photo 2In technology circles, 3D printing is cutting edge, with its ability to turn an image into a 3-dimensional object. Experts are calling it a “game changer” with its ability to instantly print parts and products, as well as replicate human tissue for pharmaceutical testing.

And Saint Viator visual arts students are getting in on the ground floor.

For the last year, students in Advanced 3D Design classes have been using the newly released mobile app designed by Modio, to design action figures on their iPads, before they see them come to life through the printer.

“Utilizing 3D printers brings an entirely new dimension to our program,” Mr. Bill Faltinoski, fine arts department chair, said.

He points to skeletal models that can come to life through the printer, or famous sculptures, allowing students to use them as a reference for drawing. Additionally, he points to students in his iPad Media classes, which will be able to use the 3D printer for animation, bringing their figures to life.

“It’s pretty incredible what this printer can do,” senior art student Michael Sullivan said. “The possibilities are endless.”

While only students in 3D Design classes have used the printer this year, Mr. Faltinoski expects students in every visual arts class to have access to its technology by next year.

“It’s another art medium, a sculptural medium,” Mr. Faltinoski added. “It’s being used in engineering, medicine and manufacturing, but it offers just as much promise to artists.”

Currently, the department has one 3D Makerbot 5th Generation printer that is tucked away in one of its back studios. However, with construction starting next month on expanding the fine arts facilities, the printer will move to the new technology center, where Mr. Faltinoski hopes to add at least one more, as well as a large size printer and color printer.

Incorporating technology into the visual arts program is an extension of the school’s iPad initiative, and one of the components of the renovation of its fine arts facilities. It also demonstrates another example of Saint Viator’s commitment to excellence in education.

“This is revolutionary,” Mr. Faltinoski said. “It’s going to be like the home computer.”