Designer Spotlight: Joaquin Baldwin

This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Joaquin Baldwin, an animator who uses his professional skills and passion to create amazing figures with 3D printing.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I’m an animator living in Los Angeles. I work at the Walt Disney Animation Studios, where we make animated features (such as Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen, which comes out in November). I’ve made several animated shorts that have been on hundreds of film festivals and got a lot of attention online, they can be seen on my website. I’m also a photographer, and love taking pics of my 3D prints.

What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you? 

I like combining concepts, trying to come up with two disconnected ideas that connect well, from between a mind catalog of things I love. For example, moth/skeleton, origami/skeleton, caffeine/cup, bacon/mobius, Darwin/tree, mobius/nautilus, they all show my love for the sciences and everything nerdy. Not all of my designs emerge this way, but a great number of them do. I think that it is the single most important factor as to why my models are popular, it appeals to a niche audience (geeky people like myself), but it adds one extra layer of complexity that makes the object interesting and irresistible.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?

I can’t remember where I heard of 3D printing before, but I remember it catching my attention because it meant I could upload 3D models I had already made and get them printed… And since I had just finished a short film with characters modeled in 3D, I thought it’d be awesome to have a figurine from my own film. That film was Sebastian’s Voodoo, and the figure turned out so awesome that I was hooked immediately.

How did you learn how to design in 3D?

I learned because of my work in animation. I already knew how to use 3D software after years of studying and making short films, so it was an easy learning curve to get from that to 3D printing. The only thing that took some effort was getting used to the different material requirements, but that comes with some practice.
How do you promote your work?
I always start with the obvious social media sites, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and then I head to Reddit where if it catches on and goes viral, things go absolutely nuts and the promotion work is done for me. I only share those designs which I think the community will be interested in, only in a relevant subreddit, and only as an image hosted on imgur.com. I add a link to my store in the comments section so those interested can find it, but I don’t shove it down their throats. I’ve made the mistake of sharing store links directly before, and coming off as a salesman just to be shunned immediately.
Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
These are some ridiculously talented designers I admire:
chosetec: Meticulously articulated insects and crustaceans. (shout-out to another origami fan!) 
virtox: Insane gyroids, fractals, and incomprehensible mathematical surfaces.
WillLaPuerta: Massive geek, I love it. Dice, Cthulhu and so much more.
bathsheba: The art of simplicity in complexity. Stunning designs of a mathematical essence.
ryankittleson: Memes memes memes memes.
shhark: Because of skeletons. What gorgeous filigree work.

If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?

I’d love to print in graphene and precious stones, with an atomic resolution. Can you imagine? Here’s a ring made out of the strongest material known to man, and since we are printing with carbon atoms we might as well place them in a crystalline formation to shape a diamond. Also, that technology would be awesome to print tools with, I’d like to design my own Swiss Army knife full of geekery, and impossibly sturdy. Some day…

To find more incredible work from Joaquin, head over to his Shapeways Shop or his website. Discover more talented Shapeways Designers on our blog, or submit one of your own by emailing aimee@shapeways.com.

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