Project Four: Mermaid and Wave Interference Hybrid Phenomenon

Based on the proposal, I elaborated on the idea of wave interference from Project Two. Since I have a background in Fine Arts, I took the idea conceptually and created 3-D printed sculptures, which called “Mermaid and Wave Interference Hybrid Phenomenon”,

Wave interference is the phenomenon that occurs when two waves meet with the same traveling medium, and forms a shape from the net effect. Mermaid is a mythical phenomenal creature that I work a lot with for the theme of underwater. Since both phenomena are very rare, and hiding from being witnessed, the concept behind this project is to merge the phenomena and generate a hybrid mermaid phenomenon that interferes with wave interference.

Why 3-D printed sculptures?

Most people are using 3-D printing machines to create something functional that fits with the idea of mass-production. I would like to share an interesting fact with you that artists are usually the first one that put their hands on new technology. We really want to take advantage of new technology for producing art to get different results.

My sculptures are small, it is very labor intensive and time consuming to create something small with fine details by hands. For Rhino, I can zoom in and out, and model the piece with fine details without thinking of the small size issue.

Moreover, making the piece 3-D printable allows accessibility in reproduction  I can make several prints in the choice of different printing materials, and take advantage of different materials to portray different aesthetic effects from the same piece. It also provides accessibility in private and public collections.


Although this course is about using Grasshopper, I mostly modeled the piece in Rhino and chose to apply the concept that I learned in Grasshopper to help me model.

The commands that I used in Rhino for modelling:
-Sweep 1 Rail
-Blend Surface

The wave interference pattern was created by Grasshopper. Since I got criticized for the definition that I used in Project Two, I made a new definition based on last year blog and my research.

1. Created a square grid with points.
2. Created positions of two seed points.
3. Merged them all together to two equations (Sin(((x-a)^2+(y-b)^2)^.5))
4. Added them together
5. Created points from the addition
6: Created a flatten curve from the points
7. Lofted the curve

I played with different equations and positions of two seed points. However, I picked the most intriguing result for my piece when two equations are Sin(((x-a)^2+(y-b)^2)^.5), 1st seed point is at (12,12), and 2nd seed point is at (27,27).

Here’s a video that shows the process:

I also used Grasshopper to help me create hair for the mermaid.

1. Created three curves in Rhino
2. Lofted the curves
3. Divided the surface in different Us and Vs
4. Used the “Interpolate” component to make curves in the direction that I wanted in the lofted surface that looks like this:

5. Baked the curves into Rhino
6. Rebuilt to my ideal form and piped the curves in Rhino


My first print in white plastic (5cm x 5cm x 2cm).


The first print was too fragile and did not turn out that well, so I decided to refined the piece (the arm, fins, and hair) and enlarged it to 6cm x 6cm x 2.5cm.


Jesse suggested me to take advantage of different printing materials, and print the wave part in rubber that is flexible and fits the concept of wave more. Nonetheless, I think that printing in two colors will destroy the piece because the piece is already so detailed and colors will distract the aesthetic form. Here’s the proof:

Jesse also suggested me to print the entire piece in two materials and display them as a diptych to compare and contrast two artifacts. Thus, I decided to print the entire piece in white plastic and black rubber; the detail is finer in white plastic, and the flexibility of rubber reinforces the idea of wave.

White Plastic Rendering

White Plastic Sculpture

Black Rubber Rendering

Black Rubber Sculpture


Project Four: Proposal

I would like to take this final project from the experience that I learned in project 2 and continue exploring with wave interference. Based on last year blog and my research, I found a definition that could create wave interference surface that looks like this:

I have been working with the theme about underwater for a while. I usually work with mermaids for the theme, and I think the idea of mermaids fit in the concept of wave interference really well. Since mermaids are a mythical phenomenal creature, both the mermaid and the interference are phenomena that cannot be witnessed easily. In certain way, you could say that they try to hide themselves and not to be witnessed. As you all know, I am a fine art student and I want to create a 5cm x5cm x2cm sculpture, something aesthetic the depicts both phenomena merging together that generates a very rare phenomenonI want to create a hybrid mermaid that tries to hide away by the interference. To push the concept of hiding further, the mermaid will be facing down at the wave, which is a position of hiding, without showing her face and one of her arms.

Here’s a link of my website to give you an idea about my artwork.

I will model the mermaid in Rhino and use the interference that created in Grasshopper for the base. I will project the pattern on the bottom of the mermaid as well and make them more integrated. I would also like to use Grasshopper to create the texture of her hair.

This is what I have done so far: a water-tight tail and the wavy pattern surface.

CHANGES TO THE CLASS (to be cleaned up later)

Some changes we decided on January 30:


1) We’re going to have a workshop/make-up class on Saturday, February 17th starting at 10AM, details TBA

2) We’re going to redefine the major projects and orient them towards a SNAG exhibit that Greg Phillips, Greg Sims and I are organizing

3) We’re going to start meeting in Room 8305 at 230 Richmond Street (3rd floor) as of February 6th.

4) Jesse will revise the Course Outline to reflect all of this by February 6th.