Rarely in 3D design and anything 3D printing-related do color pattern and texture get a lot of focus and attention, even when they are the first things buyers notice in a product. On a mission in this episode to shed light on these overlooked 3D printing areas, Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard interview Josh St. John, a passionate, creative technologist and the Head of Creators of Z by HP with a background in design and digital manufacturing. Beyond form and function, Josh brings surface material details into the 3D creator ecosystem, particularly through Project Captis—a prototype device that uses a type of 3D imaging to capture any material and render it digitally. He tells us how it uses 3D scanning with the process called photometry and where it is headed in the future. Now, achieving the type of material you want for your 3D printed design has become much easier. Tune into this show to learn more about material visualization in 3D design and why the digitization of materials makes a difference to the entire 3D creator ecosystem.
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Bringing Surface Material Details into the 3D Creator Ecosystem with Project Captis and Josh St. John
We’ve got another great interview with someone from HP. This time it’s a subject area that’s close to home for Tracy and her experience from her whole career. You have always made color material finishes and textures. You’re always the one at the back of the room waving your hand, “You forgot about texture. Where’s the color?”
If you’ve read all of our episodes here, you will see I probably mentioned it every single one at least once. Interestingly, as we were planning the series Z by HP came into it as a co-sponsor even though they’re within the same company because I met them at Adobe MAX. It’s this massive conference. It is gigantic. I don’t think I’ve been to a bigger conference that was intensely packed that my brain hurt at the end of the day. It was powerful inspirational talks and Billie Eilish was there. She was talking about her process. There are some cool things that are going on at the event, but then they have the trade show floor.
I go on the trade show floor and I start to see some cool fun things. One of the things that I saw was the whole Z by HP booth area. They were printing sunglasses and they had this pyramid thing that was sitting next to a design computer. I was like, “I got to find out what they’re doing with this thing.” It turns out that it was making representations of texture from materials. I was fascinated by it. I had a great time. I had to go, but I didn’t want to leave. We always said we were going to followup and this series came out of it. I’m excited to talk to someone in more detail about that.
We’ve got Josh St. John. He’s the Head of Creators from Z by HP. He heads up the Project Captis, which is what we’re going to talk a bit about. He’s passionate with creative technologies and he has a background in design and digital manufacturing. He has appeared on CNN, Engadget, CNET, SyFy, The Verge, Animal Planet and more. He’s a recovering New Yorker but he’s based in Encinitas. He has lived and traveled across the globe in Brazil, Hong Kong, India and the UK, where he’s had some notable stints. He’s an avid photographer, a 3D designer and a creator. He’s always building something in his studio. I think it shows in his passion for what he’s talking about. I’m super glad that we get to talk to Josh.
Josh, thanks for joining us. I’m excited to talk about my favorite subject, color, pattern, texture, materials, the whole thing. That’s my side of it.
It’s great to be here. I’m excited to air the project and talk to you.
This is a treat for Tracy because rarely in 3D design, at least in our experience and in anything 3D printing-related does color pattern and texture get a lot of focus and attention.
We tend to talk a lot of form and function and how the printers work. We don’t get to talk about those surface details, which I have a degree in. This is something that we love. What I’m excited about though is how did this come about that you said this is important, that this is worth concentrating on? It’s not the most common thing for a lot of engineers and designers to be thinking about the surface end.
That’s a hard question because there’s a lot of different places I can start, but where I’ll start is over the last 50 years or so, a lot of the made world has shifted to digital. If you look at the sets of CAD tools, they grew up alongside of the machines. The representations of the CAD systems, all of that is merged with the machine. I know that stuff stretches back longer than that, but I’m generalizing. Shape and form is digitized now, but materials are still completely analog. The textile industry is one example. How do you look at your samples? You get swatches of material and these books. It’s still analog. There are a lot of different reasons. I’ve been obsessed with materials my whole adult life and even before that. This project sprung out of a hybrid of general interest in 3D and fabrication techniques and the need to see material workflows go digital.
You and I must be separated at birth because this is my fascination with everything. It’s always been this. I felt it was early on that there was so much of the industry that was focused on how to create the CAD models, how to create the files, how to do all of the geometry, how to get those things accurate, how to start getting them to be predictive and all those other things. To them, they weren’t trained to have material. The early industrial design model of teaching was always model it in gray, add color and material later. It wasn’t even a part of their thought process and their own design process. For me, that comes first. For you, it sounds like it does as well.
We did a product launch and I told the story about getting my first CNC machine. It was 1995 at a public high school in New England. I was a freshman and learning how to cut. Ever since that moment, I was obsessed with being able to make things physically. I ended up becoming a jeweler and that’s when I got my first 3D printer. In the early 2000s, it was an early solid soundscape machine. I learned so much about the user experience from the jewelry industry. Nobody gets that. If you put all the finest materials into something, the finest craftsmanship, and I spent all this time on it. I do it to somebody and they go, “Eh.” They show me something that is made out of a horribly tarnished silver. It’s an unpure alloy.
There’s a synthetic stone in it from the early 1900s. Their grandfather or something bought it when they were deployed overseas. The story happened to me countless times. I’m like, “Your stone is synthetic. The metal is no good.” They would look I was insulting them. I’m like, “I’m telling you the truth. This is the truth.” What I realized is that there is this connection that people make with physical things that’s not informed by logic. The materials are almost influenced by love of that thing. Coming up through the 3D printing industry, materials have been an afterthought because it was like what can we print? Where can we go? Now we have a wider range on the 3D printing side and optimization side. It’s immense to express materials in all their complexity.In the #3Dprinting industry, shape and form are digitized now, but surface materials are not. @hp @zbyhp Click To Tweet
It was bringing to mind this necklace that I had gotten from my mom. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer on 9/11. As part of the hospital, they had given everyone these heart necklaces as a charity thing where they had a thumbprint in it. You would receive it. It was a pendant. I can remember she would be in getting treatment. I’d be in the lobby and I would be rubbing it because it was perfectly fit for your thumb and I would be rubbing it. It ended up with this beautiful color, which I knew the material was not good, but it ended up with this cool finish color. I must have spent hours trying to figure out how to replicate it on a product that I wanted to make. It wasn’t easy. I get that and I understand that we have this connection to color pattern and texture that is on a level that we don’t understand. It touches us straight in the heart and we don’t see and understand it consciously.
You bring up gray models in CAD, and you look at a cube or the edge of something that’s so perfect. That doesn’t exist anywhere. Everything’s cracked, broken, wrinkled and dusty. Being able to get to that level with our digital representations is important to me. I think that it puts humanity and our experience into those digital assets.
Let’s get a little bit of background here so that everybody catches up her. Tell us a little bit about what Z by HP is because that’s new to us here. We haven’t heard that part. We’ll talk about Project Captis.
Z by HP, in some ways it’s a new brand because we launched it at Adobe MAX. Z workstations have a long history. The workstations division of HP create the high-performance machines for mission-critical tasks. This stems from things like oil and gas, aerospace, media and entertainment, product development, and now extending into areas AR, XR, VR for the immersive experiences. It’s our brand of workstations. We have a line of desktops and mobiles, as well as some centralized solutions that we sell to creators all over the world who are making all of the things that we interact with.
Project Captis came out of that.
Yes. I came into HP to join a group called Immersive Computing. That’s where Sprout came from. I don’t know if you guys are familiar with the Sprout Project that was innovative. I came in after Sprout and we were looking at 3D scanning and that’s where Project Captis started. We acquired a company called David Laser and they made a structured light 3D scanner. We were partnered with Adobe and we have some great friends and collaborators over there. They had some ideas about how to make material digitizers. That was the beginning. When I joined Z by HP, Project Captis came with me.
I got to see it at the big announcement that was at Adobe MAX. That’s where I saw it. They demoed the little pyramid for me. It was cool. We were looking at that and I was talking to the technician who was running it, whose name I wish I remembered.
It was Daniel or Dylan. If he had long hair, it was Dylan.
He had short hair, so it must be Daniel. He was demoing it and we were talking about the complexities of patterns and textures and lighting. He was like, “You’re unusual.” I was like, “I have a huge textile design experience. I know what you’re trying to scan and why it’s hard.” We hadn’t seen anything, but I have to tell you, it was fast. I looked at that, I can remember spending hundreds of hours trying to clean up scans to make simulations in the early part of my textile design career. They never looked anywhere as good as that did in the ten minutes that I was standing there.
Physically-based rendering, which is the technique that we’re using, is not new. It’s been around for a while, but it’s emerged as the standard for rendering. We call it PBR. I like to say, “PBR is the new RGB.” You get to paint without shadow and then add shadow in afterwards. That’s the beauty of physically-based rendering. Once you have the materials, the way you can visualize them is compelling. There’s so much standardization coming across the rendering engines. The GPUs has gotten so good that it’s just unbelievable quality of visual fidelity that you can get. Captis, for the vast majority of especially textiles, it’s very fast. There’s nothing quite like it on the market.
Tom, you didn’t get to see it. Maybe we should have Josh tell us a little bit about how it works and how it happens. We were talking about the difference in the type of technology that they’re using.
We have studied 3D imaging scanning a lot of times to create a three-dimensional object from a series of photos, which I think is called photogrammetry. You’ve got a different process with a little bit similar name called photometry. Can you help explain the difference?
Photogrammetry is aimed at creating a geometry. It works on the premise that if you have two images of the same object, if you can determine the distance between the pixels, and you know that distance, then you can determine the depth. They use a lot of pictures and they can lose their way in there. There are other techniques where you can project on top of it like it’s inside of your phones or the connect center. You’re projecting either visible or invisible light to help match those pixels. That would be active 3D scanning versus more of a passive photogrammetry technique. All of these require lots of images. It’s called correspondency callguring out which pixel is which on the object. From that, you determine the depth and you end up with point cloud. From point cloud, you can do all kinds of cool stuff like meshing and reverse engineering. That’s photogrammetry.
Photometry, you’re looking at shadows. There’s a number of different approaches. In this case, what we’re doing is we’re changing the way we cast light onto the object. What we’re able to do is shine the light from eight different light sources and watch the way the shadows move. The other thing that we do is we have a polarizing filter. We take cross-polarized and co-polarized images. We can compare those so that shiny areas can be masked out and we can know that they were shiny or not shiny. If you want to get a transparency layer, you can put the sample onto a piece of plexiglass and shine light from beneath.
The opacity of a material has a lot to do with its perception and how it looks. When you can’t render that properly, you’re not demoing what it looks like. We used to design shine lot of chairs in our career Like the one you’re sitting next to. You have a material that has spaces between it like a mesh, trying to stimulate the air coming through it without making it visually distracting and get the sense of air and space between it, that it’s not solid there. That’s hard to do.
If you needed to represent it as geometry, it would be so heavy. You wouldn’t be able to. That’s another nice thing about these PPR techniques is that I can use photogrammetry. I love 3D scanning. I got my first 3D printer in ‘04. I got my first 3D scanner in ‘06. The 3D scanned data is so hard to use. There’s not a good tool to this day that I love using. There is one tool that I use, but it’s an obscure one, but the geometry is painful. When you have a good object with the right texture maps, you can use it in many different ways. It’s much more flexible.
Creating for instance the back of a chair as a single plain object and then mapping the texture of the mesh on it is much less CPU and RAM-intensive with a computer and still produces the result you want.
There are cool techniques for it now. The simple example is if I take a displacement map, a grayscale map and I compare the file size of the point cloud that I created to that 4K image. There’s other type of compression that’s happening there. It’s still hard to use. The workflow is difficult. Project Captis were aimed at fixing that, making it easier to be able to have that physicality without the complexity. There are some challenges there that aren’t involved in Project Captis like how to do CAD models versus CG models and topology.
That’s why you’re working with partners like Adobe and other people. You have some mind share on that stuff. One of the things that I was talking with Daniel about when I was at the Adobe MAX show, they were printing out sunglasses, which I’ll share a picture of the one that I have. There were beautifully printed packages that went with it. You’ve probably got a pair lying around. Texture for us in production is a whole matter of sin in the producing process. It can in 3D print as well because there’s this quality perception that goes along with seeing lines and the way that consumers perceive it.
The powder texture that naturally comes on certain objects and textures can disguise those things and take your eye away from the limitations of the material and read it more as a fine object.
Going back to the design systems that came up with subtractive, they were built for each other. Imagine if you could design one grain of sand at a time, it doesn’t exist. There’s no system for that. There’s no approach. I think the things that are looked at as problems with 3D printing surfaces or whatever it is are missed opportunities that haven’t been uncovered yet. MJF will get fusion from HP. The printer arrays that we take from our PageWide printing technology, texture is a superpower. When I show people the quality of faux textile stitching, etc., people will look at me like they do not even know what it is. People will try to take mechanical CAD and apply it to additive approaches. It’s going to take 50 years before the design systems are there. Not just the user, but the underlying reputations. The way in which the computer can understand those complexities has to be managed in some way. Project Captis is 90% about digitalization, but for me, it’s 99% about 3D printing.While #ProjectCaptis is 90% about digitalization, it's 99% about #3Dprinting. @hp @zbyhp Click To Tweet
When we first started the show way back when, this was the holdback. Not being able to have good color, not being able to have a good texture. It was always going to have this, “Is it real? Is it fake? Is it going to hold up?” The consumer isn’t willing to make the educated leap at any point. They want what they want. They want it to look the way that they want. Color pattern and texture is a huge part of that. Resolving one of those factors with everything that you’re doing, that’s huge right there.
Tom, that’s a beautiful shirt that you’re wearing. Was it made on a Singer 5000 sewing machine? Nobody cares. A few of us are like, “My sunglasses are 3D printed.” For the most part, that’s not how people shop. You have to meet them where they are. The thing about additive and textures is we can do things that aren’t possible any other way.
That is always what’s excited me about 3D printing. It’s doing things that couldn’t be made any other way, not just making something in a different way. That to me is the excitement. The textures, the visualization of it, and like you were saying about my shirt, it’s all about making that emotional connection with whoever the consumer is.
We’re all sitting here under quarantine. One of the things I think that’s awesome about 3D printing right now is the way people are mobilizing around the world. That’s the other thing, it can only be made with 3D printing, but speed, time to market, distributing supply chain, all of those other things that we’re seeing the value of right now. Having all of this infrastructure splits right around the globe that instantly can turn. It’s much harder to change a manufacturing site that’s built for one specific thing than it is to start printing different geometries in the material. 3D printing offers a flexibility, but I think we’re seeing another vector of its utility beyond can only be made that way. We’ll see that the masks are made out of non-woven blown materials. There will be enough, but in the meantime there’s all of this amazing work that’s going on. It’s beautiful and inspirational.
What I love most about 3D printing is that all of a sudden it gets personalized. The bands that help hold the mask on the back of your head, it relieves the pressure off the ears, which definitely is necessary if you have worn a mask out in public at all. I’ve seen somewhere there they’ve definitely customized it. Sure enough, there’s got to be some hair problem. It was catching in their hair and they changed the design of it slightly, so that wouldn’t catch in their hair anymore. That’s where we start to get it. We do get that so much in pattern and texture. That’s where a lot of personalization happens to people because they do make it something that they love and appreciate. They embed their personality into their objects that way.
The texture is in the content like digital materials in the context of COVID too. China’s supply chain is turning back on. It’s starting to ramp back up. While it was down, so many materials are made in China, the textile mills, the tanneries, they’re all there. Think about the remote work thing. Remote work used to be thought of as a luxury, but now I think there’s the shift to we have to have that capability as a backup for the economy. If we do need to put in something social distancing, the economy can’t miss a beat, so we need to be able to ship. Having those systems in place to be able to manage that, digitization of materials related to anything in garment or any industry, there has to be that digital twin of all of these materials.
I’ve been begging for that integration process. One of the challenges that you’re probably facing and part of why you have looked at doing the collaborations with different parts of divisions and with Adobe in general is that a lot of it also has to happen on an education side, from the creative side. The creative designers need to be educated on the use of materials and the properties of materials and things like that, which they don’t always get.
It’s also the same with design for additive. You talked to mechanical engineers who came up through that world, they have to learn new tool sets. These are generational changes. I think of how lucky I was to get exposure to the technology so early. Now the kids are coming out of school, the high schoolers or whatever during the maker movement. They got their first robotics competition in junior high school. All of that stuff, they come up with thinking volume that lean on thinking in a different way. The same thing needs to happen for the materials. People have to understand the way light interacts with surfaces that changes it. If you look at things that are highly anisotropic like fancy wood or rich wood.
Tom and I have done a lot of furniture over our years. We simulated not only that, but sometimes we’d have to design faux veneers. We used to joke, “Pictures of wood on pictures of wood.” That’s how bad it was. We could never quite get the full texture and the full look we wanted in our heads. It’s not achievable.
It’s literally quantum. The way in which the light hits it from one angle is completely different than the way it hits it from the other level. We do have a physically-based render and we have good techniques for doing a lot of this stuff now. I’ll show you some wood scans that the team’s been able to achieve and it’s super compelling.
Tell us what stage everything is at right now. What’s going on with the Z Project and the Project Captis in general? Can we buy it yet?
What we announced at Adobe MAX was a set of partnerships. We’ve engaged with a handful of customers. The COVID thing is probably going to slow down our announcement plans. We’re not sure when events are going to fire back up, etc. Stay tuned for announcements but we are engaged with a set of customers across industries, getting their feedback and response. What we’re trying to do is understand the workflows better, understand where the pain points are, the difference in needs between a game designer, a furniture maker, an automotive person, an architect, fashion designers. They’re different. The device could be different. What we’re focused on understanding that user need and those kinds of user modes. On the technology side, how do we make it super accessible and usable? The team at Adobe, I want us to specifically call out my two partners in this. There was Anthony Salvi, Principal Product Manager at Adobe. He came from a company called Algorithmic that they acquired, and a guy named Jerome Durrell that are both instrumental. The design of the device came from them. The initial concept and design came from them.#HP is literally a company founded by creators in a garage. It was the original garage. Insubordination is a part of the culture. @hp @zbyhp Click To Tweet
The device that I saw was 3D printed. They were testing it. I thought, “Use your skillsets to do what you need to do in your own work process.” I thought it was great.
The funniest story, they supplied me the concepts and we had our agreement. My son was born and I was on paternity leave and I designed this lamp. It all snapped together, the structure and that would go into one MJF build. I thought about it and I was like, “I can use the same act approach to build the scan box,” we called it that at the time what we can Project Captis. The initial idea was we’re going to wrap it all in textile. The guys in the model shop at HP that I worked with, Brian is his name. He doesn’t know how to sew. He was troubled like, “How are we going to get this thing cut and sewn? We don’t want to do pattern making. We’re not going to get a contractor. It’s going to be a pain.” I was like, “Let’s 3D print textile onto the surfaces.” I took a displacement map that matched the material that we wanted to use. I displaced the geometry and 3D print it that way, even added little stitching in. All of the non-electronic, non-mechanical components are all 3D printed for all of the Project Captis devices.
From the role at what’s going on at Z by HP and the projects that you’re all involved in, what do you think are the challenges going forward for the 3D print industry, for the digital manufacturing, for the creative side of processing, whatever side you want to tackle in this answering this question? What do you see as some of the challenges going forward that maybe are outside of the realm of control or an industry challenge?
There are a few pieces. If I put on my Z by HP hat on because of COVID, they know everybody is shifting to remote. We had to support all of our customers in how do they shift their workforce forces remote. That’s been a big pending topic and it’s been amazing to see how fast we could do that. On the Project Captis side, in the context of everything that’s going on, how do we engage with these customers who are now all remote? That’s been a challenge.
It slowed down the processing because there are other side of the business they have to figure out.
When you talk about innovation projects, now is the time for dedicated and focused execution. I will say though, because everybody understands the need for this long-term, that we’ve been able to find a way. In the short-term, we want to keep the testing going, keep the software evolving, iterate more on the hardware and understand those customer pain points. What we’re about is workflow. What are those workflow experiences that make things not awful? I spend a lot of time interviewing creators and you hear how much part of their time is spent dealing with the overhead of the workflow and not being in that creative zone.
This is what we struggle with as designers that so much of our time, which means the money because we bill hours or we bill by projects. It’s spent in this workflow, trying to get things to be visualized better so we can communicate what we need. The reality is it’s not creative part of the process. It’s not the innovative part. That’s not the part they want to pay you for.
It’s that saying like, “It took me five seconds to draw, but it took me 30 years to learn how to draw in five seconds.” The thing I wanted to touch on is I don’t know about you, but when I finish a project, I’m never happy. I’m never like, “It’s awesome.” The part that I enjoy is when I’m in that creative zone, that collaboration, those arguments and fights, micro wins and losses, setbacks and self-doubt. All of that stuff is the part that’s enjoyable. When the outcome is done, it’s a relief. Maybe you’re proud of the work. Maybe the work stands the test of time. Maybe it’s useful to somebody in some way.
You’re onto the next thing already.
Especially when you release products, because by the time the product hits the market, I’m already halfway through the next cycle. That’s the old work. I think we’re focused on how do you make that process awesome. How do you learn from the process? The macro trend, I’ve been watching a slow motion collision between the CG and visual effects, digital fabrication, and mechanical engineering my whole career. The representations of CAD, nerve surfaces versus poly models and topology and texture maps. These things were oil and water. You can’t mix them. You throw into it an additive where you have volume, and now you’re talking about CT machines and DICOM stacks, how do they deal with the volume? I feel like there’s underlying representation problems that we haven’t sorted through to fully take advantage of what mechanical systems can do. On the workflow side, try to focus on process and improve those experiences. On the technology side, try to mitigate or innovate around some of the underlying technical challenges.
What I love there is you’re not in the weeds of, “We’re still trying to solve how we get light onto this.” We’re worrying about how we’re going to help everyone use it. What has been eye-opening for me as we’ve been talking to everyone from HP over the course of the series, planning the series and other things is that the types of areas you all are focused on is so fantastically helpful to us as users and designers and business owners and all of those things. We appreciate all your hard work.
HP is literally a company founded by creators in a garage. It was the original garage. Insubordination is a part of the culture. One thing to point out about Project Captis, it wasn’t insubordination, but it was always a set of side projects of some curious and passionate engineers finding cycles to innovate on. HP definitely makes room for that. It’s an incredible company. I’m proud to be part of it.
Josh, thank you for coming on the show. Thanks for joining us.
Bringing Surface Material Details into the 3D Creator Ecosystem with Project Captis and Josh St. John — Final Thoughts
I was impressed to learn that Josh gets into all different aspects of what he does with the work that he created models and was testing things out. Even during his paternity leave, he mentioned that he was creating a 3D printed lamp. He was inspired and realized, “The Project Captis device that’s going to scan all these things, we can model that and print it on our printer and 3D print it.” It makes total sense. It’s interesting that it takes somebody with a multidisciplinary talent and education to be able to drive a project like this forward.
I think so often that’s what we get into. Many of the companies and the people we talk about because they have limited budgets. They get into their technology realm and they stay right within that. What they don’t realize is all these other things still have to come in around you. Collaborations are required. You need to partner up with companies. You need to work on workflow. One of our good friends calls me, “You’ve got to have a customer advisory board. You’ve got to be able to talk to these customers. You’ve got to build a dialogue back and forth between them.” That’s what they’re building and doing because they see that bigger picture of how things are going on.
I’m impressed by this. What we also have to recognize as designers in this environment, as creators or makers, wherever you are in production, even on the digital manufacturing side of things, there is not going to be the consumer acceptance of things. The consumer perception of things. The bar has gotten raised in every single area. He was talking about all the XR, the VR, the AI, all of these things. Our television, our movies, all of these things have gotten amped up there in terms of production quality. You can’t rely on having the biggest budget and being able to have the best creative team on the planet to be able to do the next fantastic Netflix series or whatever it’s going to be coming out of it. You got to be able to equalize that so that everyone can have access to it because otherwise there’s going to be such a gap between what consumers will accept.
That’s the thing. The consumer doesn’t care how it’s made. They want the end result product. You’ve got to create something people want. I thought it was a great point Josh made. I think he called it the Singer 5000. I would call it the Benford 6100. Nobody cares how it was made. They only care about is it desirable? Is there a need for it? Do they want it?
At the end of the day, am I going to create a personal connection? This is the thing. I’m going to go back because this is one of our last episodes that we did prior to the series. We did an episode on this 3D print mic flag. You can see it in the video. It’s 3D printed. Does anybody care that it’s 3D printed? No, but because we 3D printed it, we were able to create the slot of which we could easily drop in the customized show logos. Our clients on our podcasting business side love it. This is their thing. They don’t care how it was made. It was the fact that we were able to make it that way in order to be able to deliver them something. They created that personal connection for them. That’s what they care about at the end of the day. That’s our ultimate goal is if we can make ease that all up for everybody and make that so that we become personally connected to the stories in our videos, the game that we’re playing, the movie that we’re watching, and the objects that we buy and consume, that’s fantastic.
While I had some apprehension that when people get this mic flag, they’re going to notice it’s 3D printed that it has the layer lines in it. I’ve got to tell you, out of hundreds and hundreds of them that we have provided to our clients are shipped to people. I have people that keep coming back and we give them away to customers at a certain level, but we also have people coming in buying them from us. Not one customer has ever asked me, “Is that 3D printed? How was that made? Why is this texture on it?”
I had them on display at a trade show. They picked it up and said, “Is this 3D printed?” They were fascinated by it. I have had it where I tell them that it was 3D printed after the fact and that makes it even cooler to them. It starts from the fact that the whole thing is textured. Everything is right from the beginning. This is something that I learned early on because I came out of that textile world. We did significant research back when I worked for Herman Miller on how color pattern and texture affect productivity and acceptance with the users, consumers and people, specifically in that case, it was in an environment and not with an object. At the end of the day, that’s what people respond to first. When they say they don’t like something, it’s typically a response to the color, the pattern and the texture of it first, then it’s function and form right after that. The gut reaction in not liking something is a tactile and visual thing.
The gut reaction that piques your interest and your curiosity to go and look a little closer and say, “What is that? I want to understand what that is,” is also one of those initial physical qualities.
It’s important because think about how much digital shopping we’re doing, think about how much digital searching we’re doing. If our digital images of things, if our digital production of things is not at a caliber at which we’re capturing attention, we’re getting lost. Kudos to the HP team, kudos to Z by HP and the Project Captis and everything that they’re doing over there because I’m excited about this to come to market. I think it’s going to change not just the workflows and the quality of everything that comes out. I also think it’s going to change the design process for many to be able to do things that they thought, “This is too hard, so I’m not going to address it,” but now they will be able to. Our design process will become more holistic.
Hopefully, considered earlier in the process too. We also have all the tools and all of the different resources and links to everything at 3DStartPoint.com/HP. Check it out and don’t forget to come back again. There are lots more to come. Thanks.
Get Even More!
- Meet the Reinventor: Josh St. John, Co-Creator of Project Captis
- HP & Adobe Power a New Era of 3D Production Technology for Creatives
- Tracy’s Inc. Article on Customer Advisory Boards
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