To create the large scale reproduction of my Gandhi avatar from Second Life, we first needed to extract my avatar's 3-D model from SL and process this model through a number of readily available software applications. This was followed by the physical realization of the object in cardboard - I've broken this section into three sections, SOFTWARE, MATERIALS, TOOLS:
-You will need a PC Windows computer, a laser or inkjet printer.Software required:
1) Second Life
(to use this online environment one must sign up and create an avatar, this is free)
- "is an open source software package by the Eyebeam OpenLab that allows for the capture and re-use of 3D geometry data from 3D graphics applications running on Microsoft Windows" - it is freely available to use and share, complete with detailed instructions for use in any online game that uses openGL. This can get a bit tricky - do read the instructions carefully and follow these to the "T" and you should be able to extract your avatar from Second Life. Be aware that OGLE generally extracts the entire square region in which you are residing.
- this is an amazing free 3-D modeling and animation program - has a bit of a learning curve - you can generally use any 3-D modeling application for this step. You need this step to allow you to optimize the number of polygons in your model which are generally far to many to allow for the creation of a usable papercraft model. We also used Blender to eliminate the environment and other objects from SL that were extracted using OGLE - when we first extracted Gandhi we couldn't find him at first as the region was so big, he turned out to be a little speck in the enormous region that was extracted. We then use Blender to eliminate all the extraneous information that came through the extraction process.
4) Pepakura Designer
- this is a program that transforms any 3-D model into usable templates or unfolding a 3-D model for use in papercrafting. A really fun program, be sure and take a look at the gallery link on their site, people make some pretty amazing stuff with this program! Materials:
Cardboard - brown double faced - I used 25 sheets of 4x8' single ply cardboard purchased and delivered for $100 - you can get this stuff readily at packing supply houses online. This is the cardboard that is used for the construction of the polygon skin of the sculpture. You could of course do this project with cardboard boxes although you would need to be sure and find some large ones ;-)
- I used 6 sheets of this 42x30x1/2" board purchased at Utrecht Art Supplies for $9.40 cents a sheet - you can likely find this cheaper or even for free in local dumpsters! This cardboard is very sturdy and was used extensively to create the inner support system for the standing figure. You can also likely find this stuff for free, often it is used for single use pallets for shipping and such.
-Cardboard Carpet tubes - various diameters, these I found in the trash both in an around Eyebeam, you would likely be able to get these for free at any big carpet retailer in your area. These are thicker than the standard shipping tubes and such, these are essential for building the interior support structure.
Transparencies for either your Laser or Inkjet printer, get a box of 100. Be sure you get what works for your printer - inkjet transparencies in a laser printer will melt on the rollers!
-There are a few miscellaneous items that will be noted in further steps...Tools:
-Hot Glue Gun
Hot Glue Gun - I bought an industrial grade version of this typical craft tool - you can find these online - this was by far the right tool for this job! This is the one I bought, well worth the $100!
-Box Cutter/Matt Knife QUICK CHANGE
Box Cutter/Matt Knife QUICK CHANGE preferred (I used a Husky folding version from Home Depot that was very convenient as it can strap to your belt or fold to go in your pocket)
-Replacement blades, buy at least a box or dispenser of 50-100 blades, you will want to change blades often during the cutting and scoring process.
-Alumi Cutter 30"
Alumi Cutter 30" straight edge and ruler (you can use other sizes but I think this is the best, has a raised edge to protect your fingers during cutting and scoring, take it from one who has sliced off the tip of my left index finger several times over the years, this tool is fabulous and essential for this process!).
Cutting Mat - I used an Alvin 17x23" version. This is a self-healing surface that allows for thousands of cuts - really useful for this project as it helps keep your blades sharp and you don't get stuck in cut lines during the scoring and cutting of the cardboard.
Sharpie Markers - red, blue and black or whatever colors you prefer (you need three colors to delineate cuts and the two different types of scoring, "mountains" or "valleys" as defined by the Pepakura diagrams.
Overhead projector - I used a standard 3M model, this was used to magnify and project the Pepakura diagrams on to the 4x8' sheets of cardboard.
Band saw - this is not essential, one could cut the pieces entirely using a mat knife but I would highly recommend using this floor standing saw as it greatly sped up the process of cutting out the Pepakura pieces.
-Various tapes - wide masking tape was used to hold the cardboard to the wall for projection and drawing of the diagrams. Drafting tape or blue painting tape was used to hold the transparencies in position on the overhead projector.
-Velcro - I used one roll of 3' velcro with the sticky back on both sides to help with the final assembly of the figure.