Three Dimensional Design
Albertus Magnus College
Jerry Nevins, Professor
773-8546, office
Office: 203 Aquinas Hall
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Three Dimensional Design seeks to expand your understanding of design theory as it relates to the 3 dimensional world. Working with 3D software, we will explore concepts of modularity, sequence and series, relief, contour, structure and symmetry.

We will examine the function of space, volume, mass, plane, and line. Sculptural issues will be explored through the solution of design problems. The main emphasis of this course is the development of critical thinking skills as they apply to three dimensional art forms and to help you gain a deeper understanding of visual art.

This is a working studio course. Regular attendance is expected.

This is an A level course and is part of the general education program, "Invitation to Insight" and it fulfils the fine arts requirement. As such, the goals of the class as well as those stated above are to encourage you in:

Creative thinking

Informed engagement of works of art

Developing your vocabulary in art to be able to articulate visual ideas more fully.

Articulating how the ideas in this course illuminate understanding of all three dimensional art including Sculpture, Ceramics, Installation Art and Architecture


Topics to be covered include:

Explre creative design tools of Shapeways
Work with Tinkercad Software
Create an extended relief using radial symmetries
Explore the Platonic Solids
Archimedian solids
Stellated solids
Serial planes
Learn Blender 3D software
Render our forms using Blender

"The chief reason for studying regular polyhedra is still the same as in the time of the Pythagoreans, namely, that their symmetrical shapes appeal to one's artistic sense." ---H.S.M. Coxeter

Watch this explanation of Abbott's "Flatland" and how we might imagine the 4th dimension by Carl Sagan.... brilliant.

List of Projects:

Week 1, 2

Explore Shapeways 3D tools, upload screenshots to Google Drive

Begin work in Tinkercad. Create a relief using primitive shapes in Tinkercad

Exploring Other Dimensions: Flatland and the Third Dimension, TedEd 2013

The Golden Ratio... the Pentagram Symbolic meaning in geometry

Design a set of planes that describe a more complex 3D form

Week 3-4

Instuctables 8 short lessons to prepare you for 3D printing

Introduction to the 3D printer.

Print one of your Tinkercad designs

Week 5-6

Introduction to Blender Video tutorials for the beginner at

Neal Hirsig's Blender course videos from Tufts University

The viewport, creating first objects, manipilating objects, introduction to mesh modelling. The blender interface. Object mode/edit mode.

Week 7

Create a Bowl Video of my demonstrating this

Bowl with symmetrical holes video

Create Coffe Cup in Blender. Render it with basic lighting

Step by Step instructions

Week 8

Torus Bracelet video

Explore Materials and textures in Blender.
Realistic materials, rusted steel, etc.

Glass Bowl with cloth napkin video tutorial

Weeks 9 - 10

Advanced modelling and lighting

3 Bottles image

Video tutorial on how to create "3 bottles"

Keyboard Shortcut "Cheat Sheet" for Blender

Model cloth, falling on a pedestal.

Insert image in "world" as a background.

Weeks 11-12

More advanced design and rendering. Glass, porcelain, UV texture mapping, etc.

Weeks 13-14

Physics mode in Blender

Week 15

Finish up work, Organize and finalize Google Drive portfolio.

e-Portfolio Assignment: All work created this semester will be uploaded to Google Drive in a folder labeled 3D Design, Spring, 2017, "your name". Share the Drive folder with me by right clicking on the folder and choosing "Share". Enter Choose one or more of your best pieces to post in your e-Portfolio site along with a description of the project and how it explores the visual ideas discussed in class. Work found in your Drive will be one of the primary ways of assessing your accomplishments in this class.

Academic Expectations: Attend all classes, care about your work, make progress in the medium, help and cooperate with your classmates, take risks, make mistakes. Your grade will be based on the care you bring to your work and the successful completion of each assignment. As this is a workshop class, good attendance is assumed. Attendence is crucial. A maximum of 3 absences is allowed.

Tradition of Honor: As a member of the Albertus Magnus College Community, each student taking this course agrees to uphold the principles of honor set forth by this community, to defend these principles against abuse or misuse and to abide by the regulations of the College. To this end, every student must write and sign the following statement at the end of each examination: "I declare the Honor Pledge."

Tradition of Respect: In our class: 1) Everyone is allowed to feel they can work and learn in a safe and caring environment; 2) Everyone learns about, understands, appreciates, and respects varied races, classes, genders, physical and mental abilities, and sexualities; 3) Everyone matters; 4) All individuals are to be respected and treated with dignity and civility; and 5) Everyone shares the responsibility for making our class, and the College, a positive and better place to live, work, and learn.

Special Needs and Accommodations: Please advise the instructor of any special problems or needs at the beginning of the semester or mod. Those students seeking accommodation based on disabilities should provide a Faculty Contact Sheet obtained through the Academic Development Center in Aquinas Hall, (203) 773-8590.


 It is the responsibility of the student to officially drop or withdraw from a course.  However, failure to attend a course for 14 calendar days may result in an administrative withdrawal from the course. The policies on course withdrawals and administrative withdrawals may be found online at

Suggested Reading:

Wucius Wong, Principles of Three Dimensional Design
                     - Designing with the Computer

Zeier, Paper Constructions

Stevens, Peter, Structure in Nature is a Strategy for Design

                       -Patterns in Nature

Fuller, Buckminster, Synergetics, Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking

George Hart: Math professor and Sculptor at SUNY Stonybrook

Critchlow, Keith, Order in Space

Drawing Geometry: A Primer of Basic Forms for Artists, Designers, and Architects by Jon Allen Paperback $15.04

The Golden Section Discussion of historical references in ancient Greece.

Timaeus, Plato, 360 BC, Online at MIT

Discussion of Timaeus, Plato's "theory of everything", Platonic solids, Euclid, etc at

Polyhedra and Art, an excellent site by George Hart, Professor at SUNY Stonybrook
"Through history, polyhedra have been closely associated with the world of art. The peak of this relationship was certainly in the Renaissance."

The quadrivium—the classical curriculum—comprises the four liberal arts of number, geometry, music, and cosmology. It was studied from antiquity to the Renaissance as a way of glimpsing the nature of reality. Geometry is number in space; music is number in time; and cosmology expresses number in space and time. "Number, music, and geometry are metaphysical truths: life across the universe investigates them; they foreshadow the physical sciences. "

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The letters M and O
Tyler Donen from 3-D Course

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
::: Frank Lloyd Wright :::

Tyler Donan, Serial Planes

Tinkercad design

Student Work
Modular High Relief
Bristol board, Mat Board, 16" X 16"

Ted Gravel
Modular form
Shape Shifter, Tinkercad

Serial Planes
Ted Gravel

Octahedral Columns