semantics of 3d form

Assignment Objectives:

  • To be able to observe, translate, and recreate forms through different mediums (additive and subtractive materials).
  • Understand and explore the different levels of abstraction.
  • Be able to demonstrate a good understanding of the translated form. (If abstracted, is it too abstracted?)

PT I. Natural Form: Shell

(above) preliminary sketches, looking at basic shapes and curves
(above) more explorations of the spiral and form of the shell

My Shell:

Iteration 1: Clay

  • Small Olfa Knife
  • Bone Folder


(above) I rolled a ball of clay and wrapped it in a sheet of clay to create the body)
(above) refinement

Finished Iteration:

What to work on next time:

  • Be mindful of the whorl on the tip of the shell: each lower level of the spiral increases in distance.
  • Be careful of the proportion of the shell.
  • Observe and be mindful of how the spikes are placed and what direction they whorl.

Iteration 1: Foam

  • Large Olfa
  • Small Olfa
  • Xacto Knife
  • Marker
(left) marked out the shape of my shell with a marker; (middle + right) used a large Olfa to get the general shape first
(above) then used the smaller Olfa and Xacto to smooth the general shape out

Finished Iteration:

What to work on next time:

  • Don’t be afraid to subtract too much, just be careful of what you carve.
  • Technique: To get rid of unnecessary jagged cuts, cut as if you’re peeling a fruit.
  • Add more details, too simplified : figure out what gives your shell its own character and add that to the foam model.

Iteration 2: Clay

(above) adding volume to my shell
(left) changing the direction of the spikes; (right) close up shot of detail
(above) looking at how the end of the tail ends and curls into itself

Finished Iteration:

(above) proportion comparison from model to shell

What to do next:

  • Focus more and fine tune proportion, the original shell is much narrower and have deeper curves than my model. Try using different tools.
  • Top whorl of the shell model is too abstracted and smoothed out, keep it consistent with the level of detail given to the spikes.
  • Be careful of craft: make sure fingerprint lines aren’t distracting from the lines meant to show the spiral on the tip of the shell.

Iteration 2: Foam

(above) trying a different technique to cut smoother pieces

Finished Iteration:

What to do next:

  • Like the clay model, fine tune the model more to fit the proportions of the original shell: foam model is also not narrow enough from body to tail.
  • Be careful of how much you subtract, I left too little foam to add the spike details on half the body in this iteration.
  • Try to be more careful in cutting out the whorl on the tip of the foam: try to avoid jagged edges that could distract from the intended cuts.
(above) side by side of foam and clay models

Iteration 3: Foam

Iteration 3: Clay

(left) cut off aperture; (middle) adding more clay for volume; (right) reattaching the aperture
(left) backside of attached aperture; (right) mini rolling pin! for spiral and for smoothing

1 Min. Video Checkpoint:

PT II. Mouse Form:

Actual Mouse:

3D Rendered Mouse: FNATIC — Flick Gaming Mouse:

(above) sketches looking at the form of the mouse

Iteration 1: Paper

  • Canson Watercolor Paper
  • Xacto Knife
(left) base shape; (right) length of base measurement for vertical pieces
(above) center vertical piece with the mouse scroll
(above) connection of the middle vertical piece
(left) fitting the far right and left side of the mouse; (right) all three vertical pieces fit together
(above) top hood of the mouse

Finished Iteration:

(above) experimentation of paper scoring, indenting
  • The mouse scroll for this iteration is too flat, how to integrate it better? More 3D or implied (negative space)?
  • Try a different way of construction (stability).
  • Mouse is visually too vertically dominant, try gridding more: look at both x, y, z axis.
  • Top (hood) of mouse: try scoring paper to fit main curve of mouse.
  • Back end of the mouse: paper intersection should be flush.

Iteration 2: Paper

(above) constructing vertical support
(left) horizontal plane cut to match the vertical planes; (right) trimmed off part to make the edges flush
(above) main structure put in place
(left) I ended up picking the second mouse top as the edges bowed outwards; (right) what the mouse’s underside looks like

Iteration 1: Foam

  • Large Olfa
  • Small Olfa
  • Xacto Knife
  • Marker
(left) front view; (right) side view
(above) cutting down to a very general shape
(left) using a micron pen, I dotted where I wanted the curve; (right) slanted blade technique
(above) almost done!
(above) smoothing foam out with bone folder

Finished Iteration:

  • Edge on the back end ends sharply, there isn’t angled cut.
  • Mouse in general is very long.
  • Keep in mind of the subtle angled cuts at the bottom of the mouse.
  • Mouse scroll: corners should be more rounded

Iteration 2: Foam

(left) I first carved out the sides and slowly carved the top part to match the curve; (right) I made sure to keep the back edge sharp
(left) front view; (middle) I left the scroll bit to trim for last; (right) I flattened the top curve even more

PT III. Hybrid Form:

Word Association:

  • Rounded
  • Smooth
  • Organic
  • Angular
  • Materials Used:
  • Small Olfa Knife
  • Clay
  • Glue stick as a rolling pin
  • Eraser for smoothing surfaces out
(above) quick sketches
(above) sketches done on my iPad
(above) after rolling it out, I then cut it to the shape I want
  • Needs to be more angular
  • Q suggested I could exaggerate the front and the back more (as seen in the picture)
  • Focus on the traits you picked out.
(above) inspired shape from previous iteration



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