object to create a 3D image. The app’s
head developer has been in contact
with Harper about The Open Crowd
The technology even allows instances
where a person could enter something
similar to a photo booth, take a few
scans, and have a 3D model printed out.
Making mini models
Until then, creating each 3D print
takes Harper about six hours from
photographs to finished product.
The pictures are a little more
complicated than just point and shoot.
In order to digitally stitch the images
together to form a 3D model from
the waist up, Harper needs multiple
photographs from different angles. He
also needs markers to match up the
images when he digitally ties them
together, so pieces of masking tape are
placed at strategic parts of the body so
that images correspond.
After the 45 to 50 photographs are
scanned, Harper uses computer
software to manually join them
together and create a virtual image.
The digital stitching takes about two
Next Harper spends about an hour
refining and cleaning the scans to
make each individual detail stick out.
He fixes flyaway hairs and makes sure
shirt collars don’t blend into necks. He
defines the folds of a scarf and cleans
up a mustache. When he is satisfied
with the image, he sends it to a 3D
printer a little bit larger than a toaster
oven that sits in his studio.
For the next three hours, the printer
spins filament into hundreds of
miniscule layers that stack on top of
each other to create the 3D print.
Then voilá, a person emerges.
Most everyone has said it looks just like
them,” Harper said.
Moving beyond art
Harper has received support for this
research through a Summer Faculty
Fellowship for Research, a Grant-in-Aid
of Research, as well as an Individual
Artist Grant from the Indiana Arts
Commission. He hopes to continue
to apply for funding to be able to
incorporate this line of research into
the curriculum in the IU Southeast Fine
In fact, one of the most exciting aspects
of this project is the potential it holds
for student learning, Harper said.
It would be nice to incorporate this
technique into the curriculum,” he said.
The teaching ramifications are very
The 3D printing technology Harper is
using for The Open Crowd Project has
major objectives outside of art. Right
Want to see how a 3D model
comes to be? Watch
editor Erica Walsh go
through the process at youtube.
com/iusoutheast. You, too,
could have a 3D model made.
Check out our Pop Quiz on
page 37 – the winner receives
a session with Brian Harper to
create their own 3D print.
you can truly