This week, we caught up with long-time Shapeways community member, Joaquin Baldwin. We’ve featured Joaquin before, but wanted to highlight the amazing work he did with our newest Porcelain material. With two amazing collections specifically designed for Porcelain, Joaquin really embraces the beauty of the material by designing for glazes, and we wanted to hear about his inspiration and process.
What was it like designing for porcelain, did you need to approach your designs differently?
I approached the designs based on function and specific glazing color options. The colors are vibrant and very specific, so I wanted to make objects that played with all of those unique combinations. For function, they are all planters, but with very small spaces so they can only carry tiny plants. The size limitations were tough to deal with, and so was the minimum thickness for walls, but luckily the material cost is calculated by surface and not volume, so making things thick and heavy is not a problem, but making them too detailed can be troublesome.
What inspired you to make 2 related series of products this time rather than the more eclectic array of designs you’ve done previously?
It’s a brand new approach I’m taking for these and a couple of other series I’m working on. I’m planning on selling items in gallery shows and local stores and wanted them to be presentable as sets, with an artist statement and more solid conceptual roots. I have a lot of inexpensive designs in my shop already, but I was missing more higher-end home decor items, and since I’ve been having fun decorating my home recently, I thought this was something worth investing in.
I created two series, the Samsara Series (based on organic shapes that act as fossilized vessels for new life), and the Geometric Series (based on a synthesis of polygonal shapes that naturally occur in minerals as well as in plants), thinking that having a contrast between organic and polygonal shapes would be the best way to explore the limits of the porcelain material.
The photographs you take are consistently top notch, what’s your process for taking them?
I have a very cheap lightbox with very cheap lights. Sometimes I let sunlight from a window hit the lightbox instead of turning on my crappy lights, or use a super strong flashlight and move it around until it looks right. Terrible process, really, but I do have a good macro lens (Canon 100mm), a good tripod, and lots of experience with Photoshop to clean up the pics. I try to overexpose the background to have a pure white with just a hint of a shadow or reflection below, and have some fill light from both left and right, and try not to use too much frontal lighting. Sometimes my exposures are up to 4 seconds long since I use a macro lens up close or natural light indoors, so the tripod is a must. Balancing the lights and shadows in Photoshop is really important, and also trying to not abuse contrast and saturation, so that the materials look like the real thing and not exaggerated.
I always take a main pic in pure white, and then take some more natural ones, which vary depending on the model and concept. The white keeps the storefront consistent, that’s always my main goal, to look professional. I’ve seem some do it with black, that looks sleek as hell too, but I would need better lighting equipment to deal with black backgrounds.
I had some amazing floral design work done by Birch & Bone which really helps bring the photos to life, it makes them stand out with great color palettes, and it also showcases the potential of each planter.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I work at Walt Disney Feature Animation doing CG Layout (digital cinematography), the most recent films I worked on were Frozen, Big Hero 6, and the upcoming Zootopia. I’m an animator, originally from Paraguay, and living in Los Angeles, and had been making successful animated shorts for several years before moving into feature animation. I learned a lot of the 3D tools while in school, and a lot more while working at Disney, but the majority of what I learned came from doing online tutorials on my own.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
Animation is what got me into this. I made a CG short, I had the main character modeled already, and thought it would be great to have a figurine of it. It all started from there, and then I became a bit obsessed with the idea of having a physical copy of whatever 3D designs I came up with. Being able to pay for the hobby with an online shop just made it all work out great.
How do you promote your work?
I share it on social media, and also post a few links on Reddit if I think they are relevant (I don’t like spamming). If it goes viral I’m all like “Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talking about” and I don’t have to do any promotion, it’s all done for me, so I hope that every idea resonates with people and that it gets shared enough. If it doesn’t go viral, I self-flagellate and cry myself to sleep for not doing a good enough job. I guess my biggest strategy is to trust strong ideas, since I don’t have the time or resources to be actively promoting, this is still just a hobby for me.
Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
I’m a fan of Nervous System, Brian Chan, Bathsheba, Virtox, Brian Richardson, Theo Jansen, and Henry Segerman. They are all great designers, with unique ideas and superb execution. I like models that take concepts one step further, not just a pretty model, not just a nice mathematical shape, not just a cool design, but models that plus themselves with a further concept or idea.
If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
Fully integrated mechanical parts with multiple materials. I’d like to make a tiny working creature, or city, or landscape, with some transparent things, some moving things, some rubbery things, all sorts of mixed materials that are durable and hyper detailed.
Also, you guys need to get some graphene. Now. Print me some graphene with atom-wide resolution and I’ll offer you my soul. I don’t care what I print with it, it can be a potato, or a badly modeled cube, but if it’s graphene I’ll be happy.
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT THIS SHOP:
- Really, really amazing photography. The detail shots, context for use, angles and “empty” planters are so helpful for shoppers to see every detail they need before purchasing
- Thoughtful, unique collections (more reason to buy more than 1 thing!)
- Shop All view is clean and lovely to browse
- Sections for easy shopping
Thank you so much, Joaquin, for taking the time to update us on your designing adventures. Congratulations on such a beautiful Porcelain launch collection! We can’t wait to see what else you create to really show off this amazing material. Make sure to check out Joaquin’s shop (not just Porcelain!), Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and his website! To be featured, email aimee @ shapeways.com.