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About Practical 3D-Technologies

Tenaces is a $3.8 million U.S. Department of Education-funded grant project of San Antonio College. The Tenaces 3D website focuses on the Practical 3D Design, Visualization and Fabrication component of the grant. Due to recent advances in technology, 3D design, scanning and printing tools are making their way into traditional industries and careers. Archaeologists around the world 3D scan ancient landmarks and historical artifacts for posterity. Police departments capture 3D crime scene records for high-profile investigations. Hospitals digitally sculpt and print realistic facial prostheses for patients with traumatic injuries. Unfortunately, none of these novel applications are addressed by existing 3D coursework in Texas or elsewhere in the U.S.

Common course offerings for the state of Texas do not acknowledge the growing influence of 3D or anticipate the impact these technologies will have on the global marketplace. While some architecture, engineering, film or gaming classes incorporate related skills, each is locked within its own silo; sculpting is for games, CAD is for engineering, etc. We want to change this state of affairs in Texas.

Since 2012, San Antonio College has used 3D technologies to support Biology, Geology, Astronomy and Chemistry classroom instruction, to assist the National Cave and Karst Research Institute in resolving speleological research questions, and to scan and catalog over 200 sauropod and theropod dinosaur footprints discovered in Bexar County for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

In addition to these activities, SAC staff members have presented 3D scanning, sculpting and printing technologies to mortuary science students and faculty for since 2014. Students have responded well to these short, hands-on demonstrations of the technology and have expressed an interest in obtaining further training. The mortuary science department at SAC, which has long used industry-standard oil-based clay in its restorative arts classes, has recently purchased a 3D scanner two 3D printers to add these new technologies to its curriculum.

The Practical 3D Design, Visualization and Fabrication program expands on San Antonio College’s use of groundbreaking technologies in education and research by introducing 3D scanning, modeling, sculpting, visualization and printing technology to students and professionals from a wide variety of disciplines and fields. SAC is using U.S. Department of Education funding to conduct high-tech 3D professional development workshops

Through this project, our team conducted Practical 3D professional development workshops hosted on the San Antonio College campus and at partnering institutions. This hands-on training included: 1) how to 3D scan people, places and things; 2) how to 3D sculpt plants, animals and other natural shapes; 3) how to 3D model buildings, tools and other mechanical objects; 4) how to parametrically design 3D landscapes and terrain features; 5) how to use 3D visualization and online distribution technologies; and 6) how to prepare and print 3D models.

Input collected from these workshops was used to refine the development of Introduction to 3D Technologies mini-classes.



3D Visualization mini-class
Students in this 4-week class will learn how to set up 3D scenes, add objects to those scenes and apply materials to those objects objects, manipulate cameras and lighting within scenes and render simple animations.

3D Modeling mini-class
Students in this 4-week class will learn how to create representative structural models and mechanical objects in a 3D design application. Students will learn both procedural non-destructive modeling as well as polygonal modeling that are the foundations to creating objects like vehicles, buildings, product mock-ups, etc.

3D Sculpting mini-class
Students in this 4-week class will learn how to sculpt natural shapes out of “virtual” clay using a 3D sculpting application. Students will learn the basic skills necessary to sculpt believable plants, animals, rocks and monsters.

3D Terraining mini-class
Students in this 2-week class will learn how to create 3D digital landscapes and terrain objects using a node-based parametric design tool. Students will learn how to make mountains, plateaus, craters and procedural planets along with suitable textures and materials for those objects.

3D Scanning mini-class
Students in this 4-week class will learn how to use high-resolution handheld 3D scanning devices as well as low-cost scanning software with cell-phone photographs to capture the surface geometries of physical objects. Students will learn how to scan people, artifacts and scenes.

3D Printing mini-classes
Students in this 4-week class will learn how to prepare existing 3D models for printing on high-resolution 3D printers as well as lower and medium cost printers. Students will be able to print up to 100 grams of material as part of the class fee.

Summer “Kids Camp” programs
Students in our Summer 3D Technologies camps will learn many of the skills described in the program listings above. Each week focuses on two different domains of 3D. Week 1 covers 3D visualization and simple animation. Week 2 covers 3D modeling and sculpting. Week 3 covers 3D scanning and printing. Each camp week runs from Monday through Thursday and lasts from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Students should bring their own lunches. Each camp week is priced separately per student. There is a 10-student enrollment maximum for each camp week.


3D-Technologies Gallery


 3D Mortuary Science Photo 1   3D Mortuary Science Photo 2

3D Mortuary Science Photo 3    3D Mortuary Science Photo 4