Sometimes it takes an epiphany to break away from life's mundane nine-to-five routine. For Goa Lobaugh, that moment came after nearly crashing his plane during flight school. Realizing that there was more to life than database programming, Goa left his job to travel the world in search of spiritual enlightenment. It was on that life journey, while meditating in a Buddhist temple, that Goa conceptualized his current business venture, Liquid Buddha studios.
Operating as an animation, visual effects and 3D printing studio, the majority Liquid Buddha's projects revolve around the art of meditation, spiritual enlightenment and energy sustainability. The common thread through his work is a reverence for Buckminster Fuller and an affinity for pure geometric forms such as the torus and platonic solids.
Fuller's explorations of tetrahedral geometry and the symbolic nature of the torus inspired Goa to create a Maya plugin called the Cosmic Geometry Toolkit. The plugin is now freely available on GitHub and enables any Maya user to create highly complex geometric forms such as toroidal structures and tetrahedral designs for 3D printing.
Initially the plugin was developed as a tool to create visual effects in the film Thrive. Goa decided that the plugin would be valued by the VFX and 3DP community and released for free to the general public.
The software acts as a Spirograph for 3D geometry resulting in visionary art. The toolkit consist of a number of interesting tabs worth investigating such as the Phi-Tab, which is used to create multi-vortex arrays and the Flower of Life tab, which is used to create a matrix of intersecting curves.
"The resulting algorithm enables the creation of a perfectly balanced, animated, evolutionary toroidal wave-front in the form of either an animated curve (which can then drive a host of visual effects), or a collection of primitives moving in the toroidal pattern," explains Goa. "Once we had tamed the torus, we aimed our sights on translating the phi-spiral, the jitterbugging vector-equilibrium, and the flower-of-life… each with their own unique animated and nestable features."
Experimenting with the toolkit will enable interested artists to create highly complex forms that would be challenging to create with Maya modeling tools alone. Pushing some of the parameters can also result in unexpected geometries, which invites a bit of randomness to the modeling process.