Sculptural Face Masks Replicate Reality Using 3D Printing

Lorna Barnshaw's 3D-printed mask-like sculptures give new meaning to the word 'replicant.'

The complete triptych

Replicants. No, I'm not talking about the bioengineered robots from Blade Runner, but rather the fascinating, 3D-printed series of mask-like sculptures by Lorna Barnshaw

The Winchester, UK-based artist has created a triptych of facial studies using different 3D-printing outputs. She used various computer software and printing methods, such as a 3D scanner, AutoDesk 123D Catch, and Cubify, to produce the project. 

3D Scan

Alternate view

The resulting pieces utilize the unique qualities of the different programs to create the individual sculptures. 

The AutoDesk program produced a misshapen and organic 3D model that has been taken and replicated from a photo file, while the piece created from 3D Scan, looks almost corpse-like and is the most ‘true to life’ of the three. One sculpture in the triptych employed Cubify to make “a highly abstracted, geometric reinterpretation of the human face.” 

AutoDesk 123D Catch

Alternate view

The artist explained that she, “interfered with software as little as possible, comparing the digital attempts at replicating reality.” The outcome is that these sculptures, “mov[e] humanity through a digital filter and bring it back into the physical world.

Living in a digital age, people put so much trust in technology to do things better than we could ever do themselves. The expectation has become that with every new innovation, people expect to need to do less and less. 


Alternate view

Barnshaw’s aim was to remove her touch from the printing process, exposes the lack of humanity that can occur with digitally created replications. While the aim of Replicants is to produce a digital simulacrum, the reality is something of an aesthetically-charged glitch. 

While these beautifully post-modern prints might be redefining portraiture, we still have a some time until the Tyrell Corporation takes over and we can’t tell who’s a cyborg and who’s a real human being. 

Images courtesy of Lorna Barnshaw.

[via Designboom]