The Story Behind 3D Computer Model of Newell Teapot


You might have seen 3D models of many household things but here’s something that may catch your fancy and could be something many would love to own.

This 3D computer model of Newell teapot, also called the Utah teapot, was produced way back in 1975 by Martin Newell, one of the early computer graphics researchers. Martin was also a member of the revolutionary graphics program at the University of Utah.


The Newell teapot is a mathematical model of an ordinary teapot having a simple shape, which appears cylindrical, solid and partially convex. The creation of this 3D model dates back to 1975 when Newell required a fairly simple mathematical model of a common object for his work. As they were about to sip tea at that time, his wife Sandra Newell suggested using their teapot as a model. Newell liked the idea, and sketched the entire teapot on some graph paper, which he later edited in his lab to come up with the digitized version.

At that time, the shape of the teapot contained a number of elements that made it ideal for the ongoing graphics experiments. It was round in shape, contained saddle points, had a genus larger than zero – thanks to a hole in the handle, could cast a shadow on itself, and looked practical enough when exhibited without a complex surface texture.

Once Newell compiled the mathematical data to describe the geometry of the teapot (using a set of three-dimensional coordinates) and made it publicly available, other researchers too began to utilize the same statistics for their computer graphics experiments.

Though with the advent of technology, rendering the digitized version of the teapot is no longer a daunting task as it was in 1975, the teapot has stayed to become a standard reference object for advanced graphics techniques.

For additional 3 D versions of familiar imagery, check out the 3D Space Invaders Shirt or the 3D Tetris Chair.

Via: Martinus Teapot