From Scan to Sculpture

The process behind Jonathan's Homage to Paolozzi (Self Portrait)

By Google Arts & Culture

Jonathan using Tilt Brush in his studio by Jonathan Yeo

From Virtual to Reality

Over a period of 18 months Jonathan Yeo collaborated with Google Arts & Culture and Google Tilt Brush to create the first physical free-standing sculpture in metal made using Google's virtual reality painting software, Tilt Brush.

Jonathan Yeo, head edit (2017)

Yeo's large scale bronze sculptural self-portrait is entitled Homage to Paolozzi (Self Portrait), and marked the artists first foray into sculpture. The project represents an evolution in the tradition of creating self-portraiture, as for the first time Yeo produced a work derived from three-dimensional scans in virtual reality rather than looking in a mirror or working from photographs.

Jonathan Yeo being 3D scanned

To create the sculpture, Yeo first scanned his head using LightStage, a facial-scanning technology from the optical company OTOY.

Jonathan Yeo Tilt Brush loop

The scan of Jonathan's head was then imported this into Tilt Brush and Yeo began painting his self-portrait with a virtual brush.

Jonathan Yeo and his 3D prints

Once painted, Yeo experimented with 3D printing the virtual sketch. Crucial was capturing the right balance between the solidity required for sculpture and the characteristic lightness of the brushstrokes.

3D printed sculpture segments

Once the right balance was found, the artwork could then be printed directly from Tilt Brush in a series of pieces...

Welding process by Jonathan Yeo

That were then assembled to create the sculpture...

Jonathan Yeo sculpture assembly by Jonathan Yeo

Which was then cast in bronze at Pangolin, one of the worlds leading foundries.

Jonathan Yeo and sculpture installed at the Royal Academy, London by Jonathan Yeo

“As someone who has always wanted to work in three dimensions but never learnt how to do it in the traditional way, it is exciting to have helped create a new process which could probably best described as a hybrid of painting and sculpture. The reason to use self- portraiture was to demonstrate how you could employ 3D scanning to look at yourself in a way that hasn’t been possible until now.

What’s exciting is that the combination of this, along with the latest virtual reality and 3D printing technologies, is potentially a new way of making sculpture and one that might inspire other artists from a range of disciplines to have a go too. I hope these pieces not only show how artists can make use of new technology in unexpected ways, but also offer a speculative glimpse of how we all might use them in the future”

Jonathan Yeo

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Jonathan Yeo creates the world's first large scale, 3D printed sculpture using Tilt Brush
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