Home Back Issues April 2012 Making it real

Making it real

| Print |  Email
Articles - April 2012
Thursday, March 22, 2012

BY JON BELL

0412_GamePlan_AdditiveWorkshop
Additive Workshop in Wilsonville is a 3-D digital modeling studio.

Rob Arps, founder of Wilsonville-based 3-D digital modeling studio Additive Workshop, had a moment of enlightenment in 2000 with a bald eagle, a laser and a chunk of mahogany.

A 1994 fine arts graduate of the University of Oregon, Arps began his career helping local artists scale up their sculptures. He later moved to New York, where for five years he headed the creation department for a company specializing in professional sports and country club logos.

One of his projects there was to sculpt a bald eagle out of clay, digitally scan it and have a Computer Numerical Control router carve the eagle in mahogany. He remembers watching the router carving the eagle perfectly and thinking about the potential of the technology.

“Basically, you can take something from the real world, manipulate it virtually in any way you can think of and then bring it back into the real world,” says Arps, who moved back to Oregon with his wife in 2005. “Michelangelo would be all over this.”

Fascinated by the artistic and commercial possibilities, Arps invested $50,000 in a CNC router, a scanning and software system and launched Additive Workshop in his basement in 2005. He initially worked with local artists, but quickly expanded into the commercial realm. Within the first year, he’d outgrown his basement; Additive is now stretching the seams at its 10,000-square-foot studio.

Masterpiece Investments, a Wilsonville firm, acquired Additive in 2010, a move that has allowed the company to grow. The parent company has plans for an IPO in the near future.

With 22 employees, Additive blends traditional sculpting techniques with the latest technology to precisely enlarge or reduce artwork. Artists will bring their work to Additive, where it is digitally scanned to make a 3-D model, resized to almost any dimension from a 2-inch figurine to a 60-foot monument, then milled out of foam or other material. The final product can be cast in anything from bronze to hardwood.

The bulk of Additive’s business these days comes from marketing, advertising and entertainment. The company has made 12-foot basketball players for Nike, a 27-foot dragon for Wynn Casino and the 65-foot Spirit Bear for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Additive’s scanning technology already achieves “sub-fingerprint” details — about .0006 of an inch — and Arps sees it only getting better. He says Additive will continue to expand its advertising and entertainment work, but other possibilities, such as accurately preserving artistic data for institutions like the Smithsonian or the Louvre await as well.

“Imagine what we could do for places like that,” Arps says.

 

More Articles

Books Rule

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JON BELL

Powell's stays relevant in the digital age.


Read more...

Revenge Forestry

November/December 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG

A flare-up in the Elliott Forest raises questions about détente in Oregon’s timber wars.


Read more...

Grape Expectations

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Well-financed outsiders from France and California are buying up vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley.


Read more...

Shuffling the Deck

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JON BELL

Oregon tribes still bet on casinos.


Read more...

Shifting Ground

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Bans on genetically modified crops create uncertainty for farmers.


Read more...

I Know How You Feel

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Most smartphones come equipped with speech recognition systems like Siri or Cortana that are capable of understanding the human voice and putting words into actions. But what if smartphones could do more? What if smartphones could register feeling?


Read more...

Kill the Meeting

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Meetings get a bad rap. A few local companies make them count.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS