Learnings Can be Applied to Industrial Design and More
Schoolcraft College’s upcoming Digital Sculpting Student Showcase is much more than an event to celebrate outstanding work – it’s also an opportunity to learn more about career opportunities in this exciting and in-demand field.
The Showcase, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17, in Waterman 205 of the VisTaTech Center on the main campus. A livestream also will be available. (Meeting ID: 872 2812 2371. Passcode: 447770.)
In Southeast Michigan, digital sculpting is most often associated with the automotive industry as professionals use Auto Desk Alias software to manipulate digital objects and surfaces of vehicles. For many years, the process of designing and refining the exterior and interior of a vehicle included a clay model that was painstakingly manipulated, millimeter by millimeter, by skilled artists.
Although clay models are still used by automotive designers on occasion, much of today’s design work is completed digitally to save time and resources. Other high-tech companies use digital sculpting as well for those same reasons.
Schoolcraft College’s Digital Sculpting program is run out of Personal and Professional Learning (PPL). To earn the Digital Sculptor Certificate, students need to complete four levels of classes, with Levels 1 and 3 offered in the Fall schedule and Levels 2 and 4 offered in the Winter schedule. All classes are offered virtually.
The instructor for the program is Don Lloyd, a Digital Sculptor at Nissan Design America. He spends most of his time creating and editing the aesthetic surfaces of the interiors and exteriors of Nissan vehicles using Auto Desk Alias software. “Digital sculpting is such a fulfilling career. Taking a sketch and turning it into the shapes that will be driving down the road is fun and challenging,” he said.
At the Showcase, Digital Sculpting graduates will share information about their educational journey through the program, images of their 3D sculpted designs, and their career aspirations.
“Potential employers are encouraged to attend as well because this is a great way to recruit new talent,” said Felicia Bannan, Programming and Promotions Coordinator, Personal and Professional Learning. “Students for the Digital Sculpting program can include high school graduates looking for a career opportunity, current Schoolcraft College students enrolled in an occupational program, or professionals who need this skill to advance.”
Student Success Stories
David Torres is just such an example of a professional looking to add skills. He was working as a designer for Rivian, which manufactures electric vehicles and has operations in Plymouth, when he heard about the class. He attended from 2019-2021.
Now relocated to the Rivian design studios in California, Torres puts what he learned into practice each day.
“I work as a physical clay modeler and work closely with designers and CAD modelers on a daily basis,” Torres said. “Taking these courses made me even more aware of what a digital modeler has to achieve in a day. It helps me construct surfaces quicker and simpler just like I would in Alias.
“It helps me do my clay modeling job better, and in turn, helps me understand Alias better. So it’s truly a symbiotic relationship making me a better industrial artist.”
Martin Senger also works in the automotive field. He started in Schoolcraft College’s program in 2017.
“I had been learning traditional CAD modeling when I discovered the Schoolcraft Digital Sculpting program,” he said. “It’s a subset of 3D modeling that I wasn’t aware of – a unique blend of creating concept models and developing CAD data with a focus on producing beautiful surfaces.”
Like David Torres, he’s also applying what he learned in his profession.
“I work with Alias to help take ‘A-surface’ design models and apply engineering criteria to create automotive interior and exterior final production parts,” he said. “Digital sculpting with Alias is a unique blend of art and science. This class will provide you with a solid foundation in the requisite skill set for this in-demand career.”
Mary Ryan appreciated the flexibility in the class structure.
“I really enjoyed how detail-oriented each class was,” she said. “(After a move out of state), I was able to continue online and record the class meetings. This was very helpful because as I worked on my assignments, I could go back and review details that maybe I did not catch during the live class.
“This allowed me to grasp much more and create better work. I’m very grateful for Schoolcraft’s flexibility.”
Ryan, who attended classes from the summer of 2020 to the spring of 2022, has a background in knit textile production and soft product design. “I thought this class would be a great addition to my education,” she said. “CAD modeling and 3D printing is becoming a part of more and more industries, so I think Digital Sculpting is a great skill to learn.”
Levels 1 and 3 of Digital Sculpting will be offered in PPL’s Fall 2022 schedule, which will be available online June 20. Registration will open July 20.