Why Design Matters More Now Than Ever Before


3DTeacher-Icon2_thumb_thumbMy coordinator just sent me a recent article from WIRED magazine, “Why Design Matters More Now Than Ever Before”.  Does it matter?  I have been saying for years, and now it seems as if everyone is starting to catch on.  DESIGN IS LIFE!!!!   ~Cornell

  In fact, there's never been a better time to be a designer. Every day, powerful new tools and technologies put new opportunities at our fingertips. The designer's toolkit is ever-expanding, and contemporary advances in manufacturing, prototyping, and production have enabled nothing less than a modern renaissance in all forms of design, from industrial to graphic. ~Scott Dadich WIRED

The article also mention the recent conference, which I should have gone to, “WIRED by Design”  I will be there next year!  Looking at the list of speakers  . . .  they represent everything I teach aside from the foods.  Very Cool!!!  I will post video footage when it . . . 

WxD: Design Is Life from Wired By Design on Vimeo.

SCI-FI Air Show


3DTeacher-Icon2_thumb_thumbI grew-up watching the effects created by Bill George.  He is known for his visual effects work on Star Wars: Episode VI - The Return of the Jedi (1983), Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006). He was a model maker through out the 80’s and physical models were slowly was replaced by CG work, he took the role of visual effects supervisor and art director where he continues to work today.

I just recently came across this WIRED interview about Georges’ Sci-Fi Airshow.  Check it out! ~CornellSCI-FI_AIRSHOW


The SCI-FI AIR SHOW’s purpose is to preserve and promote the rich and varied history of Sci-Fi/fantasy vehicles. Through display and education we seek to celebrate the classic design and beauty of these ships and the rich imaginations that created them. When the cameras stopped rolling, many of these proud old ships were lost and forgotten. Please join us in working to keep these rare and beautiful birds soaring!

Here is Bill Georges WIRED interview for the Sci-Fi Airshow. 

World's First 3D-Printed Car?


Hmmm, the worlds first 3d printed car?  The first thing I think is, the 3d printer has revolutionized prototyping, it is true.  It puts prototyping in the hands of the ‘garage designers / inventors’ a total Game changer.  And now, large-scale printing houses and cars?  So Cool!!!  Now will we ever get to the point where this is practical for actual product production – meaning economical option?  I have seen 3d printed bikes and they were very delicate and not great for actual use.  For prototyping, we are there, but for production we have a ways to go.  Either way, new uses for 3d printers are reveled everyday and the direction we are going is just awesome!!! ~Cornell

Watch this CNN Video.




The 3D Printed Car (a.k.a. Direct Digital Manufacturing) – Project Brief

Futuristic drive: Step inside a 3D printed car

By Teo Kermeliotis, for CNN

updated 9:42 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014 |

(CNN) -- It seats two people, has a sleek retractable roof and runs on electric power. And its body can be 3D printed in a single piece.

Meet the Strati, the concept vehicle that was selected from more than 200 entries as the winner of the 3D Printed Car Design Challenge -- back in mid-April, US-based company Local Motors invited designers from around the world to submit their concepts for a car that can be manufactured using 3D printing.

Developed by Italian designer Michele Anoe, the Strati will now  < < MORE > >

What are Your Students Working on this Summer? Check out Emka’s Work (15 Years old)


Inspire your students . . .  Check out Emka Kluńćovska’s latest work.  She is a 15 year old artist from Slovakia and is self taught.  Some say she is a prodigy, I don’t think that term really applies here.  Well it all depends on how you define prodigy, I guess.  Emka works really hard and she is very talented!  She has be drawing since she was 2 years old, that is over 13 years.  How many hours a day do you draw?  How bad do you want it?   She wants it and all those years sketching  paid off.   I talk with my students all the time and tell them that being able to draw is not something you are born with; it is a skill AND YOU CAN LEARN IT!   So if you want it, get to work! ~Cornell




And now she is becoming a digital sculptor working with zBrush . . .  it will be great to see where her hard work takes her . . .


""5.80 Metros" . . . Very Cool!!!


"5.80 Metros" is an animated short film by Nicolas Deveaux, produced by Cube Creative et Orange. An imaginative video in which a team of giraffes practice professional dive from platforms high, demonstrating the grace of these animals.  http://www.cube-creative.fr/

Honda : Super Ultra Daydreams & 3D Printing


3DTeacher-Icon2Check out Honda: Super Ultra Daydreams, it is a short video which explores the history of their concept designs from the 90’s to present as well as a website that allows you interactively navigate the 3d designs online.  Honda also made these designs available in a downloadable 3d format, where you can either print them out on your 3D printer or ‘reimagine’ your own design.  It is a cool idea and it is interesting to see their concepts over the years.   Check out the site and try printing few out, I plan on printing the set for a classroom demonstration.  ~Cornell   

“If your basic idea is strong, developing a new technology isn’t that hard. Technology is simply the end product. The idea from which it springs is what really matters.” ~Soichiro  Honda

FROM HONDA: At Honda, product development is driven from the bottom up, instead of from the top down. Why? Because we believe great inventions can spring from seemingly crazy ideas. That's why we actively encourage our engineers to come up with the most radically innovative Concept Cars they can imagine.

Over the years, we've showcased many of these vehicles at motor shows around the world. Now, to share the fun with everyone, we're making 3D design data for some of them available on the web. So you can download the designs, reimagine them according to your own personal vision, and share them with the world. Who knows? You may discover that you have what it takes to become the go-to car designer or engineer of tomorrow!

Thoughts from within Jim Henson - “The Red Book”


3DTeacher-Icon2When I was six years old, The Muppet Show premiered and was hooked right from the start.  I just grew out of the Sesame Street era and directly in to Jim Henson’s hands.  The show aired between 1976 until 1981 when I was eleven years old;  I was a true Muppet kid.  I am sure I even kept watching the reruns until they were off the air.  The Muppets definitely influenced my childhood.   I can’t even tell you how many sock puppets I made as a kid, way too many.  I even had a puppet making supply kit fully stocked with a variety of googly eyes and a bag full of old colored socks.  I wonder where they all ended up?

“I don't know exactly where ideas come from, but when I'm working well ideas just appear. I've heard other people say similar things - so it's one of the ways I know there's help and guidance out there. It's just a matter of our figuring out how to receive the ideas or information that are waiting to be heard.”  ― Jim Henson

Either way,  I just came across “The Red Book” which was a log that Henson started in 1977 and continued until the end in 1988.  He recorded his activities and his thoughts.   One of the entries was from 1970 where he was working on computer animation for Sesame Street.  Yea, I wrote that right, in 1970 he was doing computer animation – cutting edge stuff for that time.  As a creative you need to be an explorer, a risk-taker, and also learn from others creatives, the habits, environment, the community, and their thought process.  Even if you are in a completely different industry, these skills are completely transferable.  Check out Henson's thoughts…  ~ Cornell

9/10-12/1970 – ‘In Denver doing Computer Animation for Sesame #’s 10 and 4 – Second season of Sesame Street.’


Historical information provided by The Jim Henson Company Archivist:

Jim was always interested in the next technological advancement to further express his creative vision, so it’s not surprising that he would seek out the earliest innovations in computer animation. For the second season of Sesame Street, Jim was contracted to make a series of counting films using a range of techniques. Some were live action, some were made using stop-motion animation, Jim painted under the camera to bring other numbers to life, and he worked with Maurice Sendak to produce two traditionally animated films. For numbers 4 and 10, however, Jim was eager to try a new analog computer system called Scanimate. Invented by Lee Harrison III in the late 1960s and built by the Computer Image Corporation in Denver, the Scanimate process involved back-lit high-contrast artwork that was mounted on animation pegs and scanned by a progressive scan monochrome camera. According to Scanimate chronicler Dave Sieg, those working on this technology were, “…an interesting mix of technicians and creative geniuses that understood the subtleties of color and motion that gave the work its real value.”

It’s unclear how Jim learned about Scanimate, but he had been interested in electronics in general and had used his Moog synthesizer to great effect on numerous projects. His colleague, Jerry Juhl, was an early adapter of computers and would have been intrigued with the process as well. Jerry wrote the scripts for “Number 4” and “Number 10” which Jim recorded the week before going out to Denver. The system allowed for the animation to be created in real time which made for an efficient production process. Jim arrived with the audio tracks and detailed storyboards in hand, and was able to complete the visuals for the film in just three days. While visually unimpressive in the context of today’s digital graphics, Jim’s Scanimate work was cutting edge in 1970 and an example of how he was always leading the way in the world of visual media.

FROM: http://www.henson.com/jimsredbook/2011/09/910-121970/

AND you have to watch my favorite Muppet Show skit, “Manana“, 
which was the first skit shown on season 1, episode 1.

Ryan Trowbridge - 3D Math for Artists



Autodesk University puts on some great workshops!  As we are always looking for cross-curricular projects, watch “3D Math for Artists” by Ryan Trowbridge, it may give you a few ideas.  It also my be a way to push your higher end students.  It also will help them get a basic understanding on programming with Maya.   ~Cornell 


Ryan Trowbridge - 3D Math for Artists
The focus of this class is to teach artists what vectors are, how to manipulate them, and utilize 3d math within their python scripts. This class will cover the following:

- how simple it is to add, subtract and use multiplication to manipulate vectors
- describe how vectors are the basis for a matrix and how a matrix is less complex than it first appears.
- How Python can access the Maya API math classes MVector and MMatrix
- how these included classes make doing matrix multiplication easier and how it closely relates to doing vector math.

Hopefully with a handful of knowledge building blocks and several example Maya files, after taking this Master Class, artists will find it easier to dig into 3D Math.

3D Printing: The Hype vs. the Reality



Autodesk jumps into the 3D Printing industry . . . It is about time!  What does it mean?   Autodesk just introduced a new open source 3D printing platform, Spark.  They want to make it easier  for the end user to design and then print without all the in-between hassles.  Since historically they are a 3d software development company, they want to streamline the 3d printing processing by offering an open source platform with hope to push 3d printing to the next level.  The Spark platform will be open and freely licensable including their 3d printer design which will be made publicly available to allow for further development and experimentation.  I think it is a super smart move on their part because with the increased ease of 3d printing, there will be an increased demand for new designs, designers and more demand for their software.  Either way, Very Cool Autodesk!   ~Cornell

*Here is an recent Bloomberg TV interview with Autodesk CEO Carl Bass, 3D Printing: The Hype vs. the Reality.

What if M.C. Escher was A Game Designer?


There once was a princess that fell in love with geometry.


My father was one of the head graphics designers for Kodak, hence I was surrounded by illustrators, designers, photographers, and artists, while I was growing up.  I was always drawn to a few books in our family library, the works of  M.C. Escher and Salvador Dali.  Check out this geometric based video game, Monument Valley, that has a Escher influence.  Very Cool!  One of my students yelled out and said, “I love that game! It really hard, confusing, but allot of fun!”  Check out the trailer and the behind the scenes video.   It was also made with Unity, which is a free game. ~Cornell

Behind the Scenes - Monument Valley Game

 The Trailer . . .


Nanoscience 3D Simulation Using Autodesk Maya



NanoScience Simulation?   What the heck is that?  And how are they using 3d animation?  I am always looking for cutting edge real-world uses of Autodesk Maya and I came across an article about 3D Visualization of Nanostructured Surfaces and Bacterial Attachment.  I spent a couple hours reading about it; nanoscience is wild and how Maya is being used for scientific simulation is very cool.  Check this out . . .  ~Cornell


3D Visualization of Nanostructured Surfaces and Bacterial Attachment Using Autodesk Maya

“We ( Boshkovikj, Fluke,  Crawford & Ivanova) present a novel approach for the 3D visualization of bacterial interactions with nano-structured surfaces using the software package Autodesk Maya. Our approach comprises a semi-automated stage, where actual surface topographic parameters, obtained using an atomic force microscope, are imported into Maya via a custom Python script, followed by a ‘creative stage’, where the bacterial cells and their interactions with the surfaces are visualized using available experimental data. The ‘Dynamics’ and ‘nDynamics’ capabilities of the Maya software allowed the construction and visualization of plausible interaction scenarios.” 
~ Scientific Reports

What is Nano-Science? Watch this . . .  http://vimeo.com/49364316 or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70ba1DByUmM (long )


Nanomodelling with Maya

One of the main research tasks of the Visualization Lab is to use software similar to that used to create animated special effects in Hollywood productions, including Autodesk Maya. Data is pulled from various sources to create three-dimensional visualizations communicating complex nano-scale concepts. More importantly, we investigate how animation and graphic design principles in general can improve and further advance the research, inform discovery, and enhance communication processes. The research and productions are driven by the passion for visual storytelling that is combining accuracy in science and aesthetics in art. The animated work mainly covers modeling of cellular processes and material/surface analyses.


Virtual Archaeology



Can a 3D animation education lead you to a  career in archeology?  Indiana Jones and the Temple of doom came out in 1984, I was 14 years old.  I loved the movie, who didn’t.  Now I didn’t become an archeologist, but I wanted to for a few years.  The movie inspired a generation of archeologists.   "As a teacher, I would ask my students, 'How many of you were influenced by Indiana Jones films?'" said Fred Hiebert, an archaeology fellow with National Geographic. "Everyone in the class would raise their hands."   It was a Hollywood interpretation of what an archeologist was, but it still inspired a generation, particularly in the field of science.   I even went to a Indiana Jones themed wedding . . . my friend was a high school science teacher.  Hollywood is still inspiring, not only with its films, but with it technologies. 

Look how archeology has evolved.
  Maurizio Forte of Duke University, is one of the leaders in this field, "Technology is a wonderful catalyzer, and there are people here from a lot of different backgrounds who together can share a lot of ideas and research," he said. "I want to make this field very different from the traditional view of it."  The techniques used in in Hollywood films and video games are taking the field of archeology to the next level.  "Any scientific approach uses inferences and hypothetical analyses," Maurizio said. "We cannot reconstruct the past, but we can simulate it because the past itself is fluid. Our job is to be open to multiple interpretations and perspectives."   These skills and software applications are just “tools” and will be infused with almost every future industry and career path, from Hollywood to archeology.  ~Cornell


Biome Concept Car

Mercedes-Benz Design Challenge L.A. Auto Show


The other day I was a workshop presenter and was looking for some videos to share with the group.  I came across this concept car video from Autodesk and it is way to cool.  After  showing it in the workshop and to my students, I felt the need to post it.  I will quote one off my students, “The is mind blowing!” Check it out!  ~Cornell

Here is the Autodesk Video:


Here is a video showcasing the concept art behind the project:

Also check out this site: 

The Illusion of Life . . . 12 Principles of Animation




I love the book The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation!  It is another ‘Must Have’ for your classroom library, particularly if you have students who are focusing on 2d or 3d animation.  One thing that it emphasizes are the 12 principles of animation, which are essential to be familiar with as an animator.   Cento Lodigiani  created some great examples of those principles.  I love the face that he demonstrated them with a simple cube.   Check them out!  And also check out the the video that he made using these animations below.   ~Cornell

Link to the book: The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation

The 12 basic principles of animation were developed by the 'old men' of Walt Disney Studios, amongst them Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, during the 1930s. Of course they weren't old men at the time, but young men who were at the forefront of exciting discoveries that were contributing to the development of a new art form. These principles came as a result of reflection about their practice and through Disney's desire to use animation to express character and personality.  This movie is my personal take on those principles, applied to simple shapes. Like a cube. http://www.centolodigiani.com/117722/3078861/work/the-illusion-of-life


The illusion of life from cento lodigiani on Vimeo.






3D Printed Stop-Motion Animation

Bear-on-Stairs-Stop-Motion-3[1] Bear-on-Stairs-Stop-Motion-1[1]

3DTeacher-Icon[1] Check out this 3d printed stop-motion animation.  If you have ever done a stop motion animation, think about how a 3d printer can change your workflow.  Not only just for props, but all kinds of elements.  I can’t imagine printing a whole animation like this, it is just not practical, let alone affordable.   But very cool! ~Cornell



Bringing Coraline to life with Objet's 3D Models

Here is a short clip about how Laika uses 3d printing in there stop-motion workflow.

Doctors Use 3-D Printing To Help A Baby Breathe


My wife called me after hearing an interview on NPR about 3d medical printing.  I searched for it and shared it with my advanced class – Very Interesting!  I played the NPR audio interview followed by the video and then a short discussion.  It went well, but for my intro class I chose to just share the video followed by a short discussion.  The audio interview was a bit on the long side, but it was more interesting for the higher level classes.  *Every time I talk about 3d, I start with saying something like ‘3d is not going away and it will be part of our everyday life like having a car or a cell phone; 3d printing will be huge!!!’ ~Cornell

Baby’s life saved after 3D printed devices were implanted at U-M to restore his breathing

March 17, 2014 - University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital


Ann Arbor, Mich. – In his 18 months of life, Garrett Peterson has never gone home, spending his days in hospital beds tethered to ventilators that even at the highest settings couldn’t prevent his breathing from periodically stopping.

His condition was so tenuous that often his parents could not hold him for fear of compromising his breathing. But after surgeons at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital implanted 3D printed devices to  <<  More  >>


Here is the NPR audio interview:

25-copy_sq-48360ec6e1de3fc9167d348ff82354c687d51713-s3-c85[1] Ever since the day Garrett Peterson was born, his parents have had to watch him suddenly just stop breathing.

"He could go from being totally fine to turning blue sometimes — not even kidding — in 30 seconds," says Garrett's mother, Natalie Peterson, 25, of Layton, Utah. "It was so fast. It was really scary."

Garrett was born with a  <<  More  >>


Super Bowl Cleats Were Designed Using 3D Printing



The first day of class, I was showcasing our 3d printers an415139-stratasys-object500-connex3-multi-material-3d-printer-shoes[1]d sharing all the cool things that can be done with it.  I even explained that you could print shoes with one.  They laughed and thought I was nuts, but it is normal.  Check these out . . . rainbow-colored crocs.    The crocs style shoes are actually functional, but fairly costly for consumers.  There might be a time when they are cheap enough for retail use, but great for prototyping.  With that said, check out the new Nike cleats designed and prototyped on a 3d Printer.    Check them out . . .  here is a interesting article from Sneaker News, and a CBS News video clip.  Very Cool!!!  ~Cornell


nike-3d-printing-8[1] Over the last decade, 3D printing has made huge forward strides in development. This style of additive manufacturing has the potential to change the way manufacturing as a whole is done – and for Nike, a company that heavily relies on creating molds and primary structures that assist in the production process, the possibilities are endless. For designers, 3D Printing has sped up the process by months; molds that typically takes 2-3 months to take shape can now be accomplished in a few short hours. During today’s Nike Super Bowl Symposium, the Vapor Carbon Cleat was unveiled – a shoe that utilizes the next-generation manufacturing process on the actual shoe. The cleat will debut at the Super Bowl, undoubtedly the  . . .  <<  MORE  >> *Sneaker News


“When the Seahawks and Broncos take the field for Super Bowl XLVIII, players on both sides will be wearing a cleat designed with 3D printing.”  <<  MORE  >>


Give Childhood Back to Children


As a parent, I know I can make a huge impact on my children's life . .  HUGE!  And sometimes I feel obsessed with being a great parent worrying if I am doing the right thing.  I think we all do.  That obsession definitely transfer to my teaching philosophy.   First of all, I feel that being a parent I am more empathetic towards students.  I mean, when I see a student struggling or any situation, I try to deal with it as if, ‘what if this was my child?’   These students are someone else children. 

After reading the article, I sometimes question the impact I make.  I know I am and in a positive way, but as a high school teacher . . . is it too late?  I have taught 4th through 12th grade and I see the passion in students to learn slowly disappear, particularly in middle school.  The sixth graders come to school with such intense passion and excitement to learn and I noticed about mid way through 7th grade, it was almost completely gone.  Is it hormones, the drastic change in learning environment from a more nurturing to independent classroom,is it our society, and has it always been that way?

I know play is important and work ethics are too,  it is just finding that balance.  And there is that question of, if they don’t take those extra classes, will they not be able to compete with the other students?   One teacher I know preaches, if you do not take calculus in high school, don’t bother going into engineering.  All that makes me think, is that my brother didn’t take calculus in high school or collage for that matter and is one of the top mechanical designers at Kodak.  Hmmm . . .

All this thoughts always leads me back to, what is really important and what is success?  Check out this article and ask yourself, do you have enough play in your life?  Do your kids?  Students?  ~Cornell

Give childhood back to children: if we want our offspring to have happy, productive and moral lives, we must allow more time for play, not less

Because students spend nearly all of their time studying, they have little opportunity to be creative or discover their own passions

   by Peter Gray, Ph.D. is a research professor at Boston College, and author of Free to Learn and Psychology - Sunday 12 January 2014

I’m a research bio-psychologist with a PhD, so I’ve done lots of school. I’m a pretty good problem-solver, in my work and in the rest of my life, but that has little to do with the schooling I’ve had. I studied algebra, trig, calculus and various other maths in school, but I can’t recall ever facing a problem – even in my scientific research – that required those skills. What maths I’ve used was highly specialised and, as with most scientists, I learnt it on the job.

The real problems I’ve faced in life include . . . <<  Read More  >>>