Computational Hydrographic Printing-A Revolutionary Method for Adding Intricate Colors to 3D Models
Professor Kun Zhou’s Lab under Department of Computer Science, Zhejinag University has developed this amazing technology of computational hydrographic printing to revolutionize the way 3D models colored with 2D films.
Standard hydrographic printing, also known as water transfer printing, starts with printing color to a sheet of thin, transparent 2D film. Then the film is transferred to a tub of water and special chemicals are added to make the film soft and sticky. As you dig the 3D object into the tank above the film, it wraps around the model, the color bonds to the object’s surface.
The key difference between the standard hydrographic printing and the computational hydrographic printing as they named it, is apparently “COMPUTATIONAL”. They developed the software that accurately simulates the change of shape that happens to the film after the object is dipped into the liquid and then map the 3D contoured color surface back to 2D graphics. After this mapping process, the generated 2D graphics can be printed with regular printer onto a thin PVA film. When the object is dipped into the chemical tank with the PVA film underlined, the film will wrap around the model quickly and sticks tightly to it, creating a fantastic result of colored models. Let’s take a closer look at this clever process step by step.
Print 3D model and make it polished
Software simulates the contours of shape and map to 2D image
Print the 2D image to PVA film with inkjet printer
Dip the 3D Object into the tank with chemicals inside with PVA film under
The film wraps around the object and sticks to it