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CAD/CAM versus handmade


#1

Was: How hard is engraving to do?

I really think you are off the mark when you imply that the tool
will always determine the result. 

I can’t imagine what part of my post gave you that impression. This
is old subject. CAD/CAM versus handmade. It is not directly related
to the engraving but I do have few thoughts on a subject.

An article of jewellery comprised of many components. There are
and metals; proper use of tools; properly applied
techniques; appropriate design; and the last but not the least is the
talent. Theoretically if we combine the best of everything, we have a
masterpiece. However this is remarkably rare.

I have a point of view that the only variations which are acceptable
are metal, and talent. Valuable gemstones can be used with
inexpensive metals and vise versa. One does not have to have talent
equitable to Leonardo de Vinci to be a successful jewellery designer,
but I do require appropriate design and correct use of tools and
technique.

To use CAD/CAM as a tool to create an article a jewellery, the
design must take into account the strong and weak point of CAD/CAM
process. I have no problem when used that way.

I start having problems when CAD/CAM is used to imitate the results
obtainable with traditional metalsmithing techniques. The results are
always inferior to the real article. It has nothing to do with
operator experience and abilities. It has to do with the technique
itself. Even the most talented musician in a world cannot make drum
to sound like a piano and the same is true about CAD/CAM. Traditional
techniques were developed to compensate for the human deficiencies. I
can never drill as straight as drill press or shape as precise as
laser unit can. However I can harmonize these irregularities. I can
make them to look attractive. In essence I can create a naturally
looking object similar to a flower. If one studies a flower it is far
from perfection but in its own unique way it is beautiful. Handmade
jewellery possesses this property. CAD/CAM product probably exceeds
handmade jewellery in every way except looking natural and to some
people it is the most important property there is.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#2
I start having problems when CAD/CAM is used to imitate the
results obtainable with traditional metalsmithing techniques. The
results are always inferior to the real article. It has nothing to
do with operator experience and abilities. It has to do with the
technique itself. 

I know that’s just your opinion Leonid, and I understand why you are
saying that, but I think that blanket statement is misleading to
people who are not familiar with CAD/CAM. I understand because most
of the merchandise that is produced is made to mimic finer techniques
but is made so less skilled labor can finish it up and set it. They
need to reduce their labor costs and they do it by cutting corners.
That gives the impression that super fine jewelry cannot be created
using CAD. It’s misleading because CAD/CAM in the hands of a skilled
craftsperson can be one of the tools used to produce or reproduce,
all or part, the finest jewelry that can be made.

Let’s say I had an incredibly complex job that involved a series of
traditional elements and setting techniques, and I gave the same job
to 5 of the best jewelers I know (say 1 European master goldsmith. 2
trained by different German master goldsmiths and 2 products of US
training). The resulting 5 pieces would all be stunning, and all be
slightly different. Some would have fabricated the whole thing, some
would have hand carved and cast part and fabricated the rest and
some would have used CAD/CAM to produce most or all of the model. The
setting and some design elements for all would likely involved more
traditional, yet differing, techniques. The thing is they would all
be beautiful and each of the goldsmiths would be impressed and
interested in the others work. They would all probably wish that they
had incorporated some of the elements or techniques that some of the
others had used. Without insisting that they each use traditional
techniques the results would all be beautiful.

The point is that inferior results are nearly always the result of
operator error, inexperience or a conscious choice to cut corners.
Holding on to techniques that work best for each of us is fine, but
the potential of CAD/CAM is astounding and it is an amazing tool.
Whether producing work that would normally be produced with
traditional metalsmithing techniques or not, CAD/CAM is a tool that
can often add speed and precision to the work.

Mark


#3

Hi Leonid,

If one studies a flower it is far from perfection but in its own
unique way it is beautiful. Handmade jewellery possesses this
property. CAD/CAM product probably exceeds handmade jewellery in
every way except looking natural and to some people it is the most
important property there is. 

I share your apprecation for the beauty of nature. However, it’s
interesting to me when a piece of jewelry is deemed to possess the
quality of “artistic” or “natural looking”. Some of the time it
deserves the accolades, but some are wont to romaticize
hand-craftsmanship, praising the personal imprint of imperfection by
those who posesses skills lesser than that of a master craftsman.
Being a less than a masterful craftsman myself, I too, see artistry
in imperfection, but I also understand where the limitations of the
hand leave off and artistry begins.

Whether its relatively simple or highly refined, construction
technique becomes the basis of artistic creation when it’s consistent
and uniform in execution. You can create a ring with a very
naturalisitic looking flower motif by hand, but you are still bound
by the constraints of proportion and structural cohesiveness as it
relates to a good piece of jewelry.

While I agree with just about everything you’ve postulated about the
elements of successful jewelry design, ex.“appropriate design and
correct use of tools and technique”, your views about the
limitations of CAD point to what I percieve to be a common
misconception regarding the creative potential of computer aided
design.

Jewelry made by the CAD/CAM process has a well known reputation for
technical perfection, uniformity, symmetry, etc. The next breath
often declares that it lacks the highly-valued stamp of approval for
work showing artistic spirit or the human touch, deriding it because
it looks “too perfect” or else, badly made by machine.

This is probably true in many cases, but sometimes, it’s not a good
design simply because conceptually, it’s a not a good design, not
because it was done with CAD. CAD is a tool that “works” pretty
well, even in the hands of those who don’t even aspire to be artists.
Their goal is to quickly crank out a product to make a sale or to
make a generic looking thing for mass comsumption.

CAD/CAM as it relates to jewelry is a relatively new art
form/technique, so it’s my feeling that it’s currently being
exploited for it’s technical possibilites. As it matures as an art
form, the creative potential of the technique will blossom with more
artistic expression. CAD programs for jewelry design are becoming
more sophisticated and specialized. If you look at the work being
produced by artists using 3D modeling programs for character
creation and animation, you might say rather than naturalistic, the
work is super-natural in it’s detail and creative exploration. The
potenial is there in CAD jewelry design as well, although not many
jewelry designers are taking advantage of it, yet.

CAD programs such as ArtCAM JewelSmith and Freeform
http://tinyurl.com/6nry7y have the capability to do very
natutralistic modeling. There is nothing to stop a jewelry artisan
who wants to digitally sculpt a piece, that in the best sense,
emulates the qualities of a hand-crafted piece, using a very
naturalistic style while being respective of what is best done by
hand, and not going beyond what the software is good at, and at the
same time, conforming to the elements of good design.

In fact, I suspect there are jewelers using CAD who produce award
winning quality, unique-looking artistically “imperfect” design work
who don’t neccesarily talk about the process for reasons of their
own.

Regards,

Jesse Kaufman
JDK Jewelry Design
CAD/CAM Technology
Handcrafted Originality
www.jdkjewelry.com
http://jdkjewelry3d.blogspot.com


#4
In fact, I suspect there are jewelers using CAD who produce award
winning quality, unique-looking artistically "imperfect" design
work who don't neccesarily talk about the process for reasons of
their own. 

Indeed, the Juliet Bracelet that won the silver division of the 2007
Saul Bell Awards was modeled on a CAD/CAM system using ArtCAM.

Rick Hamilton


#5
but the potential of CAD/CAM is astounding and it is an amazing
tool. Whether producing work that would normally be produced with
traditional metalsmithing techniques or not, CAD/CAM is a tool
that can often add speed and precision to the work. 

I agree with that point. Where CAD/CAM really shines is in
mathematically defined surfaces. Jewellery designed as composite of
such shapes can exhibit total reflection. That cannot be done by
traditional methods. I would like to see the work done in that area.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#6
Some of the time it deserves the accolades, but some are wont to
romaticize hand-craftsmanship, praising the personal imprint of
imperfection by those who posesses skills lesser than that of a
master craftsman. 

It is a very important point. How can we know whether imperfection
was intended and part of the design, or simply a indication of bad
technique? I guess the answer is that we cannot know for sure, and we
should look at the design and execution as a whole. If irregularity
was intended, it would be used in more than one place and degree and
location would be balanced. If it sticks like a sore thumb, then it
is
probably an accident. I guess it worth repeating that there is no
perfect jewellery except in our imagination. If with every piece that
we make we getting closer and closer to the ideal, we moving in the
right direction.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#7

The CAD process is mechanical and mathmatically precise. We can’t
carve that kind of perfection by hand - but my business still
thrives on what CAD cannot do yet, and perhaps it will never achieve
the look and feel that is needed to give life or animation to a
piece. We may not live to see that day, it might take another fifty
years for the technology to advance. It’s all good, and it’s all here
for us to use for our customers. I truly love carving models by hand,
but I don’t believe I’d ever love doing CAD designing.

Margie
carving wild things for amazing people.
www.mmwaxmodels.com


#8
Whether producing work that would normally be produced with
traditional metalsmithing techniques or not 

I’ve kept out of this because to some degree it’s your basic “Is So!
Is Not!” thing. One thing for sure is that CAD is here to stay. And
that handwork is also here to stay - CAD’s not for everything.

I will point out, though, that one of the problems with CAD is that
it’s in it’s infancy - yes it’s been around since the 60’s, too.
CPU’s, graphics cards and memory in your typical desktop are just
barely able to handle CAD as it is. Yes, I know, you just chug along
designing rings. If you take Z-Brush, which is a mesh modeler,
you’ll see the difference, though. (CAD uses solids modeling, which
defines a part inside and out, mesh modelers just define the shell
on the outside). You can work a piece in Z-Brush with ease, model it
like clay, and make a free form shape with ease - something fairly
difficult to do in Rhino or even SolidWorks. If you subdivide it a
couple of times to smooth it, your system will noticeably slow down.
Do it one more time and you’ll crash. If it were a solid you just
couldn’t run at all. I predict, easily enough, that in ten years or
so computer hardware will have evolved enough that there will be
another level of freedom in CAD, and many of the issues with it
today are actually the limitations of modern computers themselves.
And thus the software written for them. The problem is really that a
system just can’t juggle a quadrillion pieces of data on top of the
OS and the application software right now - desktop systems or even
accessable workstations, that is. Not to mention that jewelry
specific software is truly in it’s infancy. The advent of RISC
processing in the desktop has helped a lot, with better GPUs and
hardware acceleration, and all these things will come in time…
Right now it’s a bit like riding in a volkswagon beetle, though.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#9

Leonid,

Where CAD/CAM really shines is in mathematically defined surfaces. 

By definition this is how cad/cam works, it IS a digital process (
numbers all over the process :-). Still the ability to control the
shapes far exceed what I can do by hand not to mention the ease of
correcting minor design mistakes with a minimal work time
investment. Allows raising the ‘good enough’ bar a bit without a few
extra hours of bench time.

Although I usually do create my models in a very controlled cad
environment, I also use other software to make free form and organic
shapes. Often an order of magnitude more difficult. The math behind
the controlled stuff I sort of understand, the others I let the dumb
box figure out.

Just another set of tools, not good for all jobs but when indicated
there is no real choice to meet price/time limits. Part of sitting
at a bench is choosing the right tool/technique for the job. You are
totally correct in that stressing basic bench skills are needed
first, the fancy toys come latter. All of my dumb boxes and machines
can’t file worth a damn :slight_smile:

Jeff
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#10
I agree with that point. Where CAD/CAM really shines is in
mathematically defined surfaces. 

All surfaces can be mathematically defined. The limitation is only
one of computing power and storage. As computers get faster and
memory gets larger we will see more and more surfaces that can be
easily done with CAD/CAM. Look at Zbrush many of the artists using it
are building models with that program that you would never assume
came from a computer program. And you can even build closed surface
models with it that can be grown with the RP machines if you are
careful and know what you are doing. Just because many of the folks
using CAD/CAM systems are un-imaginative and only produce simple
geometric models don’t assume that is is an inherent limitation of
the technology. We are always more limited by our own minds than what
is possible.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#11
it's interesting to me when a piece of jewelry is deemed to possess
the quality of "artistic" or "natural looking". Some of the time it
deserves the accolades, but some are wont to romaticize
hand-craftsmanship, praising the personal imprint of imperfection
by those who posesses skills lesser than that of a master
craftsman. 

The distinction of “handmade” as opposed to “machine made” along
with the praise for the former and disapproval of the latter, is very
much a part of our creative culture. But it seems like we have
forgotten why.

The Arts and Crafts Movement, that began at the end of the 19th
century, was as much a social experiment as it was an aesthetic
movement. This ideologically fueled set of values was intended as an
antidote to the indignities of the Industrial Revolution. The idea
was that “handmade” gave the craftsman greater pride and a better
life than the worker who toiled to tend a machine for low wages and
very little pride of accomplishment. In those days “the machine” was
so expensive that only the rich capitalist could afford it, while it
caused unemployment for the labor it replaced. But the product of the
hand craftsman of the Arts and Crafts Movement required customers
with deep pockets because the work was not very competitive on price.
It also established a pretty serious class of amateur craftsman with
a set of values that overlaps and often compliments the professional
scene. The romantic superiority of the handmade was part of a vision
that rejected both cheap manufactured goods and the sweatshops that
produced them.

But all these social reasons for idealizing handmade have largely
been forgotten. The happy worker utopia that honest toiler handcrafts
was supposed to evolve, never really worked out that way. Hand
craftsmanship has survived because some people like doing it and
others are impressed with the results. New technology, like rubber
mold multiple lost wax casting made it so there is not so much
difference in method between how the little guy and the big
manufacturer in jewelry. New and very powerful technology is no
longer only available to the well financed capitalist venture. Some
very small shops can be empowered by systems like CAD/CAM.

The days of grand ideological manifestos are long gone (thank God!)
but if I were on the committee to update the Arts and Crafts Movement
ideals I would argue that any technology that empowers the
individual’s creative expression should be embraced. I don’t think
that those Victorian do-gooders who started the Arts and Crafts
Movement ever envisioned hi-tech methods ever being cheap enough for
the one person shop. But if they could have seen it coming they
probably would have liked it because they were all about creative
expression and satisfaction through work. Why should a designer
entrepreneur be condemned to excess toil and perhaps poverty because
certain affordable technology is considered off limits? Why should
your ideas and visions be unfulfilled just because you cannot do it
by hand? The alternative is standing by.

On the consumer side of the transaction I have seen things change
since the 1970s when handmade was more desirable. Even when done
rather poorly, a handmade object was worth a premium to a certain
audience. But now design, quality of materials and craftsmanship mean
more than the sentimental history of how a piece was made. I believe
that the public is much more interested in results than worried about
methods.

BTW, I am mainly a hand-carver, but I have worked with several
CAD/CAM shops to solve certain problems. I hope if my sons follow me
in the business that they learn CAD/CAM.

Stephen Walker


#12

Margie,

The CAD process is mechanical and mathmatically precise. We can't
carve that kind of perfection by hand - but my business still
thrives on what CAD cannot do yet, and perhaps it will never
achieve the look and feel that is needed to give life or animation
to a piece. We may not live to see that day, it might take another
fifty years for the technology to advance. It's all good, and it's
all here for us to use for our customers. I truly love carving
models by hand, but I don't believe I'd ever love doing CAD
designing. 

The CAD packages in wide use in the jewelry industry are truly very
limited tools. Take a look at the Zbrush gallery

These 3D models are truly sculpted in amazing detail. There are
folks already making jewelry models using Zbrush. It will not be 50
years or even 5 but more like 6-18 months before this type of
technology starts to have an impact on modeling for product design
including jewelry. But even though it is quite amazing in its ability
to model it still requires an artist/designer to operate it to
achieve artistic results. It can no more make a beginner or inept
designer a great one than you can by giving those same individuals a
textbook and set of carving tools. No matter how advanced the tools
they are still tools and they will require people like you with your
artistic sensibilities and skill to operate them to give quality
results.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#13

Well, I’ve been using CAD/CAM for over 9 years and I still fabricate
a lot of jewelry, and hand carve waxes as well. It has it’s place,
and I can make things that are difficult for me to do by hand, so it
has a place in the tool collection. Sometimes I just want to sit at
the bench rather than at the computer. Both spots have Aeron
chairs…

Rick Hamilton


#14

Greetings all:

A point about CAD/CAM pieces that occurs to me (as I fiddle with the
computer, hiding from a design challenge that mocks me from my bench
at the moment)…

Given my druthers, I do holloware. I’m a sliversmith at heart. Part
of quality holloware is being able to control the nature of the
metal in various parts of the piece. Some parts are soft, and some
are hard, depending on their function. For example: the piece I’m
currently procrastinating on. It’s composed of shellformed titanium
segments, held together with titanium struts. The titanium is a base
for a glass champagne flute. The way it cradles the glass requires
that the formed segments be free to flex, and adapt themselves to
the handmade irregularities of the glass flute. This requires that
the struts be very hard and springy. If they were soft, the design
wouldn’t work. The segments would just bend out of the way, and they
wouldn’t be strong enough to hold themselves in place. By controlling
the temper of the Ti, I can use wires that look like they’re too
thin to do the job, and get a much lighter effect than I would
otherwise be able to achieve.

The property of relative hardness (temper) is only one of the unique
properties of metal. Metalsmiths should know and exploit the unique
nature of their material. What worries me about CAD/CAM is that it’s
not metal. It’s data. There’s no way to exploit the unique natures
of the various materials themselves. If you get a whole generation of
jewelry designers who are just pixel pushers, they won’t know what
else the materials can achieve, and this will limit not only them,
but the field as a whole, once the traditionally trained workers
start to die out. There are certainly things that CAD/CAM’s good
for, I use it myself when the piece calls for it, but I also know
what else I can do, using metal directly. It’s important to remember
(or to know) what else can be done by working with the materials
themselves, and their own individual properties.

FWIW
Brian Meek.


#15
All surfaces can be mathematically defined. The limitation is only
one of computing power and storage. As computers get faster and
memory gets larger we will see more and more surfaces that can be
easily done with CAD/CAM 

I kind of dropped a phrase and now I see that it requires
explanation. I am a fractal geometry devotee. According to fractal
geometry all surfaces have fractal dimension. Geometry of Euclid only
allows for integer dimension, but accurate description of natural
shapes, using Euclid geometry is next to impossible. Fractals do it
very elegantly. For example: mountain landscapes, on Earth, have
fractal dimension between 2 and 3. On other planets it would be
different. I was toying with the idea of creating fractal surface as
a
finish for jewellery. We could use Golden Section as a seed.

Take a surface and divide it so both areas would relate to each
other as 5:8. Displace both parts in vertical, randomizing positive
and negative, by some amount related to their areas. Apply the same
process to each sub-division in recursive manner. After several
iteration of the process, a very interesting surface would result. It
can be used as a background for transparent enamel or even on its
own.
Other relationships can be explored. This is a natural CAD/CAM
application.

There are many other ideas in similar key, which can take the
jewellery literary into another dimension, but with all that power
and potential, I believe that there are some areas of goldsmithing
where CAD/CAM should not be used. Not because it cannot be done, but
because it should not done. Computers can only fake the result, but
cannot give it originality. Any sculptor can create a likeness of a
human being, but only God can imbue the likeness with life. In
jewellery shop, the goldsmith is a god, but a computer is just a
sculptor.

As an aside: reticulation was probably the first attempt by the
jewelers at fractal surfaces. Reticulated surface has fractal
dimension which can be varied by varying torch temperature, and other
relevant parameters. Satin and matt finishes are another examples of
fractal surfaces.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#16

Hi Margie,

I truly love carving models by hand, but I don't believe I'd ever
love doing CAD designing. 

You might be surprised how much you enjoy it and how good you would
be at it. We were strictly hand carvers and now it’s about 50/50
with CAD. We often will mill part of the model and then finish it by
hand carving it, it’s just faster and better that way.Someone like
you would produce much better models with CAD than the average user,
because you know exactly what you want and where you are going. The
bulk of the users were not skilled craftspeople before they began
producing models. You will be fine without CAD I’m sure but I’m also
sure you’d be really good at it if you incorporated it into your
business.

Mark


#17

Leonid,

I probably missing something here. Fractal computations on a
computer might use .000001mm as a base, my Euclid geometry might use
an integer size of .0001mm. The mill on a really good day will
resolve.05mm. They are all digital numbers and by definition
approximations. Not true but real close. Probably closer tolerance
than the last simple ring size job I did.

Jeff
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#18

I am kind of confused. I looked at your work, it is very very good.
I read your points about fractal geometry very interesting.

Cad can make fantastic surfaces and if you know what you are doing
you can do great things. No one is replacing GD, particularly a
computer. Numbers were created by GD All creation comes from that
point, GD. So, then you say that there are places cad should not be
used as if it is replacing something sacred… It can’t replace GD and
creation it only expands the arena for man’s arability to create.
Creation still comes from the same place.

You can have an opinion and that is OK, so there it is. I don’t get
it so that is my opinion. Not much more to say really, Good luck,
keep up the good work. D


#19

Hi group-

I agree that if CAD/CAM is used to replicate traditional metal
processes, it will fall short. That would be like trying to duplicate
a raised vessel, with its thin walls and beautifully worked surfaces,
with lost wax casting. The wood-grain Formica syndrome. Each process
has its unique strength and ability to produce forms that are
specific to that medium. The real potential of CAD/CAM is its ability
to generate forms that are not possible or practical via other
methods. While CAM technology is still limited in its range of
materials, CAD itself permits us to develop forms of a complexity
that is inconceivable without computer modeling.

I’m a traditional metalsmith with 35 years experience in fabricating
high-karat fine art jewelry; I’m also rabidly exploring the new
possibilities of CAD-generated form. There is no “versus” here. The
insights made possible with computing power add new perspective to
the way I think about fabricating directly in metal, and the unique
forms and materials of the CAD/CAM realm only expand our horizons.
Eventually we’ll be able to print economically directly in precious
metals, permitting forms beyond the limits of cast techniques. These
will not replace traditional processes; they will merely add to our
possibilities. We need to get beyond thinking of CAD/CAM as merely a
tool, and realize that it is an entirely new and exciting medium.

Kip Krieger


#20
The distinction of "handmade" as opposed to "machine made" along
with the praise for the former and disapproval of the latter, is
very much a part of our creative culture. But it seems like we have
forgotten why. 

Stephen makes a very interesting and I think, important point on
this topic, and I believe that hand in hand with his thoughts goes
the evolution of CAD, and with that goes CAM.

In the beginning, CAD stood for “Computer Aided Drafting”. It didn’t
take long for people to think that was limited, so it quickly
evolved into Computer Aided Design. However, for years it was
essentially drafting - Autocad has only just recently tried to get
deeper into 3d graphics, but anyone who’s ever used it knows it’s
basically a computerized version of a drafting table. That sort of
line-and-circle drawing is not really how most jewelry is made, and
those drafting programs have many limitations in jewelry design.
That is why much of the CAD jewelry you see is line-and-circle
jewelry - architectural, geometric… Much, not all.

Enter Maya, which was written for the IRIX OS and workstations.
Lean, mean and free from most of the constraints of “traditional
CAD”, it pretty much revolutionized 3d graphics - someone could pick
some other product, perhaps, but Maya is my pick, and most of the
others were either precursors or had no legs. Maya is the dominant
software package in the “Art” 3d business. Probably Catia is fairly
dominant in the industrial side (Boeing, IBM, Ford, Sony, Airbus,
GM). Both of those allow great freedom in design, far from the
line-and-circle drafting of old. The problem is that jewelry is a
poor stepchild in the CAD business - it’s difficult to write or port
something over into an industry that is fragmented and has few
identifiable major players, like GM or Samsung.

So, on the one hand we have Rhino - a perfectly fine program that is
fairly easy to use and lets you draw all sorts of things, and then
on the other we have Ratatouille, which IMO is the greatest single
3d achievement of all time. I wonder how many readers here realize
that a good 50% of the cars you see in print and video ads are
actually drawings and renderings of cars? Most of you don’t, do you?
Did you think Chevy built a monumental steel gadget to swing at
their truck at the last second, risking everyone’ life and limb for
$1/2 million? No, those are animations, and many print ads are
renderings of computer models, as are cameras and other things. Just
as Maya and others revolutionized graphics, Renderman took rendering
to another planet of realism. Chevy’s entire truck is drawn into
Catia - every nut and bolt - and it can just be pulled out,
rendered, and it looks just like a real truck. Then it all can be
staged, lit and filmed at the desktop. Maya is made to do just that.
Look close - if the windows are blacked out it’s probably a
rendering.

The point being that the cutting edge of 3d graphics is way, way far
from anything we have access to - anything I’m aware of, that is. In
Zbrush you just get a sphere and poke and prod it till it looks like
you want it to. Anything, not just points and lines and coordinates.
But that’s not a CAM program and it’s not intended to be. I predict
(again, that’s easy to do) that all of these things will coalesce in
coming years into much greater things than are possible now, and
hardware advancements go right along with that, and CAD-CAM will
reach new levels of ease and capability…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com