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Smaller & Upside Down

An Interactive Exhibit of 3D-Printed Distorting Lenses

Smaller & Upside Down is a collection of 3D-printed lenses that distort views of faces.

Each lens was custom-designed and fabricated using a new rapid prototyping process. The results were presented at the Market Street Prototyping Festival.

Scroll down to learn how the lenses are made, or contact the artists to inquire about availability.

How It’s Made

With digital fabrication technology, it’s easier to design and manufacture lenses than ever before. We developed a fabrication process makes it easy to prototype optical designs.

Read our Instructable for a more in-depth look at our process.

3D render of Many Eyes lens

It’s not always easy to predict how a given lens will distort an image. To make prototyping easier, we employed ray-tracing software to see how our lenses might look once printed.

Our process used Autodesk T-Splines to create lens geometry, and visualized its effects using Rhino’s raytracing renderer. With this technique, we were able to quickly create lenses that achieve a desired effect.

Printing a lens on the Objet 3D printer

We used the Objet 3D printers at Autodesk’s Pier 9 Workshop to manufacture half of the lenses. They were printed with VeroClear resin to achieve transparency. The rest of the lenses were milled out of acrylic plastic on a 3-axis CNC router.

After printing or milling, all of the lenses were sanded to optical clarity.

About the Artists

Robb Godshaw
Robb Godshaw is an Artist in Residence at Autodesk’s Pier 9 in San Francisco. He attended Carnegie Mellon University where he studied Art, with a focus on mechatronic sculpture. He has a passion and a penchant for all things optical.
Max Hawkins
Max Hawkins is an artist and computer scientist based in San Francisco’s Mission District. His work deals with the interaction between people and technology, with an emphasis on the construction of digital communities. In his free time he is working to bring art to the animal internet.