KSAP’s 3D CAD Technician, Julien Soosaipillai collaborates with Digital Sculptor, Jonathan Webb

Kent School of Architecture and Planning’s 3D CAD Technician and MSc Bio Digital Architecture student recently worked on a collaborative project with Johnathan Webb, Digital Sculptor. We caught up with Julien and Jonathan to find out more…

How did this project come about?

Julien: During late 2019, I received an amazing 3D model of a Centaur by Jonathan – it was highly detailed and beautifully carved using a digital platform. The task was to create a 3D physical prototype, whilst maintaining as much of the detail as possible and taking consideration of an appropriate scale that would highlight said details and also be cost effective – I decided to use one of our hobbyist machines (FDM) to complete the task.

Jonathan, how long have you been a sculptor for?

Jonathan: My background as a sculptor includes working for the Jim Henson Creature Shop, as well as in stop motion animation, primarily for Cosgrove Hall Films, working mainly on children’s TV shows such as Postman Pat and Raa Raa The Noisy Lion, (as an animator as well as a sculptor). While at Cosgrove Hall Films I was fortunate enough to work with special effects legend Ray Harryhausen and the Centaur model was originally designed for that project, (Odysseus-The Legend) although sadly it was never completed.

I started working digitally some years ago and have worked on a variety of projects, including most recently a TV documentary about celebrities and plastic surgery, a digital anatomical reference library for the visual effects and games industry and promotional work for Game of Thrones for Sky TV.

What were the main challenges in the project?

Julien: The challenge was to minimise the amount of support structure used in the print, to achieve a smoother finish, and reveal the qualities of the models, by printing at a layer height of 0.06mm (0.4mm nozzle diameter). Thus the 3D digital model was split into 5 parts. Jonathan did a fantastic job, post-processing these parts, which – now looking at the final finish – are seamless.

We continued working together, when Jonathan provided me with another digital sculpture of an orangutan. I have to commend Jonathan’s abilities, both as a digital sculptor and for his ability to manually post-process the 3D prints – a great example of the amazing possibilities achievable through the combination of digital and analogue techniques.

How did you find the experience of working together on this project?

Jonathan: Working with Julien was a great experience. I wanted to see the Centaur bigger than the one I’d previously had made. We discussed how best to do this and what materials to use. Julien was very accommodating and enthusiastic, as well as very knowledgeable and this is reflected in the quality of the work he produced. I was very happy with how the orangutan looked, particularly once I’d got the fur on him, (which was the point of the project) and the Centaur looks great and has gone down particularly well with the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation.

If you are interested in working with Julien, feel free to email J.Soosaipillai@kent.ac.uk. You can also keep up to date with Julien’s latest projects on Instagram. You can contact Jonathan at jonathanrwebb@hotmail.co.uk and keep up to date with Jonathan’s latest work over on Instagram.