This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Christian Griffin who shares his passion for cosplay by introducing 3D printing to the art community.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I'm a soon-to-be student of Interactive Multimedia Design at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Canada. I have a day job (a meat clerk at a grocery store), but aim to make my living using 3D printing, both through Shapeways and at-home printers.
What's the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
There's no deep secret or magical process here. You have an idea, and you make it. That's the power of 3D printing, to me: the ability to create, undo, copy, edit, and refine down the most finite detail. It's the ability to lay out your inspiration exactly as you see it in your mind, and then make it reality. I also want to say, though, that my muse, my girlfriend Christina, gives me all the inspiration and drive I need to try and make things that are beautiful enough for her!
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
A good friend of mine, Trevor (the owner of a 3D and VFX company, Satellite Studios), noticed that I was also learning 3D. He mentioned in passing that he wanted to try 3D printing, and that he'd heard of a website where you could do so, but hadn't had the time to look at it himself. I was intrigued, so I went looking for it.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
In Grade 11 of High School, my computer graphics teacher introduced us to the 3D program Cinema 4D - not as a serious part of the course, he was a techie surrounded by other techies and he just wanted to show us something cool. I had struggled with Photoshop and Illustrator but found myself instantly and easily grasping the concepts of 3D.
How do you promote your work?
Mostly, I don't, to be honest. I share what I've made on deviantART because I want fellow fans and fellow artists to be able to see it and share it in - I always link back to my Shapeways, but for a long time, any sales were almost beside the point. The point is the creation, not the profit.
Who are your favorite designers or artists?
The entire Shapeways community has been very helpful - and that includes the Shapeways staff as well! If forced to name someone from the Shapeways community, I'd have to say Stonysmith, simply because I don't think there's a single forum post where I've asked a question that he hasn't answered eventually.
I have many favorite designers, both on Shapeways and out there in the wide world. My number one inspiration, though, would probably be Gray Horsfield a visual effects and 3D artist who worked on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. He single-handedly constructed the amazingly intricate tower of Barad-Dur model over his Christmas vacation, which is millions of custom face polygons.
If you weren't limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
I'd be very interested to see what other materials could be printed with - after all, every limitation with 3D printing comes back to the material limitations. I've always been searching for a middle ground between Shapeways' plastic and stainless steel - I'd love to see a plastic that bears a realistic resemblance to metal. I'm also intrigued by the notion of one day being able to print, for example, computer chips, or, say, candy or chocolate. Really, the sky is the limit, and in ten years we'll be printing things I didn't could ever be recreated.
Anything else you want to share?
Shapeways has been very good to me. Oh, I've had my complaints - every business gets complaints - but Shapeways is, without doubt, hands-down, the best place to go for 3D printing. I look forward to working with Shapeways, both the staff and the designer community, for many years to come! (Thanks!-Ed)
Check out Christians designs on his Shapeways Shop, or head over to DeviantArt to see more. If you'd like to be the next featured designer, email firstname.lastname@example.org!