About 3D Riffs
As 3D leaves the industrial arena and moves into the consumer realm, we’re going to see the same explosion in creative content that online video and media has seen over the past decade – but this time we’ll impact the real world. The consumerization of 3D is just beginning: Originally the domain of mechanical engineers, 3D printing is now the domain of hackers, enthusiasts and hobbyists. Just recently, companies like LulzBot, Ultimaker, PrinterBot, and MakerBot, are starting to deliver consumer-focused, and friendly ecosystems for 3D printing – and HP is poised to enter the market in 2016. As great as these printers are, getting started with them involves a lot of trial and error, experimentation and learning, and frustration and laughter (and more than a few words I shouldn’t use in polite company). I’ve even been known to chuckle like a schoolboy on occasion.
Much like in the entertainment industry, content is king. In the 3D world, that means models. For many folks, the best option right now is a large and growing ecosystem of downloadable models, both free and commercial. Yet, most of us will quickly want to create our own models. Unfortunately, modeling software still can be very challenging to learn and use, and most packages focus on creating virtual objects for use in animation or graphics. Often you’ll hear the phrase, “If it looks OK, then don’t worry about how it was created.” That approach works for movies, games and television shows, but fails when you want to print (as I’ve discovered).
3D Riffs is a journal of my own exploration of 3D Modeling and Printing, and an invitation to you to come along, to join in by posting comments, sharing tips, celebrating successes or even gently venting about challenges. As cool as the technology is, it’s the creative geniuses, talented artists, ingenious makers, and interested and curious experimenters who will make this revolution real.
As for me, I’m an engineer, designer, innovator, speaker, gamer, technologist, poet, author, inventor, photographer, educator and outdoorsman – but most of all, a storyteller. Throughout my personal and professional life, I make the complex consumable and understandable.
My roots in technology go back to the 1970’s, when as a teenager, I worked with my Scoutmaster to build a home computer (pre-Apple). I grew up not as one of the early computer hackers, but as a leader in the next wave – the exact kind of reader this blog targets. The systems that I’ve built have probably touched your life – sorry about the junk mail, hope you enjoyed the movie tickets. I’ve co-authored patents on digital photography techniques and equipment, and have collaborated on two best-selling books on digital art: Digital Alchemy and The Last Layer, published by New Riders Press. The third book, including a section I wrote on 3D modeling and printing, Hacking the Digital Print, is due out in 2015.
My goal for 3D Riffs is to help make the complex, rapidly evolving, always fascinating and occasionally frustrating world of 3D modeling and printing accessible to you: Generation 3D