Hey folks! Are you ready to have a great October or what!? It’s my favorite time of year, hands down. If you haven’t guessed by looking at some of my work, I’m a fan of the strange and unusual, so it is no wonder that I absolutely love this month and get excited about Halloween!
Every year Atomic Imaging and Golan Pictures puts together a super badass Halloween party, it is the largest and longest running Halloween party in Chicago. Featuring an open bar, multiple rooms, multiple DJ’s, live bands, costume contest, and tons of dancing. I got a chance to check it out last year and it was a blast! The ambience of the party was really great, and I love the way they decorated the venue. With all the different kinds of music and DJ’s, there was musical styles for everyone to get down. Check out this short tasty recap video I put together for them!
The best part about this event in my opinion, is that all the proceeds go to a fantastic group known as adaptive adventures, they provide people with physical disabilities the opportunity to get involved in some amazing experiences. How cool is that!? Getting a ticket, not only do you get to have a sweet time at the party, but you can feel great knowing that it is helping a lot of people experience a better quality of life.
Checkout the event page if you’d like to join the party the 28th of October! This year is going to be a Game of Tombs theme.
Thanks to Chicago Costume I was invited to check out my first ComicCon to do a little filming of the awesome event. I didn’t really get a chance to explore the whole place, but it was really cool to see the fun costumes and all the different booths, so many creative folks representing their favorite characters and creations! Check out the video!
Wizard World throws comic cons all over the place so if you’re interested in checking it out have a look at their website!
Are there easy to use, affordable 3D printers yet for your home? Of course anyone who has read tech news or looked at some of my blog posts knows that it’s only a matter of time until 3D printing becomes affordable and available locally to the masses. Surely in the near future it will revolutionize the production and manufacturing industries vastly. A new start up company is trying to bring the cheapest printer to market yet which is currently costing around $347.
pirate3d.com is the website where you can learn more about this new company and printer which is called the “Buccaneer”.
The printer comes fully assembled and is ready to use immediately it seems, however, this is understandably one of the more limited printers as a result of the low cost and mass appeal. It has a very small print size which is the major downside, and they may want to force you to use print cartridges which might be more costly rather than raw spools of material. Here is a video regarding the new printer project..
Home 3D printers are still mostly owned by enthusiasts currently, a unique group of tech geeks that are still a little bit elitist about the subject. Most of the time it is people who know how to do their own 3D modeling and maybe know a thing or two about programming/physical computing even. It takes a lot of effort and testing to get one such as the makerbot up and running well, which most people won’t have the patience for despite its amazing uses. So currently there is a viable market race, to produce the printer that is easy enough the general public will start to invest in the technology. If the public doesn’t take interest and start investing, the development progress of these home based systems will be much slower.
In the last few years, a group of companies have been trying to tap into the regular consumers, who still mostly don’t understand the technology. Eventually it will become as easy as using a microwave or a washing machine, and this will make it even more popular. Cheap, simplified printers such as the buccaneer are the right step in that direction. Another valid question is, will 3D printing be as exciting, inspiring, or useful for the average person as it is for the tech geeks?
One of the biggest issues is the technical barrier on creating your own 3D models, in particular if they are something mechanical or complex. Many companies have developed easy 3D object creators, which let you model a cup, a vase, or even an iphone case. Yet these easy tools are very severely limited and typically offer very little in the ability to make something completely unique or precise. They also typically are designed around the creation of a single type of object, and cannot deal with different kinds of objects. So ultimately, I think the success of 3D printers also is greatly affected by the simplification of 3D modeling tasks in the realm of object creation.
A whole bunch of easy to use programs will need to be developed, allowing for a huge variety of useful objects to be parametrically created, which is not an easy task at all. If it was easy, tools of this sort would have already been created long ago, making life much easier for all 3D artists working in video games/film/multimedia. After decades, there are still very few objects which can quickly be created parametrically besides the basic primitive shapes of a cube/sphere/cone, etc. Typically, 3D artists start with a primitive shape and ‘sculpt’ it into more complex objects with a variety of seemingly abstract technical tools. Unfortunately it is quite a laborious, tedious, and time consuming process.
In fact, when you consider the ridiculous amount of variations objects can have, and the ridiculous number of objects possible, it seems unlikely that anyone will develop a software to allow you to easily create any 3D object you want any time soon. It is certainly possible, and 3D printing is a big reason someone should start working on such tools. Yet it seems that it will be quite a while until the software can even get to that point since it will take time to develop, so there will be a long time where traditional skills with 3D modeling will be necessary and viable.
Many companies are hoping the 3D community will contribute their unique objects, building a public library of free objects people can print. Yet any 3D artist who has been around for a while will see contributing to this is not a great thing on many levels. For example, if you write a book you’re initially going to try and sell it rather than give it away for free, at least until you have made enough of a fortune of your own that giving away stuff is no longer a matter of surviving.
Not everyone is in that position of having the ability to give away work for free. Not only do you get nothing tangible for your hard work and give up the copyrights to your creations, but it also lowers respect for the 3D community over time as people will begin to see this as effortless work.
I’m sure the library of free to use models will continue to grow to some degree, but I don’t imagine skilled 3D modelers will want to give away all of their creations for free either. If everything is given away for free, eventually it will reach a point where there will be no incentive for the 3D modelers to create anything. It takes a lot of investment, effort, and time to develop skills with 3D programs. You can’t pay bills and eat by giving away all your work, even if it does seem a noble thing to do, so I don’t think a free library is going to offer enough incentive for the majority of 3D tech talented folks.
Ultimately, it seems understandable to predict that there will be ( or already is ) another market popping up soon for selling print-ready 3D models. There are already services where 3D artists can upload their models for other artists to use in their projects for film/video games/multimedia, so this seems like the most likely path.
I’ve been getting really excited about this program lately.. Yes it is a pain to work with, it handles everything differently than other standardized 3D apps, but I think it is worth it for anyone who is interested in 3D production to get involved. The program is constantly being updated too which is amazing, and they keep adding better features which are very useful.
Recently the inclusion of a high quality dynamic simulator called Bullet has peaked my interest. With a few extra tools installed, I can now make some pretty awesome dynamic simulations in blender. Yes other programs can do the same sort of simulations, some do so even better with more features and control, but none of them are free and have this much capability. You just can’t beat that! From someone who has been in the 3D industry doing production work for quit some time, it is just really interesting to see such a capable and feature rich tool being developed as a free app. I would have killed to have a program like blender when I got into 3D, so the kids these days are lucky in my opinion!
You do still need a fairly powerful workstation though to take advantage of it to the fullest though, one thing that still hasn’t changed drastically in 3D is the time it takes to render high quality images with sophisticated effects and realistic lighting. The fairly new cycles render engine in blender is really fantastic, producing some really lovely results, but it is painfully slow.. There is the option of sending out jobs to the big render farms these days, but it is still very expensive to go that route and not something any individual would invest in typically.
Real-time rendering for games keeps on getting better and better though thankfully, and much of that technology has begun to migrate into high end 3D tools over recent years. I still remember the days when 3D had no real time capability at all, so it is still completely amazing to me that we have reached a point where that side has evolved as it has. As the state of real time rendering engines continues to grow towards photo realism, a lot of that will translate to the professional tools improving speeds and quality of high end renders as well.
Eventually, it won’t be such a hurdle to overcome creating beautiful images with 3D tools as it is now, and you won’t need some 3D artist to rack their brain over how to achieve a photo realistic lighting setup since it will be more automated. Another great thing about blender, you can get into 3D printing if you like.. You have almost all the tools to model just about anything, and although there is a lot of technical hurdles to overcome, there isn’t any high quality rendering involved in producing a 3D model for printing, so just about anyone can do it if they take the time to learn the tools and workflow.
Well, this is kind of going to be a bit more of a rant I suppose. I guess it is my first one, but it was inevitable, lol. I’m pretty calm right now though, so, not all hyped up about it or anything at the moment. I just feel like discussing this situation though because it comes up all too often for designers and artists like myself and it can be pretty weird and frustrating.
Every so often I run into this situation where a client expects me to basically be a sort of mind reader, extracting the visual images directly from their brain in a short conversation about the project. They assume it should be a simple task, since I am a talented artist, to achieve this vision they have in their mind easily after giving me only a few basic details about the concept.
Problem is, I have no clue what they really want without them giving me a whole lot of detailed information to work with, so I can’t possibly produce exactly what they have in mind. When I try to pry the details out of some folks, explaining that I need more details, they give me the most basic sorts of responses and hardly any decent details at all which is pretty unfortunate.
Usually what happens in these cases is I end up producing something, and when I show it to them they are immediately not happy and want revisions. Not a surprise to me, it happens just about every time someone takes this sort of approach, but it is always frustrating. This is not a very efficient way of going about creating a piece of media, and it wastes a lot of time and energy. It makes me a bit sour to be honest.
I think what is happening is that a lot of folks think that if you are an artist, you should be able to create just about anything easily. They might not know a lot about how art is made and what sort of processes or approaches are involved. Sure an artist might seem like they have an easy job at times, but this is an illusion I assure you. There is almost always a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes that people don’t see.
Producing good art is not always about a person having pure creative talent, a clever mind, or even the right tools. There are all sorts of technical aspects that really have nothing to do with being creative or artistic at all in fact. Sometimes research needs to be done, reference needs to be collected, and you have to familiarize yourself with new things. It can all be a lot more complex than people assume.
Artists can spend their life trying to develop and perfect just a single style, and some artists are forced to be more versatile. It is always a learning process, and it takes time to figure out an approach if working on something new you have never done before.
Another thing, art is completely subjective.. I might not like the same colors,shapes,and concepts my clients like. I might design things differently than the next person based on my personal experience and choices that make sense to me. With that being the case, it is even that much more important to share all the ideas about your project, especially what you think you will like as an end result. I can’t guess what someone else will like unless I really know them well and have an intimate understanding of all their likes and dislikes.
Some things are easy to do I admit, I mean if for example you say you want a picture of an apple sitting in a bowl on a table then there isn’t too much guess work for me. Still, even then, there are a million ways to do it. Different looks to the art style, lighting and environment, color of the apple, details, etc.
So people need to provide artists and designers as much detail as possible or they won’t be able to make you happy. This is why having a planning session is always a good idea. Gives a chance to write some notes on your design if you have something challenging in mind.
I also think people think they are making it easier by just giving a simple description of what they want, but the truth is in the long run it makes it more difficult. It causes more hangups and revisions, which can make the project drag on longer than it needs.
So folks, don’t be afraid to give your artists and designers as much information as you can pull out of your mind.. Write out a few notes when ideas pop into your mind and share all these details. The project will usually go more efficiently and everyone will feel better about it too.