Strange Attractor Wire sculpture
Open Cuboctahedron
Three Dimensional Design
Albertus Magnus College
Jerry Nevins, Professor
773-8546, office
Office: 203 Aquinas Hall
email me



Class Blog, Mod4, 2018


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:

Learn Blender 3D Software
Create an extended relief using radial symmetries
Explore the Platonic Solids
Archimedian solids
Grid arrays
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. Write 1 paragraph response on the class blog.

List of Projects:

Introduction to class.

Link to Blender Shortcuts "Cheat Sheet"

Video tutorials for the beginner at

Neal Hirsig's Blender course videos from Tufts University

Begin work in Blender. Learn to create, rotate, scale and extrude basic mesh objects.

Video 1, How to navigate in Blender The viewport, creating first objects, manipilating objects, introduction to mesh modelling. The blender interface. Object mode/edit mode.

Watch Video here.

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

1. Project 1, Open Face Polygon. create a open faced wireframe form in Blender, render it using lighting and materials. 3 forms/views. Post images to class blog (online). Emphasis: The Grid as organizing element.

Watch Video on how to do this here.

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

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

2. Project 2, Serial Planes Develop a volumetric form using a series of graduated planes, that is a sequential and gradual variation of each plane. Emphasis Repetition and Gradation

Watch Video on how to do this here:

View some options here

3. Project 3: Modular High Relief Develop a geometric 3D pattern using identical planar geometric units.  Focus: Repetition Use Wireframe modifier to create open face polyhedron. Repeat in a 6X6 grid using array modifier. Emphasis: Repetition, Unity

Watch demonstration video here:

Project 4: Radial Organic Structure Watch video here.

Project 5: Mesh modeling bowls, bottles glasses using concentric circle meshes. Emphasis- Contour

Create a Bowl Video of my demonstrating this (project 5)

Project 6:   Bowl with symmetrical holes video

Project 7: Create Coffe Cup in Blender. Render it with basic lighting

Step by Step instructions

Project 8: Explore wire sculptures Step by Step using “Strange Attractor” plugin for blender, found on github.  add curve>attractors>Aizawa / add curve>circle/ Select attractor/ click on curve properties icon/ In Geometry section in the dropdown “Bevel Object, choose Bezier Circle/ now select Bezier circle and scale it down to make wire. Add a plane, s20, set it/ select lamp, Sun size 1 use nodes, strength 6/ world, darker/select plane, new material, glossy roughness .1/ select sculpture, new > glossy, roughness .2, choose golden color.  Use GPU render.  Render settings 100% render 300 samples, Layers/denoising Focus: Curvilinear linear form

Watch demonstration video here.

Project 9:   Nesting Glass Cubes

Video how to on nested cubes here.

Nested cubes part 2... watch Video!

Step by Step instructions

Project 10:     Torus Bracelet video

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

Project 11:      Glass Bowl with cloth napkin video tutorial

Model cloth, falling on a pedestal.

Insert image in "world" as a background.

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

Physics mode in Blender... Cloth simulations

Project 12. Organic Sculpture with base. Create a harmonious form using a low poly shape you have altered by pulling vertices, edges and faces, then using subdivide modifier, render it in steel or marble.  Make the base a contrasting material/color. Focus: Transition

Video here...

Part one, mesh modeling starting with cube Video here.


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, 2018, "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. Expect to save 45-70 images

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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Radial array of altered cubes

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

Project 1: Open face polyhedron
Stainless Steel render

Student Work
Project 3, Modular High Relief
Bristol board, Mat Board, 16" X 16"

Project 2
Serial Planes

Serial Planes
Project 2

Octahedral Columns