Shapeways member interview: Coppersink.

The first Shapeways member we are going to interview is Coppersink aka Nick Pittom. Some of you may remember his lovely Chaos Mohawk Fightbot that he showed us on the forum. The bot was a model of one of the Mighty Moshin Emo Rangers, a popular online video show that Nick makes. If you want to check out his other work and a rather scary picture you can go here.

So, tell us about yourself?

I’m freelance,
but don’t really have a specific job description. Let’s say Editor,
post-production and Director as these are the jobs I undertake mostly.
I graduated from a BA Film and TV at Bournemouth Uni five years ago,
after which I was a post production runner in London before becoming
self employed. In the meantime I’ve mainly worked as an editor on music
related productions but have also directed music videos, worked camera
on Pimp My Ride UK and also currently make a show on MTV2 in the UK
called Mighty Moshin Emo Rangers. So it’s all a broad tapestry of
random things really.

Are you really 108 years old, it says so on your MySpace?

I was not aware I had put that, oh well, Im actually 26.

How did you get into 3D modeling?It had
always been an interest ever since I had seen the earliest examples of
CG on TV. I would try to get hold of 3D design programs, trying out
Lightwave and POV-ray. I started out simply being fascinated by the way
a computer could create such visuals, but as I moved more towards video
I started to see it as a way to add effects to videos, starting with
bullets on a Matrix style video I made when i was 16. Since then I have
slowly improved, but I doubt I will ever be anything more then an
amateur compared to some of the guys working out there.

What 3d modeling software do you use? And what are its’ advantages? 3DS MAX – it’s very easy to get quick results and the easiest
software I’ve found to work with. It is also good for making and animating robots, which tends to be what I make.

What are 3DS MAX’s limitations? It
used to be the quality of the rendering, but things have moved on and
MAX now incorporates Mental Ray. I personally use VRay for a lot of
rendering as it has a great GI setup. But I’m lazy with lgihting, so
tend to stick to HDRI maps – something I have taken the  time to learn
how to make. There are also other software that is better at modelling and
animation, but it suits my needs. If I was to go full time 3D then I
would endevour to learn Maya however.

How did you discover Shapeways?I think it
was on either Digg or Reddit. Possibly a google search. I had been
interested in 3D printing for a while and this was the first service I
saw that actually let regular people print things off in a convenient
and user friendly way.

do you think of it so far?
ordered a second copy of an object and I’m highly impressed, although
unfortunately I could not afford the best material. As with all things
I imagine that costs will eventually drop and I can see myself getting
many objects printed from Shapeways.

Bad/good things about Shapeways? Bad: Cost is quite high (expected, as it’s such a new technology).
Some usability niggles – having multiple ways toview my objects would
be good, not simply thumbnails that I have to click across pages. The
way I have split my object into pieces also means I have to go back and
forwards between pages to order all the parts and some kind of tick box
to select all the seperate parts would be good.

Good: Unique –
there’s currently no better way I know of to get a 3D
model from my computer to the real world.
    Support – great
support from people on the forum and from shapeways to get my model
suitably ready to print. I apreciate it’s not a simple process, but it
was much easier than I expected thanks to the support.
    Cost actually appears low relative to other services (not expected for such a new technology).

What was it like to hold your model in your hand for the first time? Great
๐Ÿ™‚ I had ordered it as seperate parts (as the whole would not upload
properly once shrunk in size) and once I glued it together it was
awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

Tell us about the Mighty Moshin Emo Rangers? In
simple terms it’s basically Power Rangers – but Emo.

Which one are you? http://www.emorangers.com/ I’m not any of the rangers sadly, I’m one of the guys who makes the show. Although I do appear in the new episodes as a pirate.

Who are they? In the story they are 5 teenagers who are called
upon by Captain Emo Head to fend off bad guys with Emo based powers. In
real life they are kids (though older now) from our local area.

So what is an emo anyway? Emo is basically a genre of music and also a kind of style and social group – sort of like Goth, or New Romantic.

Why did you start making the movies? Me
and Chris Phillips, the other creator, have made videos together for a
while, these happen to be the most successful. We started Emorangers
3/4 years ago now.

Is it a hobby or would you like to make it into your job? My
job revolves around all the aspects that go into making Emo Rangers,
but sadly I don’t earn any money from Emo Rangers yet. Perhaps the next

Who watches your movies? How many? Emo
Rangers is mainly watched by teens on the Internet. We have quite a big
following in Mexico as well as the US, UK and also in Japan – there is
a video on youtube of a Japanese band performing the theme tune – very

Has your MySpace profile really been seen 1.9 million times? Probably – the videos on Youtube have somewhere in the region of 3 million combined views.

So, you’re selling the figures on your site, have people ordered them? Just
one so far ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t expect it to be a large seller however as it’s
quite a premium item, especially for the audience who tend to be quite
young. We won’t be getting rich off of it ๐Ÿ™‚

Are you interested in making turning the selling of the models into a business? We
have pretty much steered clear of this kind of merchandising so far as
it tends to be a drain on our time which should be spent on the show.
No doubt we could make a lot of money selling DVDs but that’s not
really what  we want to do as a job. Perhaps if the next few shows go
well we will consider it.

What would you need to do this? We
would have to get the prices more in range with expectations of the
audience. Specialist figures that sell in shops and online for films,
tv and comics tend to cost about a quarter of the price I can get 3D
printed models for. This is of course down to the economies of scale
etc, but it is a stubling block to making selling 3D objects a business
i can personally use for Emo Rangers.

What inspires you? Sci-fi films and books are a great inspiration as well as serial dramas such as Heroes, Lost, Dexter and Battlestar galactica.

Is 3d modeling/3d printing inspiring or do you like music/video much more? My
aspirations are directed towards TV, but CG is an incredibly inspiring
part of that and to have the things I dream up realized as tangible
objects is incredibly satisfying.

Thanx so much Coppersink!

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