3D food models – why do we need them and not only in the area of interior design?

We live in fascinating times. We can do things that once belonged only to science fiction movies and books. We take for granted communicating via mobile phones, using the Internet, travelling to space  and work has become more automated than ever before. We live in smart houses that can be controlled by means of smartphones, children play with drones, advanced technology is present in almost every aspect of our lives. One feels tempted to ask – what is going to be the next step? What is the most likely direction of technological advances? Nobody can say for sure what more distant future holds for us. However, one thing is certain –  the coming years will belong to the 3D technology. It has already dominated a lot of aspects of business, entertainment and everyday life and there is definitely much more to come. 3D models, e.g. 3D food models are utilized widely in films, games, interior design and many more branches to create visualizations, virtual walks and presentations. However, it is the 3D printing that holds the potential of solving existing problems and improving lives of many people.

What are 3D models?

Before we go into much detail of how and where 3D food models can be used, let us have a closer look at 3D models in general. First of all, what is a 3D model? To put it in the simplest possible way – it is a mathematical representation of a three-dimensional object. An apple is a three-dimensional object. If you want to use an apple in your 3D video, game or presentation you will need to “translate” the object into mathematical representation by means of specialized software.  Such 3D food models, 3D animal models or 3D models of any other real-life or imaginary objects, people or creatures can be put to use to portray the world around us or the creative concepts produced by a designer’s creativity. They are utilized in entertainment, drafting, art and simulation. The also constitute the integral part of numerous industries, such as video games, marketing, virtual reality, 3D printing, medical and scientific imaging, television, design, cinematography and CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and manufacturing).

The most recent development in 3D modeling is called reality capture. It is based on technology of remote sensing (e.g. Lidar) and proves to be very efficient in capturing quickly and accurately even more complex forms. Additionally, reality capture may be combined with 3D printing to create an end-to-end process called reality computing.

Where are 3D food models used?

Having explained what 3D models are, let us take a closer look at how and where they are useful. First of all – video / computer games. Modern games look nothing like back in previous century. With the more and more advanced technology and even more and more demanding players the graphical quality of details is soaring. It would be simply impossible to create any kind of animation without the use of 3D models, and where the theme of the game requires – without their particular kinds like 3D food models. Whether we are talking about particular objects or characters or the whole scenery, modern computer games would not basically exist without the extended use of advanced 3D character models, 3D animal models, 3D food models and other 3D models.

Another industry that could not operate without 3D technology is the movie business. From short and simple videos and animations for children to multi-million blockbusters – 3D models, like 3D food models are utilized to create and put onto screens daring projects born in the film directors’ minds. It all started back in the previous century with the first part of “Toy Story”. It continued and developed to reach almost mastery in “Avatar”.  

The next big step in using 3D in the movie industry is 3D printing. The technology has great cinema potential that has already been successfully utilized in quite a few productions. Spatial printing is most useful for creating film props. For that high quality 3D models are necessary – 3D animal models, 3D food models and others. A good example might be the Bond franchise movies. “Bond. James Bond” is probably one of the most famous film quotes ever. It was first uttered by Sean Connery in 1962 and then repeated by all Bonds. In the newest productions it is Daniel Craig who introduces himself in that way. And it was in one of the Bond movies with him acting as the main character that the 3D printing technology played an enormous role.

In the 2012 production “Skyfall” agent 007 in the way typical only of him crashes most of the cars he drives. In this very part of the franchise one of the vehicles to be destroyed is the legendary Aston Martin DB5. It was the first car used by James Bond which means its priceless and the original could not be used in the scene. That is why a very accurate copy of the car had to be set on fire. As you have probably already guessed this very important prop was created by means of 3D printing. Eventually as many as three replicas of the original car were printed out. All of them were three times smaller than the real Aston Martin DB5. Each of them was made up of eighteen parts and looked absolutely identical to the original. One of the replicas actually exploded on the set but before that – imitated the original Bond’s car in a perfect way.

It is not only in the Bond series, however, that 3D printed props appeared. Many other movies used them as well. They might not be present in romantic comedies or dramas as those genres do not usually require too much of special effects. When it comes to other types of films, though, like science fiction, the 3D technology has been extensively used. 3D printing was utilized in such productions as “Ghost in the Shell”, “Harry Potter”, “Iron Maiden 2”, “Guardians of the Galaxy” or “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.

In the Harry Potter series there are numerous creatures, ghosts, plants or foods that do not exist in the real life. It was absolutely necessary to create both props and 3D models of them to make the movies. A lot of 3D food models and other 3D models had to be prepared and utilized in order to achieve the final effects that the cinema-goers could admire.

In the “Iron Man 2” movie 3D printing was used to create the characteristic red-golden uniform that Tony Stark needs to save the world. The task was a very important one then. The uniform was produced in three steps. First, its particular parts had to be printed out, later they were painted and finally put together. In case of movies where special effects are as important or sometimes – even more important than the plot, using the 3D printing technology to create props is especially justified. As Jason Lopes  – a 3D printing guru – said for CNET Magazine: Because they (costumes) are made using the same 3D reference designs that are used to create computer-generated suits for all-digital scenes, the physical and CGI versions should look exactly the same to the popcorn-munching viewer, allowing directors to craft scenes that have either all live-action or all CGI, or a combination of both.

The movie world has come to love the 3D technology and it is not at all surprising.  It is not very far from the film industry to marketing, actually and this is yet another branch that uses 3D technology on daily basis. Contemporary commercials are very often real masterpieces in the respect of plot, music, acting and computer effects. Especially the last one could not be achieved without the use of 3D models. Most of food and grocery shops commercials nowadays will be created with the help of 3D food models. One more example of widespread utilization of 3D technology are music video clips.

It is not only the world of entertainment, however that discovered the potential of 3D technology. Architects, urban designers and interior designers are all happy to use 3D models of all kinds in their everyday work. It is much more convenient and efficient to present projects to clients in the form of a 3D presentation or a virtual walk rather than as 2D drafts. Thanks to the 3D technology the projects look more attractive, more life-like and include more details. For example, an interior designer presenting a project of a kitchen may place a basket full of freshly-looking fruit on the table to create pleasant, homely atmosphere within the project. This simple yet very efficient trick is feasible thanks to 3D food models employment.

Where to take 3D food models from?

Now that has become clear how useful 3D models are, the question arises where to get them from. There are two possible ways to obtain them. It is either possible to create them by yourself using specialized software like AutoCAD, ZBrush, Sculptris, 3DSMax, SketchUp or Blender. The certain advantage of this solution is the fact that the final result will meet all your requirements when it comes to looks and other parameters. The big drawback, however, is the fact that you need to have at least  medium level knowledge about 3D modeling to be able to fully use the software and produce a good quality 3D model that can actually be used in your project.

Luckily, even if you are not proficient in 3D modeling, you  and your business can still benefit from the advanced 3D technology. Evermotion offers a wide range of high quality, ready-to-use 3D models. Save your time, effort and money and choose the life-like, detailed 3D food models available in our online shop!

The history of 3D printing

It is now obvious for everyone that 3D technology and 3D printing play an important, sometimes even crucial role in many industries. Let us now focus for a moment on the history of this fascinating tool.

The very origins of the spatial printing go back as far as 14th April 1970 when the astronauts from the Apollo 13 mission experienced a serious failure in their space craft. A battle with time and for life and safe return of the astronauts took place. Ground-based control team came up with one of the most famous ideas of improvised repair in the history of the space exploration.  They wrote up an instruction of how to build up an adapter that allowed to use unfitting carbon dioxide filters, which saved lives of the three crew members. The interesting part of the story is the fact that only objects present on the board of the space craft could be used. The astronauts had to use things like socks and adhesive tape. The whole situation required a lot of creativity and fast work of the ground-based engineers.

However, NASA could not rely on lucky coincidences  and hope that in case of another failure it would again be possible to fix them with the object gathered in the space craft. That is why NASA decided to invest in the spatial printing technology.

In 2014 NASA placed  in the International Space Station a printer that can create a three-dimensional object with the use of a plastic refill. If only the Apollo 13 mission crew had had such a device on board, the ground-based team could have sent them a file with a 3D model of the adapter  that could be then printed out by the space craft’s crew and used for the repair work. Any other 3D models – eg. 3D food models or 3D object models could be sent as well.

In the 1970s 3D printers did not exist yet. It was only 13 years later that Charles Hull invented stereolitography –  a process in which laser outlines the shape of the object to be printed out in a liquid material called photopolymer. In the touch points of laser and the liquid the material hardens immediately, layer after layer creating thus a plastic spatial model. This is how 3D printing was born, initially only used in industry for building up prototypes in a faster and more efficient way. Especially in cases where building a prototype in a traditional way would be too costly and too time-consuming.  Hull actually predicted that it would take another twenty-five to thirty years for his invention to become widely used, available and affordable.  

His guess turned out to be quite precise – democratization of 3D printing did not happen until the first decade of the twenty-first century. It happened thanks to the Rep-Rap project – its aim was designing a self-replicating 3D printer. In 2008 engineers built a machine that was able to create most of the parts it actually consisted of. It decreased remarkably the costs of equipment and made 3D printers available to a much bigger group of people.

3D printing technology

Currently, many models of spatial printers are available on the market. They utilize different techniques and materials to create three-dimensional objects. Some of them are still based on the original idea by Charles Hull. Recently, however, one of the technologies has been gaining on popularity – fused deposition modeling (FDM). The technology behind FDM was invented by Scott Crump in the 1980s. Crump was a co-founder and the chairman of Stratasys Ltd., a leader of 3D printers manufacturing. Other 3D printing companies have since developed very similar technologies  under different names. So, how does it actually work? Objects created with an FDM printer are first as computer-aided design (CAD) files. They are nothing else than 3D models of object that are to be printed out – 3D food models, 3D animal models etc.  Before the process of printing can take place, the file needs to be converted into a format that a 3D printer can understand — most typically .STL format. Two kinds of materials are needed to run the process of 3D printing – a modeling material, which constitutes the object that is to be printed out and a support material. The latter one plays the role of a scaffolding – it supports the object during the printing process.

While the object is being printed, these materials take the shape of plastic threads, called filaments. They are unwound from a coil and then fed through an extrusion nozzle. The nozzle melts the filaments and extrudes them onto a base, sometimes called a build platform or table. Both the nozzle and the base are controlled by a computer that translates the dimensions of an object into X, Y and Z coordinates for the nozzle and base to follow during printing.

Fortunately, we are not limited to plastic as the modeling material only. Some 3D printers can also use metal, cement or comestible product. It offers almost unlimited possibilities – from printing out sophisticated chocolate layer cakes through jet plane engine elements to whole buildings. Just imagine how simple cooking becomes, when instead of spending hours in the kitchen you just send to the printer a file with chosen 3D food models and press “print”…

3D printing is also used in medicine.  Thanks to the technology it is now possible to make cheaper and more personalized prosthesis or models of organs which help doctors to plan complicated surgical operations. However, scientists have not stopped here. They used specially modified 3D printers to create tissue using living cells. In 2007 the first company doing 3d bioprinting was set up – Organovo. They offer, among others, mini live liver models that can be utilized for drug testing.

In order to print out such a live structure, a special kind of bio-ink needs to be used instead of cell-unfriendly plastic. This special material – usually a natural or synthetic hydrogel creates the proper microenvironment for the cells, ensuring their growth and survival. Frankly speaking, organs created in the way have not been used on patients as yet, however, scientists have been testing the technology by implanting printed out bones or blood vessels to laboratory animals.

Similarly to popularization of 3D printers using plastic, the breakthrough is happening in the area of bio-printers. In 2014 a company called BioBots released the first ever cheap  3D bi-printer changed the landscape and of this branch or regenerative medicine. Scientists who want to explore possibilities of tissue and organ printing are no longer forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on this type of machines. They can start off with 3D bio-printers that cost a only w few thousand dollars.

Growing availability of the technology opens door to fabricating organs for implanting on demand – perfectly suited for a given patient and allowing to avoid long queues and waiting  for the right donor. In that case future astronauts have problems not only with their space craft but also health, the ground-based control team will be able to send them a 3D model of the organ and thus created live “spare part” may save the astronaut’s life away from the Earth hospital. NASA treats this idea very seriously and some time ago started testing 3D bio-printer in the conditions of microgravity.

Influence of 3D printing on Business Models

It seems quite unbelievable now that one of the first patents for 3D printing , issued in France in the 1980s  was eventually abandoned due to “lack of business perspective”. As the technology has been dramatically developed since that times, this is no longer an issue. Nowadays it is possible to print plastic, metal, food or even human tissue. Many of the big international companies have already started using 3D printing technology for their manufacturing processes and the outcome are more than satisfactory. It proves that this technology has a great future ahead itself. The question is how does it affect business models? Let us have a closer look at some examples.

3D bio-printing technology has been successfully adapted in the field of food printing. There are startups like Foodini or Food Ink that offer food-printing machines not only for restaurants but also for homes. Both companies promise that with their products it is possible to make natural and fresh foods in a way that saves food, time and money.

Summary

As the food printing has become a reality and not some crazy sci-fi idea, 3D food models gain on importance.  High-quality, ready-to-use 3D food models offered by Evermotion will let you and your organization save time, effort and money. The wide range of 3D food models available will satisfy the needs of even the most demanding clients.