Who are you? What do you do at Shapeways?
Laurie Berenhaus, Customer Service Agent. I communicate with all the departments to make sure you are heard and help you realize your ideas. As an artist and 3D Modeler/Sculptor, I've also been developing video tutorials to help you get started printing.
How did you get to where you are today? What path did you take?
I started out as a traditional sculptor with a special fondness towards creating objects for stage and screen like props, masks and puppets. Excited about incorporating new technology into my workflow, I studied digital animation and vfx but found that I kept longing to have my creations in my hand and not just on the screen; that is how I fell into 3D printing.
Along the way it helped to reach out to those whose work I admired and really pick their brains. I like to surround myself around the experts, and soak in their knowledge. I would learn from my mistakes and mistakes others had made, so I could take the next step and develop my craft even further.
What languages can you code in? What 3D modeling programs do you know? What kind of skills do you need at work?
I started 3D modeling in Lightwave and sculpting in ZBrush, but have since been experimenting with other software and I'm excited to dive deeper into coding so I can create models using funky mathematical patterns. More than anything, I love to teach and tell stories. I see 3D printing as another tool I can pull out of my toolbox to help me realize my designs when the project calls for it and code helps me get there. I teach because I love sharing information and help empower others to make and do extraordinary things. I see myself as a storyteller because I don't want to label or limit myself to one tool or method when creating something. An opportunity may lie in front of me and this way I can pick and choose from my collection of skills in order to best realize the idea. When I make something, it is more than a three dimensional object but something new that didn't exist before.
What's your favorite thing made with code?
I love how Laika used 3D printing when creating the different faces for the stop-motion animation feature, Paranorman. Each frame uses a different face created from 3D printers similar to our Full Color Sandstone process. Every freckle matches up. In my eyes, Laika is a great example of how traditional processes can work successfully with emerging technology to tell a story.
What's your advice for young girls today?
Take risks! I've learned the most from experiences where I was completely outside my comfort zone. I've always tried to follow my gut, even when I've been encouraged to take the road most followed or just stay put. If I waited for opportunities to open up, I would be waiting for a while. Follow your passion and the rest will fall into place- even if it isn't how or when you originally imagined.
Anything else you want to say?
Coming from a traditional sculptor's background, I had trouble embracing coded design at first. I loved the feel of clay in my hand and how I can discover new forms right in front of me. Wouldn't using code to to create this idea place a barrier between me and my design during the production process? Shortly after diving into CAD software I found out I was wrong. I have just as much control and if not, more than as I did before. My background in sculpture has given me even further insight and appreciation for code. Before code and 3D printing if I wanted to sculpt a figure, I would have to create an armature from wood or metal, build up and sculpt the form with clay, create a mold and cast the sculpt in my material of choice. Using code to generate a figure, I save time and money so I can spend energy towards focusing on my design. Code is an amazing tool and my toolbox of skills has been that much stronger for it.