three.js visuals, tracing, cutting, and gluing

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the Stanford bunny, as rendered using three.js’s default WebGL renderer

A search for a new visualization tool

As it turns out, although Autodesk Maya’s python and MEL API worked fine for early visualization, it didn’t quite offer the kind of flexibility I wanted for the tracing part, for the following reasons:

  1. If I wanted to change the bunny’s size or the slice thickness or the number of slices, I’d have to start with a fresh file, run a script, do some manual parts that didn’t have an easily-discoverable API counterpart, run some more scripts, and then I’d have my new bunny. …

preparing the bunny mesh in Maya

The project so far

For best results, read part one first!

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A rendered Stanford bunny (using Maya built-in renderer)

We want to slice the bunny horizontally into cross sections that correspond to our existing foam sheets so later on we can cut the foam into the shape of the bunny, layer by layer.

Terms defined

  • Maya: a 3d program in the likes of Blender, 3dsMax, and Cinema4D. Think of it as a 3d sculpting and animation tool that allows users to make digital representations of 3d objects.
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Rotating the camera around the bunny in Maya
  • Mesh: a polygonal object comprised of faces, edges, and vertices. For example, a cube mesh would have 6 faces, 12 edges, and 8 vertices (corners).
  • MEL: Maya Embedded Language. This is a scripting language native to Maya that corresponds 1:1 with many tasks. …

project introduction

Computer graphics, particularly working in 3d programs such as 3dsMax or Maya, was my gateway into being interested in computers and programming in general. Here’s my homage to the field that started it all

The big idea

I plan to take a bunch of horizontal cross sections of a CG bunny and cut foam to match the cross sections, then layer them to make the completed object. It’s similar to how 3d printers print one layer at a time from bottom to top, except I’ll be cutting these layers and gluing them.

Idea origin

An excess of foam

Those who know me know I like collecting. Those who know me know I’m, well, a hoarder. I’ve hoarded things like old clothes, old shoes, ticket stubs, museum maps, cardboard, paint flecks, you name it. …


Kelly Yu

Fresh college grad working in tech in the best city, NYC. Likes drawing, dancing, and improv. Writes thought processes of projects and sometimes advice.

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