Sunday, July 24, 2011

Daniel Brookman: Barbie Ormolu, Intro

My work in this class will examine the role of the Barbie doll as an icon of popular American culture, exploring unexpected themes the Barbie brand can represent. The project will take the form of a desk that will feature ormolu mounts derived from Barbie iconography and other relevant imagery.

Ormolu comes from the French or moulu and means “powdered gold.” The term denotes a gold-colored alloy of copper, zinc, and sometimes tin, which is cast and then gilded. Ormolu was predominantly used in eighteenth century furniture decoration and timepiece construction.

Examples of ormolu.

Sketches of desk and components.

These sketches illustrate the French-inspired desk and ormolu components that I intend to create. The center of the desk will feature an asymmetrical medallion in mid-relief (top left), while each front corner of the desk will be adorned with high-relief figural mounts (top right). Along the back of the desk, a jungle scene will be rendered in low-relief and will span the width of the piece.

After initial sketching was complete, I purchased a basic Barbie doll to use as a starting point for my 3D model. The first step was to scan this, a process that was fairly straightforward: the doll’s head was isolated, the hair tied back and cropped, and a button-head machine screw was hot glued inside the neck cavity. The threaded end of the assembly was then screwed into the scanner platform until tight, which enabled a precise 3D scan.

3D laser scan in progress.

Three separate 360° scans were merged in this model.

NextEngine ScanStudio HD software was used to process the captured 3D data. This data was cleaned up in Rapid Works and then exported as an .IGS file for later use in 3D modeling software. Here is a quick KeyShot rendering of the unaltered .IGS file.

Scan data rendered in galvanized steel.


  1. "Clean UP". And that's precisely want can't be done with NextEngine ScanStudio. And believe me, a considerable amount of "clean up" is required to get ANYTHING out of this terrible product.

  2. are you going to build the actual desk? I am a furniture maker, and oddly enough I found your page because I am looking for ormolu mounts for a desk build.

  3. I'm doing some visual effects pro bono for a short movie for the italian film school in Rome, which i attend, and it could great if you could send me that model because i'm gonna do some 3d doll animation and that is exactly what i was looking for. As i told you, we're on a very low budget and tight schedule, that's why i decided to write you.

    Thank you in advance for your attention
    Looking forward to hear from you