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Dec 2, 2019

As many of our followers know, the Choc Edge Team is a group of individuals who are not only passionate about 3D printing in chocolate, but also about international relations (particularly Anglo-Chinese alliances), and the positive changes that come about through building bridges and learning from other countries and cultures.

We are therefore very proud to announce that last month, on 22nd November 2019, the WHBBA (Wuhan British Business Association) was formally established in Wuhan, making headline news in both China and the United Kingdom.

Choc Edge Ltd was one of the leading businesses that worked to forge the WHBBA, an international platform that connects, supports and provides meaningful exchanges between Wuhan and the United Kingdom, with the aim to promote the conditions for trade and commerce, as well as the development of new businesses which may otherwise never come to fruition without the unique relationship the WHBBA is building.

The United Kingdom has a long history in Wuhan, the capital and largest city of the Chinese province of Hubei, renowned for being the the most populous city in central China with a population of over 10 million. Many organizations in the UK have strong partnerships in Wuhan that can be traced back decades, and Choc Edge Ltd is a prime example of a business started in the UK that now collaborates with the vast amount of talent Wuhan offers. The founding of the WHBBA promises to be an important platform to help exchanges and interactions between British and Chinese companies, and since it is the first endeavor of this kind on this scale, the potential to create other powerful links to other cities around the world is enormous.

We are very proud to be a part of this momentious chapter in the development of stronger, more empowering international trade relations.

 

Feb 4, 2018

With Christmas just passed and Valentine's Day on its way, it's during these winter months that we give the most gifts to family, friends and loved ones.

One member of our team received an interesting self-help book designed to increase one's ability to master complicated tasks by consciously changing the way in which we think. The content of the book was all quite complicated even for our expert scientists, but it did spark a conversation about something called Positive Imaginative Restriction which appeared in one of the book's passages. Positive Imaginative Restriction relates to controlling the imaginative thought process so as to be able to approach tasks in a manner which instinctively focuses on the achievable elements and automatically blocks the consideration of anything unachievable. Incidentally, this kind of thought process plays an important part in designing suitable models for 3D chocolate printing. So what does Positive Imaginative Restriction mean in terms of the way in which we think?

Put simply, Positive Imaginative Restriction is the concept of training one's mind to start the imaginative process at the simplest possible point and increase the complexity of the idea in gentle steps, rather than starting at a point where one's imagination is already running wild and overcomplicating itself. This concept is particularly applicable to both new 3D chocolate designers and their clients, neither of whom may have a great deal of experience when it comes to the possibilities and limitations of printing in chocolate.

The example of Positive Imaginative Restriction given in the aforementioned self-help book featured a group of people (the test subjects) drawing out a maze/labyrinth. When asked to draw a maze/labyrinth, no matter how simple the final result would be, the test subjects instinctively responded by aiming to sketch what they deemed a maze/labyrinth to be - a highly complicated layout of linework with multiple confusing routes and a single successful path. As you may have expected, the majority of the results were flawed and impossible to navigate, as the test subjects had aimed to depict what their mind had envisioned as the 'gut reaction' to the term 'maze/labyrinth'. However, a small number of the subjects started with a very simple direct route, and then slowly added a false route, then another, and so on. The experiment demonstrated that a small number of people in the randomly chosen group displayed a greater control over their imaginative thinking, consciously or subconsciously aware of the necessity to start a complicated task (the drawing of a maze/labyrinth) in its simplest possible form. Still confused? Well, so were we until we described it to each other in a way more relevant to the work we do.

To provide you with our example; When one's mind is unconditioned to think in a restrictive (yet still positive) imaginative capacity, the mention of the word [example] "bicycle" may instantly conjure thoughts of the type of detailed frame and spokework used to construct an ultra-slim racing bicycle - a structure that is unsurprisingly a challenge to translate effectively into a miniature chocolate sculpture. When practicing Positive Imaginative Restriction as a 3D chocolate designer, the mind's initial reaction to the term "bicycle" would most likely be to print a 2D chocolate drawing, analyzing the possibilities of 2D-relief before carrying the thought process towards a 2.75D construction of the frame, wheels, handlebars, etc. Finally, the designer may attempt a true/direct 3D print, which may prove no more satisfactory than the 2D or 2.75D construction. Starting at the most complex point and working backwards to simplify an idea often has a negative psychological effect on both the designer and client, with a sense of losing details and compromising heavily, rather than gaining details and pushing a design to the limits of the technology.

Positive Imaginative Restriction is the conditioning of the human brain to automatically consider set restrictions and limitations while still maintaining a high level of creativity by adding details and complexities to ideas and concepts in a gradual process - Why not try the maze/labyrinth test? Novice 3D chocolate designers following this process will find they spend far less time rendering designs only to find they simply cannot be printed.

 

 

Mar 14, 2017

Despite the endless possibilities for creating unique miniature 3D chocolates, our chocolatier users occasionally come to us during periods of "designer's block" for inspiration and advice.

Much like writer's block, starting a design session with a blank canvas can be quite daunting, especially when the software, hardware (Choc Creator V2.0 Plus) and methodology is completely new to the user.

The process of rendering a 3D model can be a challenge even for an experienced user who knows exactly what they want to achieve, so here's some advice our design team have previously given users who had plenty of freshly tempered chocolate at hand but were fresh out of ideas.

Design isn't all about software and technology - It's also about training your eyes to see everything in a way that sends sparks of inspiration to the creative part of the brain. As a starting point, purchase a pocket sketchpad - This will be your new best friend in the fight to overcome designer's block. Take a pencil and draw the outline of a 4x4x4cm cube to scale, which will act as your design canvas and help to condition your mind to work only within the limitations of these measurements. Any ideas for 3D models can be sketched inside the cube using a thick marker pen, and anything that cannot comfortably fit inside the cube can be quickly discarded as it won't likely work as a design. For inspiration, step out of the studio and spend an afternoon with your sketchbook in the city. Visit any local parks, florists, museums or streets with unusual architecture. The aim of the visit is to look at things with very different eyes, focusing on the shapes and structures of both organic and man-made objects. Pay attention to any forms that sprout upwards, twist, intertwine, or have a structural pattern. Inspiration for miniature 3D objects can be found everywhere in almost anything.

For standard chocolate printing, color information is not important, as is the need for any areas of fine detail, so anyone looking for a challenge can try training their eyes to see only the kinds of simple shapes they need to. As with some of the most beautiful paintings and sculptures ever created, forms don't need to be figurative to be exciting or appealing - Complex objects and figurative shapes can be broken down into simple abstract (non-figurative) forms that retain much of the beauty and excitement of the original.

Take our UnUlam Spiral design as an example; The idea for this design came from glancing at a textbook of math problems. The spiral was carefully rendered in 3D software, and the final model was twisted and skewed before exporting it as an STL. When printed, the 0.8mm lines of chocolate created a ribbed effect that added to the pattern of lines travelling in multiple directions.

For those users who really want to get a feel for 3D abstract art, we recommend visiting a sculpture gallery in your area or taking a look at an online gallery.

If you're interested in getting creative with 3D chocolate printing, contact our sales team for a Choc Creator V2.0 Plus quote.

 

 

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