Teaching ceramic prototype design with Shapr3D

EducationFront Page Display

May 05

Angelo is 63-year-old ceramic artist and teacher in Italy. He was tired of doing hand written sketches after 40 years and was looking for an easy-to-use, intuitive 3D modeling tool. That’s when he found Shapr3D.

Angelo is 63-year-old ceramic artist and teacher in Italy. He was tired of doing hand written sketches after 40 years in the field and was looking for an easy-to-use, intuitive 3D modeling tool. Also, he wanted to bring innovation to the classroom for ceramic prototype design. Shapr3D was the solution to both of his challenges.

Can you tell us about your background?

My name is Angelo Maria Celeste, I was born in Italy at Santa Croce di Magliano in 1954. I am 63 years old. After my basic education, I decided to continue my studies in the field of arts. Spent 5 years at the Artistic Institute in Isernia and specialized in Ceramic Arts. Later I joined the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, getting a degree in painting. At the Academy, I started my work as an artist in contemporary art.

Currently, I teach Design Disciplines of Ceramic Arts at the Art High School “Francesco Arcangeli” in Bologna.

Besides teaching ceramic arts, I also practice the field myself.

Teaching and designing can require very different skills. How do you manage this?

The ceramic sector requires intensive manual skills. You need manual skills to realize an object that comes to your mind.

Over time you develop an intuition. But it’s a big challenge as a teacher to transfer that knowledge in theory.

As a creator, you need to create the models, not talk about it. But as a teacher, you also have to get your ideas and philosophy across as well. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean the students will understand it.

To overcome this challenge, I was looking for a CAD drawing program that would fit my needs. Drawing on paper is good, but takes way too much time. Especially when you have to throw out the idea you were working on. I am good with pen and paper and technical drawings, they just take too long to create. So I needed a program to get out of the old traditional design way and upgrade my workflow with a new drawing program.

I have tried many programs, but nothing seemed to work for me. They were boring, difficult to learn, and hard to see the end result.

I needed a fast, magical and amazing CAD design program with which I could refresh and regain confidence as a teacher and artist in design. I didn’t want to continue using a pencil and rulers. I just couldn’t tolerate those anymore in 2017.

During the summer of 2016, I saw a video of Shapr3D on Youtube. It was love at first sight. I immediately bought an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil. The rest is history.

The quickness, the appearances, the movements of the three-dimensional shapes, I found astonishing. To a person like me who loves creative craftsmanship and manual work, this fast design technology allows me to quickly design and view my objects. I no longer need to create everything by hand or draw for hours on paper. I can realize my idea quickly with Shapr3D.

I am not a professional of this era, you can tell. But personal pride and the need to keep up with the present pushed me to “innovate” in design and teachnig as well.

Have you tried other 3D tools before?

Oh yes. But pretty much all of them were highly demanding time-wise and results were not satisfying for me. I eventually gave up using any 3D tool for a while and went back to handmade sketches. I have to admit though, the quality of Rhino is very good for those who understand its mechanisms. But it takes an awful lot of time to learn it. Many non-technical users want to get the most out of a tool with the least amount of energy. Spending years of practice on a tool is very demanding. As a teacher and artist I have to optimize my time, so a good, time-saving tool was essential for me.

How does your workflow look like?

I use the screenshot function a lot. That’s an essential part of my workflow. Instead of using stock of images from the internet, I can quickly create my own models and take pictures of it. It allows me to experiment with objects and share those with others as well.

When I add colors to the models that also helps articulate my ideas. As a teacher, I can not only tell students what my idea is but can quickly show it to them. The workflow of teaching and getting an idea across just became so much faster this way.

Also, I can quickly go from 2D (orthographic) view to 3D view in a matter of seconds. If you wanted to create the shapes on paper you would have to draw it from multiple angles. That takes too much time. With Shapr3D you can go around an object and explore them from every angle.

Understanding objects that do not exist materially means that you have to find a way to represent that shape somehow.

Early sketches, drawings with a traditional pencil are still valuable tools at the beginning of a design phase. But it can be a very long, iterative process to get to an object from abstraction. Sometimes that time spent on visualizing the idea is just not worth it. You can sketch something for 2 reasons in my opinion. To save the idea or to make it better. Shapr3D helps in both as I can save my work anywhere I want to without internet access. And I can go back and edit it as well. It really helps me evolve and improve the quality of an idea.

Hand sketches are important though, those are still the foundation of visualization. My students still use traditional tools in schools (pen, pencil, ruler, paper). So you still need those skills for ceramic prototype design, but I always encourage them to try out digital tools too. Shapr3D is one of these very useful tools.

Can you share projects from your students?

Absolutely. Here are three projects that we have done lately.

Brocca porta fiori

The idea of this flower holder/vase came from Mario Salineri. The design and construction of the ceramic prototype were done by me (Professor Angelo Maria Celeste). On these pictures you can see the different desings and views made in Shapr3D and the final handmade version as well.


Set di vasi fiore

The realization of the project and the ceramic prototype was done by me, the idea came from Fughelli Alessia.

Vaso per carta igienica

This project, called toilet paper holder came from Chiara Zucchini.

At the school we even have an exhibition of the final ceramics. We have screenshots from the app printed out and the final objects below it.

I find this to be a great way to showcase our work and teach students how to visualize ideas and than turn those into reality.

What was an important learning from Shapr3D?

I am 63, and I don’t speak any English. I still managed to learn the program.

(Note: this interview was conducted in Italian and then translated to English.)

That is remarkable, I think. This is a real demonstration that Shapr3D is a very intuitive program.

The support of the Shapr3D team has been great. They have been helping me via emails in Italian and video tutorials to learn using the program. They even offered me to talk over Skype. But I have no idea what Skype is or how to use it. 🙂

Besides teaching I also experiment with visualizing ideas, like here with this museum exhibition space.


Where do you use the program?

I mainly use Shapr3D at home. I can better focus there. I do not bring my iPad Pro to the workplace. But I do bring the images of the projects with me on a USB stick (pen drive). I can examine those on my computer in my lab. So my main output from the app is a lot of screenshots of objects. Sometimes I generate more than 30 images of one object, from every angle. It gives me a good view of every detail.

What do you think of the iPad Pro?

I bought the iPad Pro only to use Shapr3D. The combination of iPad Pro and Shapr3D helped to grow my skills. It really made me a better and faster artist and teacher. I have a very positive experience so far. In my humble opinion, in the field of design, the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil combination is superior to designing on a laptop.

I can only recommend Shapr3D to anyone who is interested in turning ideas into reality. Even if you are an artist or a teacher.