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  • #51159
    Bandit
    Participant

    http://www.vice.com/read/warhammer-3d-printed-miniatures?utm_source=waypointfbusads

    “We” aka miniature gaming, made VICE News… opinions?

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #51162
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    The article seems fair enough in the way it represents us. It doesn’t mollycoddle us but nor does it misrepresent us in any major way.

    I don’t think hand-sculpted miniatures will go away. It’s like saying that 50 years from now there won’t be hand-drawn comics, graphic novels or artwork anymore because of advances in CGI. We’ll always have that desire to create things “with a soul”, and there will always be people with a natural talent for creating things by hand. That’s not to say 3d sculpting can’t give us new interesting possibilities, but I choose to believe that will be a widening of our field of options, not a case of one thing killing off another.

    Old-fashioned mould-making and spin-casting might not be guaranteed a future, however. That makes me a bit sad for the professionals in that field of work. But as for my own collection of miniatures I wouldn’t much care whether they’ve been moulded and spin-cast out of metal the old-fashioned way, or 3d-scanned and 3d-printed in high fidelity as long as the latter option would genuinely produce miniatures that look every bit as good once painted.

    Games Workshop’s existential anguish over the future really doesn’t interest me.

    #51175
    Mike
    Keymaster

    If 3D printing reaches the stage where a printed figure of comparable quality is the same price or cheaper as a metal one it may work.
    However, as someone that uses printed masters I believe they are neither yet.
    A metal vehicle I sell for say £2.50 would have cost about £40.00 to print in a reasonable quality, some touch up was required.
    No-one will spend that kind of money for a model of lower quality.
    Right now I dont think you can buy a printed figure at the same price as metal, and if you can the quality will not be as good.

    It makes me think of the recent trend to make things out of laser cut MDF just because you can.
    I recall seeing an MDF laser cut Hummer, it was more expensive than a resin one and no where near as nice.

    It is also much quicker to spin a mould and have ten vehicles pop out in a minute than to wait hours and hours to print some at a higher cost and lower quality.

    Just because you can make something using a certain method, does not mean you should…

    However, if the technology gets there then why not.

    #51179
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    The same GW centric, 28mm as the only scale view of wargaming that saw me stop buying wargames magazines and GW products.

    Yawn!

    3D printing may come in time but right now it’s still at the “cure for which there is no known disease” stage.

    YMMV

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #51180
    Mike
    Keymaster

    3D printing may come in time but right now it’s still at the “cure for which there is no known disease” stage.

    In terms of home printing for models yes, but as for making masters, it is great.

    #51185
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Short run custom items are there, but not exactly cost effective for anything like a major run. Like my 3mm scale Horus Heresy set I put together with National Cheese Emprium proxy pieces – they look great and easily comparable to metals at the scale. But it’s a custom job and mass production wouldn’t be feasible straight from the printer.

    #51200
    willz
    Participant

    I believe that 3D printing of wargame figures will come.  If you compare the development of home computers over the last 20 years, from fairly inefficient to super fast and efficient.  The same will happen with 3D printing, we will go to wargame shows or on line purchase a chip or web code and print off our wargame figures either wargame quality, good quality or super quality and pay for the standard we want.  Maybe we won’t have the printers at home, probably have them printed out at a high street shop.

    #51219
    Mike
    Keymaster

    If you compare the development of home computers over the last 20 years, from fairly inefficient to super fast and efficient.

    I can see the same pattern only if every office/business that needed a computer also needs a 3d printer.
    An office that has 2000 employees will need 2000 computers, an office with 4000 will need 4000 etc.
    But how many firms will need a 3d printer per employee?

    Until that level of demand is there I think it will be a long way off.

    #51227
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    If you compare the development of home computers over the last 20 years, from fairly inefficient to super fast and efficient.

    I can see the same pattern only if every office/business that needed a computer also needs a 3d printer. An office that has 2000 employees will need 2000 computers, an office with 4000 will need 4000 etc. But how many firms will need a 3d printer per employee? Until that level of demand is there I think it will be a long way off.

    I don’t really agree with this analogy. It’s not so much about the machines themselves as it is about the things that the machines produce. In the not-too-distant future all of us could have dozens, hundreds or even thousands of 3d-printed items in our homes and workplaces. Some of those items could even be ones that we expend and replace with new ones on a running basis.

    In this scenario, whereas we might not each have our own high-fidelity 3d printer, we would all have constant access to one. So it’s not just demand for “personal” 3d printers that drives technological development. Demand for 3d-printed products drives it as well, and I think that demand may be growing exponentially.

    I’m inclined to agree with William about high street shops.

    #51228
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    The printer analogy is a good one I think.

    I worked in an office with between 600 and 1200 people depending on exactly when we’re talking about. There were 10 printer/photocopiers.

    If we wanted a book we went to a library or a bookshop, we didn’t download a pdf and print it ourselves.

    Many people have home printers and they’re ideal for small, one-off jobs but if you want a major run of the same item it makes sense to go to a print shop.

    Seems to me that 3D printers are in a similar position. OK for one-offs and short runs but not for mass production in the near term. In the future we may all have Star Trek replicators, gods know many of the things imagined in the Sci-fi of my youth are now in everyday use. Who knew on the Sixties that I would now access my cash using a “cred-stick” that I tap to pay for things!

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #51258
    irishserb
    Participant

    I suspect that the most important aspect of 3D printing (and more importantly, all of the associated digital technology) with respect to the hobby, is that it opens up “sculpting” to people who can’t sculpt.  It won’t make sculptors obsolete, it just means that there can be a whole lot more competition on the creation side.  3D printers will be a lot more accessible than spin casters , and even more so than injection molding, thus production will be more accessible.  Additionally, people with ideas, but not sculpting skills will finally be able to realize their designs.  Also, when interfaced with scanning, the creation market opens up even more.

    Basically,  scanners and 3D designers, will supplement and partially replace traditional sculptors, and the three will increase the available product.  Unless the gaming market place greatly expands, this means that the competition will make creation of the original art  much cheaper, and may make it harder for some of us to eat.  Hopefully the marketplace will expand proportionally at least, and keep us all fat and happy.  The technology suggests to me that new avenues will be found to reach the 50th percentile marketplace, potentially bringing gaming in some form to a mark larger population segment.  This will result in the continued evolution of our hobby, but that will happen whether 3D printing contributes greatly or not.

    I can sculpt masters two to three times faster than any of our digital designers.  I believe that it will be hard for technology to make the digital guys  three or more times faster than they are now any time soon, so at least for some time, I think hands-on guys are still in the equation.  But they (digital dudes) can produce repetitive geometric shapes much more rapidly, and/or with greater accuracy than I can.  And most importantly, they can go out, scan a tank, refine/convert the scans, and 3D print a master in comparable time to me producing a master, a mold, and the first casting.  And, they have digital accuracy on their side, can readily scale up and down, and modify a single design into a product line, much more rapidly than I can.  Some things will be more readily available, more rapidly in our hobby future.

    Even historical, fantasy, and sci-fi humans can be mastered relative quickly  through the scanning process.  Additionally. we can scan a soldier and incorporate motion capture software, and be able to create endless poses of the soldier.  Different equipment can be scanned and added or removed as needed.  Right now this would take a lot of clean up work for each change, but software will lighten this burden in the future.  The bottom line is that from , more or less, a single scan, you could create an entire army of different figs in any scale.

    Some things, like a dragon, or alien spaceship or critter won’t be so fast.  Either the sculptor or the digital designer will have to create the original in one form of the other, as there is no real thing to scan.  Right now, it would be a lot faster for me to sculptor a critter, than for our digital guys to create it in the computer. And if that doesn’t change much for awhile, I still have a job.  I make the original, they scan it, refine the scans into printable objects, and print the alien dragon ship in any scale, and with mods if they like.  And in time better print quality will become less expensive, though I don’t think that casting goes completely out the door.  Just a matter for the right tool for the job, sometimes printing, sometimes casting.

    This is all just thinking in the relative short term, but mostly what I’m offering is that 3D printing and digital mastering are new tools that will modify the process.  In the same way that RTV rubber availability made casting available to almost anyone who wants to try, these new tools  can be incorporated to make products that are desired in the marketplace.  I doubt anything will get much cheaper or much more expensive, relatively speaking, as the thresholds in the current marketplace have already been established.  If it does then people will find ways to exploit that in the marketplace, but that would be outside the scope of my current hobby and thoughts.

    I expect that as technology grows, and the consumer is more and more often purchasing the intellectual property rights, more than a physical product, that restrictions, laws, and punishments will get more aggressive, and a lot more complicated.  There will be fluctuations (peaks and valleys) in the frequency of theft and pirating, but industry and legality will catch up.  The music industry didn’t go out of business, but sure changed because of technology.  I suspect that 3D printing will change are hobby, but with us being a small market, not so much change, not nearly as fast.

    Sorry for being so long winded.

    #51259
    irishserb
    Participant

    Oh, by the way, when I say “we” and reference the guys and tech at my day job, I want to qualify that we don’t produce miniatures. Its a totally unrelated business.  We just have tech or processes that could be used in miniatures applications.

    #51287
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    Oh, I really hope that 3d scanning of real people doesn’t become a thing in the miniatures industry. As far as I’m concerned, miniatures (of people and other non-mechanical subjects) aren’t supposed to be ultra-realistic. They’re supposed to have a certain artistic style about them, a certain flair. And yes, that includes the oversized heads and hands (within reason – some manufacturers like GW do go too far).

    To revisit my analogy about comic books, graphic novels and artwork, if those were all to become photo-realistic in the future due to advances in CGI, I would view that as a mass extinction of expressive forms. That’s much the same way I feel about the prospect of ultra-realism in miniatures.

    I’m already annoyed with the way some 3d sculptors today are working under a different paradigm as to what a miniature of a person is “supposed” to look like. The resulting figures are often devoid of personality and flair. For instance, the new 3d-sculpted official Doctor Who figures from Warlord Games look dull and lifeless compared to the hand-sculpted unofficial figures that used to be available from Heresy and Crooked Dice. 3d-sculpting can be done well, but that’s mostly when the sculptors in question fall in line with the already-established conventions and forms of hand-sculpted miniatures. The Antares range, also from Warlord, is a fairly good example of that. With most of the Antares figures, there aren’t any really glaring telltale signs that they were digitally sculpted as opposed to hand-sculpted. That’s what makes them look good to me.

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