Stage 1 - 3D Scan

In 1992, Jill Smith had her head 3D scanned on the Cyberware booth at the SIGGRAPH conference and exhibition. That's over 20 years ago now so the resolution is quite low by current standards, and the color is a somewhat muddy under the exhibition hall lighting. However, this is a significant 3D scan in headus history because the software development work required to process that single scan became our first commercial product (i.e. CySurf) and that in turn encouraged us to create headus itself.


Stage 2 - Polymesh

"Fold Girls" is an art piece, but it is also a process that utilizes our software products to create a physical object out of pure data. After cleaning up the 3D scan in PlyEdit, the next step was to fit a triangular mesh over the scan using CySlice. A triangular mesh is the only way to guarantee that the virtual mesh can be accurately flattened out to make a physical pattern for folding.


Stage 3 - Pattern

The polymesh was then loaded into UVLayout and flattened out to create the pattern. Normally, when using UVLayout to create UV coordinates for texture mapping, a relatively simple mesh like this can flattened into just one or two pieces, allowing for  a small amount of distortion. However, when making a pattern for physical folding, absolutely no distortion is allowed, so the mesh needs to be cut into single triangle wide strips. If you look closely, you can also see some "8" shaped tabs, which we thought we might use to join the pieces together, and discs that we used to measure the angles of the folds.


Stage 4 - Fold Guides

CySlice was used again then to extract the color from the 3D scan, according to the flattened pattern, and that PDF file was sent off to be printed onto aluminium sheet. The shape outlines were sent also as a DXF file and laser cut after the printing. The cut out pieces then needed to be folded by hand, so we used UVLayout to generate a series of fold guide sheets, showing the angle of each fold and join, and whether it was a valley (dotted line) or a ridge (solid line).


Stage 5 - Folding

Each laser-cut piece was then folded by hand, according to the calculated angles, and fixed together on the inside surface.

Click on the image to the right to see a series of photos showing the assembly process. In the final photo you can see a CNC machined polystyrene backing that we glued in to provide extra rigidity to the completed heads.


Final Piece

The four completed "Fold Girls", with Jill's 1992 scan to the left, and three of her friends, scanned in 1995 here at headus HQ.