Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mattie Stepanek Remembered

DDI Art Services Director, Harry Abramson, with the finished bronze sculpture by Jimilu Mason

On Saturday, October 18, 2008, the memory and message of poet and peacemaker Matthew “Mattie” Stepanek was honored in Rockville, MD, at a dedication ceremony for the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park. The park includes a 26-acre recreational facility and is located in the King Farm community of Rockville, MD. Mattie had been diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy at a young age, but published five best-selling books of poetry espousing peace before his death in 2004, shortly before his fourteenth birthday. The dedication ceremony was attended by hundreds of people, including Oprah Winfrey, and during the ceremony, a life-sized sculpture of Mattie, whose personal motto had been, "think gently, speak gently, live gently,” was unveiled.

When Virginian artist and sculptor Jimilu Mason became involved with the Mattie Stepanek memorial project, she came to Direct Dimensions for help. She wanted her sculpture of Mattie to be very lifelike, and that included getting his wheelchair just right. Harry Abramson, the director of DDI’s Art Services Team, spoke about our involvement in the project. “Of all sculptural projects, this was a unique use of our technology because it was one where we helped to provide the artist with scaled reference material. Clearly, Jimilu had a vision of what she was trying to do, with extreme attention to detail, and we were able to bridge the gap between her artistic methods and our technology.”

DDI scanned the wheelchair, and the data from that scan was processed to produce a digital file suitable for milling. This allowed Jimilu to incorporate a dimensionally accurate of Mattie’s wheelchair into her finished sculpture, which was cast in bronze. As the project was completed, Harry went on to say, “Mattie moved thousands of people with his approach to life and words… it is amazing that those people he touched were collectively inspired to make a monument so his spirit could continue to affect others.”

For more information about the dedication ceremony, please visit


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Direct Dimensions on 98 Rock

This morning, Direct Dimensions President Michael Raphael and Business Development Manager Harry Abramson appeared on Baltimore's 98 Rock morning show, "Mickey, Amelia, and Spiegel." They talked about the exciting possibilities on digitizing hometown hero Michael Phelps for an extremely accurate bronze statue that would preserve his exact form at the time of his astounding 2008 Summer Olympics performance. The statue, they said, could raise money for related causes, such as the Special Olympics.

Listen to the Show!

Also discussed: the marble "Bust of a Bust," which raised $7,000 for the Maryland Zoo, as well as our work with wounded soldier facial reconstructions.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

DDI to Talk Human Form Scanning and Maryland’s Favorite Olympian on 98 Rock

Tomorrow, October 16th, Direct Dimensions president Michael Raphael will appear on Baltimore radio station 98 Rock’s “Mickey, Amelia, and Spiegel” morning show to discuss one of DDI’s specialties: scanning the human form. DDI had previously scanned radio DJ Amelia for a “Bust of a Bust”-- a marble sculpture was created from a scan of her torso, and proceeds from the resulting auction benefited the Maryland Zoo.

Some of our favorite past projects at DDI have involved scanning people and the human form. We’ve digitized a maquette of former Baltimore Orioles manager Cal Ripken Sr., and Baltimore Ravens football star Ray Lewis. When we were highlighted at Wired Magazine’s NextFest, we had the opportunity to scan actress Kelly Ripa, and were subsequently featured on “Live with Regis and Kelly.” The data from these, and similar scans, can be digitally modeled and then produced in several formats-- busts, sculptures, laser-embossed crystals, coins, video game skins and animations. The options are endless, and all produced in near-exact detail, and in materials that range from wood to bronze to glass and beyond.

So what’s next for DDI? We’d love the opportunity to use our technology to document an exceptional athlete—perhaps 14-time Olympic medalist and national hero, Michael Phelps. With so much buzz about Phelps’ uniquely perfect swimmers’ build, DDI has unparalleled technology to exactly capture his form for a true-to-life sculpture which could be produced for the planned Olympian’s Park in Towson, MD. How cool would that be?

For more information about tomorrow’s broadcast, tune in to Mickey, Amelia, and Spiegel on 98 Rock (97.9 Baltimore), or visit

You can check out more of DDI’s human scanning projects here: Direct Dimensions Featured Projects.