Daniel De León


Daniel is a cross-disciplinary thinker, digital artist / sculptor, instructor, and clinician with a strong and diverse background in both the Arts and Sciences. Daniel also has extensive experience using 3D Printing as a creative medium for his personal and professional work. Most recently, he had the opportunity to work with a team on an ambitious, larger than life statue of Moses for a Sight and Sound Theater production.

Mold3D: Hi Daniel, thank you for taking the time to talk to our audience! Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

Daniel: Hey guys! Thank you so much for the invitation to interview! It's a pleasure.

I'm a professional freelance 3D Artist & Fabricator, working in Film, Games, & Stage Prop & Set 3D Design & Fabrication. I'm also a passionate Cetacean/Animal Advocate, (and proud Corgi parent), striving to intertwine my interests with my artistic skills through a core belief that the arts are where culture is formed and influenced. 

Mold3D: You recently had a hand in creating a printed/CNC produced statue of Moses for a theater prodution. It's one epic print! Can you tell us a little bit about your involvement and the process for creating the statue.

Daniel: During my time with Sight & Sound the Co-President and Chief Creative Officer Josh Enck came to me with his idea for a large-scale statue of Moses parting the Red Sea, including general size and pose (based on the show's poster) 

Mold3D:  What 3D software did you use and how long did the modeling process take?

Daniel: ZBrush almost entirely. I only used Maya for scaling to exact, real-world measurements.

The modeling process took the better part of several months due to the creation of several iterations, and back & forth conversations with Josh.

Mold3D: How many pieces was the final statue?

I might be off by one or two since I don't personally have the sliced model (the CNC engineer might have the exact number) but excluding the base (which was 70% carved with a chainsaw and other semi-traditional tools by my Scene Shop co-worker). The final statue was composed of around 25 separately custom sliced pieces to be assembled like a giant 3D puzzle.

Mold3D: What other 3D prints have you done, either personally or professionally?

Zbrush model of the Moses Statue

Daniel: Many while I was at S&S; Every major set piece was 3D modeled to scale in ZBrush, Maya, and/or Modo, and I was part of a three-man 3D modeling team, so 3D Printing was an almost daily activity with the in-house SLS ZCorp 450.

Late last year I did an insane amount of 3D printing for a juried court trial. My client needed me to model and 3D print a massive (5 foot long, 4 foot deep, 6 inch high) wing of the building based solely on the buildings original construction plans/blueprints.

 All in all it was a massive undertaking, requiring several months and the purchase of my own MakerBot and lots of white filament, which everything was printed with, along with some assistance from MakerBot Support in NYC who printed several of the final pieces for me when my printer's extruder clogged and failed to continue working. 

Today finds me printing many maquettes of sea life I've personally sculpted/modeled for my film pitch using ZBrush, Makerware 7, and my MakerBot Replicator 2. 

Mold3D: What is your 3D tool of choice? 

Daniel:  ZBrush: The beauty of this program is that it allows an artist to work in the most naturalistic way possible digitally. I love how fast you can create form in various ways then, Dynamesh it, ZRemesh it, and continue with it's development in a viewport that's one of the best out there.

Mold3D:  What innovation do you hope to see for the 3D printing industry in the next five years?

Daniel:  Faster build times for larger prints, more robust and user-friendly slicing software, and much more affordable SLA printers likened to the quality of Objet's amazing machines.

Mold3D:  What are you most excited about regarding the 3D printing industry?

Daniel:  The medical applications and potential for nano-particle-infused materials. 

Mold3D: Are you working on any side projects? If so, can you tell us about them?

Daniel:  An epic ocean/cetacean focused film pitch which, if successfully greenlit/funded I'm confident will astound and inspire people the world over giving them something they've truly never seen before.

Mold3D: Do you have a 3D printer? If so, what kind and how have your experiences been with it so far?

Daniel:  Yes. A MakerBot Replicator 2 (4th Gen). As is the case with most consumer available 3D Printers (from what I've read, heard, & experienced myself) It's been a love / hate relationship, though as I've been learning a lot from countless hours of experience spent working with it, I'm growing to love it more and more overall. :) Would LOVE to get my hands on a quality SLA printer like Objet's Pro, Eden, or Connex lines, a Form1+ and/or a larger FDM printer such as the Z18 to really see what I can do! ;) 

Mold3D:  Thank you Daniel for taking the time to talk to us. We look forward to seeing more of your 3D Print work in the near future.

To see more of Daniel's work, check out his website!