Threedscans.com is a website created by artist Oliver Laric cataloguing a collection of 3D scans made over the last few years. Every scan on the website can be downloaded for free and used without any copyright restrictions.
I started working with a museum in Lincoln in the UK called The Collection in 2012, to digitize part of their collection. This was funded by an award by the Contemporary Art Society in London that allowed us to buy a good 3D scanner and post produce models. We created a website lincoln3dscans.co.uk which gave access to all the models.
Since then I’ve continued working with more museums, and using exhibition opportunities for further scans. Of course this has always been a negotiation, in getting a museum to agree to let data circulate online without any financial compensation and without holding on to any copyright of the scan. The objects are all in the public domain, but there is still effort in making these scans, but I’m not claiming any copyright on them. They are free to circulate.
It has been exciting to see how these 3D models develop. Many of the first scans have been downloaded over 100.000 times. The model of a neo-classicist sculpture from the 19th century has been particularly popular:
It has even been used for the backdrop of the Eurovision finale 2015.
Many of the more recent objects that I’ve been scanning have a relationship ideas of distribution and contact, such as lifemasks or sculptures cast directly from object.
One series of scans is of so called „photosculptures“. This is an invention from 1860 by the french photographer François Willème, who patented a technology that closely resembles 3D scanning and 3D printing. He positioned his subject in a circular space surrounded by 24 cameras that take a single image at the same time. The silhouette of each photograph is cut out of wooden boards and sliced together. The process allowed the production of a sculpture within a few days for the fraction of the price a more subjective interpretation would have cost. Its oddly close to the current shops in cities in which you can get yourself scanned and printed in various sizes.