You can read my interview here.
You can also view the Plastic Injection Molding YouTube Channel here.
I recently did an online interview with the good folks over at Business Manufacturing and Injection Molding. It gave me the chance to give a bit more insight into my work and my thoughts about the art space in the 3D printing industry.
You can read my interview here.
You can also view the Plastic Injection Molding YouTube Channel here.
I don't really intend this post to be a review of the Surface Pro 3. Rather, I consider it relating my experiences with the Surface Pro 3 and what made it right for me. With that, hopefully it will help you decide if a Surface Pro may be right for you.
I spent a lot of time working with different tablet platforms and researched the Surface Pro 3 extensively doing comparisons with other computers in its class before I bought it. If you want to know more about my history with the tablet platform dating back to the Tablet PC, read my post, "How I go to the Surface (Pro 3)".
When the Pro 3 was announced. I read about the specs and waded through many reviews. I even found a great write up by a digital artist explaining the N-Trig technology vs the Wacom technology. The N-Trig provides me with enough sensitivity for my concept sketches using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
In comparison to the previous generation(s) of Surface Pro, the processor on the Pro 3 was dramatically more efficient leading to a better battery life, it had more RAM and it was lighter. It also had a larger screen with a different aspect ratio. At first, I was concerned the larger 12 inch screen might make it less portable. I saw pictures of the Surface Pro 3. It looked huge.
When I finally got to test one, it really seemed to solve almost all my issues with the original Surface Pro: kickstand, weight, and screen real estate. And it didn't seem as big as I thought it would.
I bought a Surface Pro 3 when it was first released. The bigger screen was definitely needed. It is big enough to feel comfortable using for extended periods but did not really affect the portability. In fact, surprisingly, with the weight loss, the larger size made it feel disproportionately lighter than the original Pro.
It's been about a year and I've used the Pro 3 for everything from email and web browsing to concept sketches and 3D modeling. It has gone with me around the US and abroad and I have been able to do all the work that I needed to on the go with one machine. Even without the docking station, it has replaced my desktop as my primary computer.
Bottom line, when I compared the combined package (processor, battery life, cost, size and active digitizer) to any ultra portable, laptop or convertible with similar specs, the Surface Pro 3 won out. It was the only system that had everything I needed.
It was not always the best in every category, but overall, the most versatile with enough for me to get the job done. I use my Pro 3 mostly for modeling. I have done light video editing and short (up to 2 minute) 3D animations. If you have different specific needs for the graphics card or processor then the Pro 3 may not be right for you.
Many reviews claimed it was overpriced, with an inferior battery life and too big and heavy. These reviews usually compared it to an iPad or Android tablet. Not a real comparison as they are not full computers. It's like comparing a Prius to an F-150, they serve entirely different purposes.
To decide what's right for you. Look at what you need to do. If you only need to read emails and browse the web then the Surface Pro 3 is overkill. There are many fine tablets and the iPad is one of the best among them. If you need an ultra portable, ultra versatile full computer, than the Surface Pro 3 is a good bet.
With the Surface 3 just released, and Surface Pro 4 on the horizon, I would love to hear the thoughts or experiences of other Surface Platform users especially with 3D and art related applications. Please leave a comment below.
This post was originally part of the "What's Under the Surface (Pro 3)?" post. But after I got done, I felt a single post would be too long. I separated this section, detailing my history with tablets and what led me to the Surface Pro platform. Here it is.
I started using the Tablet PC in the early 2000's. Many years later, I used an iPad 2 for almost a year. I have also used an Android tablet, for about a year and a half. After that, I transitioned to the Microsoft Surface Pro.
My intent in this writing is not declare one platform superior to another. All 3 (existing) platforms are great. It all comes down to what you need to do. This post will give some context to my experience with the Surface Pro 3.
I am an early adopter of the Surface Pro platform. I purchased the original Surface Pro as soon as I could find one in stock. It served as a mobile supplement to my desktop workstation.
I used the original Tablet PC platform back in the early 2000's. At the time, I was working on an animated short. I used my Tablet PC (a Toshiba Protage) for hand drawing story-boards, creating 3D models and the 2D animation itself. You can see the animated short MechGirl here
The pen input was key to being able to draw storyboards and starting a digital sketchbook. The compact and (relatively) light (4lbs) form factor allowed me to take my work with me when I moved around or went off island.
The fact that it was a full computer and the convertible form factor made it versatile enough to do the special functions of digital drawing and hand written notes but also function as a normal laptop. Tablet PC's were typically underpowered for the price but it was strong enough to run software for the ZPrinter line of 3D printers and Maya.
The battery life was on par with other machines of the time. My Tablet PC eventually gave up the ghost. I was without a pen enabled tablet for a few years as I searched for a suitable replacement.
Several years down the line, I had heard rumors of Apple developing a tablet platform. I was excited as I knew that Apple builds great hardware. Very compact, light and powerful.
When I finally had the chance to work with the iPad 2, I was disappointed in how far from a full computer it was. Apple users kept assuring me that "there's an app for that" and I could accomplish everything I needed. The first big downside for me was I couldn't run programs like Maya and Sketchbook as I did on the Tablet PC.
In the end, I spent more time finding workarounds to be able to be productive. The loss of a pen stylus hurt the drawing capability for me. No 3D authoring software meant that I needed to carry a separate laptop during travel. Defeating, for me, a large part of the Tablet PC capability.
Around that time, I found some of the everyday tasks seemed to be easier on my Android smart phone platform but the screen was too small. This led me to try an Android tablet. Oddly enough, the Android tablet seemed to be harder to work with than the phone. Another disappointment.
When the Surface Pro was finally released, I had to try it. I had high hopes that I could return to the Tablet PC experience. The Surface Pro was a full computer and very compact with an active digitizer (stylus). I was able to sketch on the computer again and It was powerful enough to do work in Maya.
The experience wasn't without it's issues. The screen was small and battery life (about 4-5 hrs at best) was a bit inconvenient when on the go all day. I always had to have a charger handy. I eventually purchased the smaller charger as a travel charger.
The kickstand was nice in that I could set up and break down quickly. The single position kickstand was fine on a table but the angle was awkward when on my lap. The solid state drive (SSD) was better suited for a computer that is meant for moving around than a disk hard drive.
The type keyboard was great and felt very similar to a standard laptop keyboard. I tried the touch keyboard but the lack of actual key movement resulted in more typos (much more than the many I normally make).
It was usable but no where near a computer I could use on a regular basis. It was a supplement to a desktop or laptop at best.
I passed on the Surface Pro 2. Not enough of an upgrade to the original Surface Pro. On to the Surface Pro 3. For my experience, see my post, "What's Under The Surface (Pro 3)?"
With the Surface 3 just out and Surface Pro 4 coming soon, I would love to hear the thoughts or experiences of other Surface Platform users especially with 3D and art related applications. Please leave a comment below.
Artists who want to get into 3D modeling, often ask me what advice would I give to them. Some are art students working in 2D digital art. But many are traditional artists who have experience working in tangible media like glass, wood, stone, etc. who want to enter the world of digital sculpting.
To new artists; build your strength in basic skills like lighting, composition, shading and color. Build your skills with 2D media. Being able to draw is a tremendous skill to have.
My formal education is in photography and I started with graphic design. These two disciplines really focused me on utilizing basic art skills. Studying and practicing photography also reinforced my understanding of the relationship between 2D and 3D. It showed me the differences between perception and reality.
Many experienced artists transitioning into digital 3D sculpting to utilize additive manufacturing express to me an anxiety of working with technology.
To experienced artists, approach digital sculpting as "just" another media to create in. It is how I have always thought of virtual 3D modeling. It is about practice to learn the strengths and limitations of your media. Practice, to learn control over your tools.
Once you have experienced it, it may speak to you or not. Just like other art mediums. For me, painting on canvas, watercolor in particular, has never suited me.
In fact, my traditional background has helped me to better understand virtual space. Working and sculpting with real world materials gives me an understanding of how to take visions from my head and translate them into a tangible object. Photography helps me relate to the virtual 3D data and understand it as a real object.
Please share your thoughts or advice about digital sculpting in the comments section below.
As an artist, how do you get yourself into shows? That's the question that was asked at a round table gathering of artists that I was at. It was specifically asked to Bridgette Mongeon, a talented digital and traditional artist and author from Texas.
We were both showing our works at the 3D Printer World Expo in Burbank along side other notable 3D print artists like Gil Burvel, Joshua Harker and Bathsheba Grossman.
During the show, Bridgette organized a round table meeting for some of the artists to exchange ideas and get to know each other.
One of the questions asked of Bridgette was, "What advice would you give artists who want to get into 3D printing shows and exhibitions?" I found her answer interesting and a bit surprising at how concise it was. Her reply: "Just Ask".
Her answer didn't strike me at first. But it stuck with me. As I reflected on how I got into the different shows both in the US and abroad, I found that she was right.
To put my situation into context, I am based in Honolulu, Hawaii. Hawaii is so isolated from...everywhere that there isn't a flow of art work and ideas in or out of the islands. Our geographic isolation creates an isolation for the arts as well.
The 3D Printshow NY, the first show that I did outside Hawaii, how did I get in? It was late one night, early December that I happened across an article about the NY show. I searched, but couldn't find information about exactly how to submit work to be considered for their Art Gallery.
I almost turned off the computer to go to sleep figuring that I was a small town boy, on a tiny island in the Pacific who probably didn't stand a chance of getting in anyway.
Well, just before giving up, I found an email address, drafted a letter, attached some pictures of my work and sent it off.
A couple of weeks went by and I forgot about the email. No responses, so I figured that was that. Just before heading off island for the start of the New Year, an email popped up from the 3D Printshow. It said: "congratulations your pieces were accepted."
Bottom line, I asked. After that, as I went to different shows and networked with different people in different places, I kept asking. So, Bridgette's two word advice...works.
If you would like to learn more about Bridgette or are interested in her writing you can visit her site at:
Would love to hear any thoughts or advice you have on promoting yourself as an artist.
Based in Hawaii, Russ Ogi is a mixed media artist. His background and passion is in photography and traditional sculpture.