This is a story about how the Universe likes to remind us that we should not be without humor and humility.
I've been 3D printing now for about 3 years or so. In that time I've had my rocky experiences - 3D printers are as much art as science and the whole enterprise takes a decent deal of finesse and just a pinch of luck, so sometimes you see your machine printing in midair with the filament having run out long ago, or you get spaghetti when things don't adhere to the print bed properly, that sort of thing. It happens, and I have to account for what retailers might file under loss, shrink, or breakage, in case of that exact type of happening. But I haven't had it happen much, and not at a catastrophic level. Well, I hadn't had it happen at a catastrophic level...
I've been drawing and designing things all my life. Friends and family always told me I should 'make something of myself' with my art. But until the 21st century came along, one couldn't exactly get their work in front of the masses with ease. Sure, I had dreams of creating characters for cartoons and video games, but all the giant portfolios and stacks of bristol and newsprint wouldn't just magically end up in front of the right eyeballs, and I was far too young and confused to figure out the right path.
And of course, analog art tools have their inherent limitations. Limitations that force creative solutions, to be sure, but at the same time many of those limitations are simply arbitrary hindrances. My left-handedness assured plenty of smeared pencil and ink drawings over the years; too many erasures on a line and you'd burn a hole in the paper; watercolors never seemed to flow in their intended ways for me. Plenty of people have worked just fine with those limitations for centuries! But even those people might have thoroughly enjoyed a simple Undo button, no?
I say all that to say this: In the art and design world, I am absolutely thrilled to be able to work all-digital. While my style is more graphical these days, I can still break out a "pencil" drawing, or a painting. And in some cases I can change that look on the fly! Plus, creative people can instantly beam their creations to the entire internet - more eyes on your work equals more opportunities to connect with someone that really appreciates what you do, and more opportunity is never a bad thing.
It boils down to hardware and software, though, when it comes to executing in the digital space. Until those got to feeling "right," this digital-workflow thing was still only marginally better than analog, to me. This post's focus is on....
Hardware, or "Why do I keep hoping for a single machine that does everything?"
Here is an interesting challenge I undertook… As I worked closely with the ‘air-talent’ from the fledgling Rocketdemon Productions network of podcasts and blogs spanning gaming, writing, music and more, I’ve done illustrations and logo work that attempt to capture the nature of the content along with the character of the hosts where applicable. One such host, Krystal - known to gamers as Freckles - did two shows: one an official network program, and one a series of Let’s Play streams. While both shared the premise of “streaming video game play”, they served different purposes.