a 3D Model using Photogrammetry
Recap Photo, a feature of Autodesk ReCap Pro, uses cloud computing to analyze the pixels in a set of pictures, line them up, and create a 3D model.
Convert the Model to NURBS
Recap Photo (part Autodesk ReCap Pro) uses cloud computing to analyze the pixels in a set of pictures, line them up, and create a 3D model. The data from starts out much like a point cloud but the points get connected to form a mesh. The mesh is can then be converted to a NURBS surface. NURBS surfaces are a much more compact way of defining a curved surface instead of tessellation (set of polygons) and a much more accurate way as well. NURBS, short for non-uniform, rational B-splines, is a mathematical model commonly used in computer graphics for generating and representing curves and surfaces.
Output the Model a Slice at a Time
Slicer for Autodesk Fusion 360 is a tool to turn digital 3D models into appealing artifacts. It slices and converts 3D models into 2D patterns that can be cut out of any flat material. Slicer for Fusion 360 also creates 3D instructions users can interact with, to help them build the artifact. In this case, the 3D model of Willie's head was output as ~150 cardboard sheets.
Assemble the Slices
The cardboard sheets are perforated. The exhibit designer simply punched out the pieces, stacked and glued them together, and viola, a cardboard model of Willie's head was the result.
The eyes are LEDs connected to a motion sensor. When we plug the exhibit into an outlet, they light up as visitors approach. In keeping with our sustainability initiatives, we only do this on special occasions.
Thanks to the Autodesk Gallery team for the descriptive text for this blog post.
Autodesk has always been an automation company, and today more than ever that means helping people make more things, better things, with less; more and better in terms of increasing efficiency, performance, quality, and innovation; less in terms of time, resources, and negative impacts (e.g., social, environmental). Photogrammetry and slicing are two technologies that help our customers do more and better with less.
The Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco is open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is a guided tour on Wednesdays at 12:30 pm and a self-guided audio tour available anytime. Admission is free. Visit us.
Digital sculpting is alive in the lab.