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Abstract sculpture against a pale blue background.

News Time-Lapse Trends: the art of sculpture

29 May 2019 Kate

“Time-Lapse Trends” is a video blog series which draws attention to some of the many exciting trends in time-lapse production. We feature a new trend in each instalment, to demonstrate the scope of the medium and the various ways in which it is applied, ranging from the popular to the more obscure.

The process of sculpture is an intricate one, requiring hours of careful implementation and patient work – an ideal subject for time-lapse capture.

There can be various media, materials and techniques used to create sculptures of different shapes and sizes.

Given that time-lapse is a flexible mode of capture, it can be applied to document the specifications of any method.

Time-lapsing sculpture with manmade materials

3D modelling, for example, is a practice that has always been popular, particularly with hobbyists. But if done properly, this can also be someone’s livelihood.

Whether a hobby or more of a professional pursuit, 3D modelling rarely means any cutting of corners, as this time-lapse video from Steven Richter (below) demonstrates.


Creating a mini bust of Tony Stark – or Iron Man as he is widely known in the Avengers universe – Richter goes to incredible lengths to produce a definite likeness of the character.

What must have taken hours to produce, with each phase requiring so much skill and attention to detail, is shown here in just over five minutes. Applying time-lapse to this project means that the results are almost immediately comprehensible, and thus more entertaining to watch.

Time-lapse is also extremely well-suited to the mixed media approach used here: plaster, silicon coating and even 3D model printing to create the Iron Man armoured suit.

For another play on the sculpture and time-lapse combination is this computer generated cat made using Zbrush – a digital sculpting tool that combines 3D modelling, texturing and painting.

Indeed, this is a different kind of labour and requires different tools than working with real materials, but the amount of time and rigorous work that are needed to complete this are probably quite similar.

Sculpting nature

Manmade materials can produce many things but it is equally as fascinating to watch what can be done using what nature provides.

Woodturning, for example, is a craft which involves using handheld tools to sculpt a shape that is symmetrical around the axis of rotation. This technique can generate a variety of forms and is often used to create architecture, furniture, ornaments, as well as hollow forms to create musical woodwind instruments and kitchenware.

This time-lapse video from SG Art Turning gives an up-close look at how this is done. Working to carve the wood as the lathe rotates the material is an incredible skill as the sculptor must account for their own movements as well as the ongoing rotation.

Natural materials such as wood appear to be tough but in this edit by Majid Drums, it appears to be malleable and easily shaped. Perhaps this is also because of years of practice.

Sand is a little easier to mould but no less skill is required because of its tricky consistency. The John Gowdy Team put together a professional sand sculpture in this time-lapse video (below) in a hotel lobby.


Rather than simply showing the actual sculpture itself taking shape, this edit incorporates the careful planning stages that go before it: careful pencil designs, transporting the sand and setting up before the sculpting can begin.


These examples by no means present a representative sample of what is available in relation to time-lapse and sculpture but they do demonstrate why these two things make for a winning combination.

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