In an article referring to Lino Tagliapietra that I wrote, I mentioned his involvement in a project with MIT Glass Lab that produced a nice piece of open-source software, called VirtualGlass. Based on my initial playtime with the software, I believe it can help the glass artist put their colour and pattern ideas together for glass rod (cane) design before physically creating them in the flame (very useful for the torchworker/lampworker), and for developing designs when twisting and shaping glass vessels (in glass blowing and fusing). Could it save costs during experimentation? Let’s see in 2016!

As a quick introduction to the software, the colour palettes in the software are based on Reichenbach, Gaffer and Kugler at the moment, but who knows if Bullseye, Northstar, Effetre Murano, and all the other amazing glass producers, will come on-board later.

As you can see in the screenshot below, it is pretty straightforward to make your selections.

 

Glass colour palettes in the VirtualGlass software interface

Glass colour palettes in the VirtualGlass software interface

 

Building a specification for a rod (cane) is performed in the left-most panel, after which you can customise further using the options presented in the lower centre panel to design cane layouts, and, on the lower right panel for the vessel shape and twisting. For cane design, you can use this first option, as shown here, or choose the ‘customise’ button to drag nodes into the shape you want.

 

Selecting the colours, the canes and the piece type

Selecting the colours, the canes and the piece type

 

Here is another very simple example of changing the cane layout on the hoof, as shown next.

And as you revise the layout, the colours transfer automatically though you will need to re-organise them a little. The design on the right is automatically updating as you make changes, which helps in calibrating the design ideas. I really like this software!!

 

Selecting the colours, the canes and the piece type

Selecting the colours, the canes and the piece type

 

Designing the cane can get as complex as you want here! I marvel at the possibilities in the software, which probably means I have not pushed myself in my own cane creation. But all in good time!

 

Selecting the rod (cane) specification

Selecting the rod (cane) specification

 

VirtualGlass offers example files for download, as shown below. You can configure these and save the new versions, building up your own  glass cane library.

There are also additional options in the Example menu for cane and piece (vessel) complexity.

 

Example file to download from the VirtualGlass website

Example file to download from the VirtualGlass website

 

The VirtualGlass website has a ‘getting started’ tutorial and the software is free, so no excuses!

Originally published: Sunday, January 10th, 2016 at 06:18 in Industrialism, Modeling

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