Friday, November 22nd, 2013...4:36 pm

Decimating Gollum

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Last week, Henry Segerman visited from Oklahoma State. He presented a seminar for our undergraduates and also spoke about 3D printing with the public school teachers in my Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI) seminar. It was a delightful and enlightening time. As you see below, we were all visually and intellectually treated by our time with Henry.

In the middle of his time with the CTI fellows, Henry referred us to Thingiverse as a resource for free and adaptable 3D printing models. I began exploring the options and soon found a wonderful model called DevakingA by user YahooJAPAN. While Davidson has a new Maker space with 3D printing, my affinity to linear algebra had me looking for the wireframe data! Soon, I found an STL File Reader for MATLAB, which enabled me to visual the DevakingA model. That is, my students could now apply 3D rotation matrices to a model they liked on Thingiverse.

The next day, Henry made his way into our Studio M space and worked on 3D printing a math manipulative for a Thingiverse challenge. My mind continued to stretch. Over the next week, I continued to explore 3D models, and Henry’s work. I began to wonder about masks (given my use of them in mime) and 3D printing. I continue to explore that idea but this led me to think about taking a model and reducing the number of polygons.

Dan Goldman of Adobe helped me. He led me to MeshLab. I can import an STL file directly into that (free) software. Using the Quadric Edge Collapse Decimation, I was able to quickly get what I wanted. I decided to try it on a model of Gollum that I found on thingiverse created by user BorisBelocon. Note, Dan warned me that using the decimation method and then using it again on the results, can make MeshLab crash. I found this to be the case. How? I was so excited with my initial result, I didn’t save it! I just applied the decimation method again. And yes, MeshLab crashed!

So, much did I decimate Gollum? Look at the image below:

Happy decimating!

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