Thursday, May 16, 2013

Help Rich People to save and Make More Money

... without receiving a cent! Yay!

That's right you guys, this is the cool thing a bunch of corps and "designers" are doing, and they call it Crowdsourcing.

If you aren't that familiar with the term, there are two main uses for  Crowdsourcing.

The first, joining efforts to create and develop a project, sharing the tasks and responsibilities, for the benefit of a community/group/cause; this generally involves non profit goals.

The second, a greedy motherfucker (or company) announces "a contest", where the compensation to the winner is just... well... "winning". 

Of course they embellish the deal stating: "this will give exposure to the winner", as if when people saw a product they went "jeez, I wonder who made this majestic design". More so, if other companies know they can get these persons working for free, why would they try to seek for them and hire them?

The common argument people use to defend this practice goes along the lines of: "This doesn't affect other people and no one is forcing anyone to participate!" 

It does affect the business for all designers, since every time this happens one or few designer's positions get filled by one thousand naive shitty amateurs. And the more people agree to  be part of this, the more it'll become a prevalent practice (it's already quite common, I've been seeing one of these at least once or twice a month), causing an economical void and putting professionals in a position of disadvantage.

This is not how businesses work, this is not survival of the fittest, this is like a multitude of blind dim-witted antelopes stomped over a lion, until the latter died crushed, while a greedy hyena feasts on all of them.

 Crowdsourcing in a nutshell

And of course the participants aren't forced, this is why I reserve the right to call them naive shitty amateurs and blind dim-witted antelopes, because they deserve it by letting themselves get exploited by companies that could well afford quality service, but don't value the time or effort of professionals in the graphic arts field.

Another argument: "but I do this because I like it, it's just fun!"

Maybe I'm close-minded, but I can't see the possible amusement in doing a product for a brand. I find joy in the realization of my personal projects, not in making a logo for someone else. I find gratification in delivering a good work and service, and getting paid for it - money, mind you - and that's the big difference. 

And this is perhaps the biggest misunderstanding people have respecting artists and designers by profession. That we do this out of pure passion and love for arts. 

Heheheh, no.

We choose this field because we like it, but we don't take works because it's fulfilling to some higher degree, we do it, because otherwise we would become homeless and die of starvation, just like professionals in all other areas. There's nothing special or mystical about successful "creative people" (a silly name people give us, and I don't use unless I'm making fun of them), there's only discipline and work. 

Another point is this means money for the contest hosts - or should I call them parasites? tehee. Every logo, cover, poster, etc, for a brand is bound to generate profit via sales, the hosts aren't promoting the contests for "fun!", they're doing so because that way they can have plenty of designs to choose from and not pay a dime, and all translates in profit for them. Not to mention the fact that more often than not, they keep the loser designs and can do what they want with those.

Of course, I'm not saying all contests are terrible, some contests got actual prizes in cash, and legal rules that ensure the participants rights over their pieces; but this is not common, it's the exception.

Yet another interesting part of the debate, without clear rules both parties risk winding up in legal vacuums, where lawsuits could be in order. Such is the case of this thing I stumbled upon today. 

Who will own your design ? The minute you post it, the Mavs will.  If you think its horrible that the Mavs own your design. Do not post. If you think its cool that the Mavs could possibly use your design and you will have eternal bragging rights , then post away.

That totally sounds like serious rules redacted by a lawyer!

But nope, that was Marc Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theatres, and Magnolia Pictures, and the chairman of the HDTV cable network AXS TV.  Whose fortune is around US$2.3 billion. I'm not making this shit up.

All in all, this being the internet, I found some potential fun in the Mavericks "contest". Behold my favorite entries, I even made one myself. If you can guess which one is it, you will win exposure and my attention! and have eternal bragging rights!

You can also make your own, all you need is Paint, a mouse and have fun!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

3D Printing is awesome

Around 6 years ago I heard the term 3D printing for the first time. The context was art-related, since people were using it to create small decorative figures from their 3D models. While that was pretty impressive for the 3D art industry, the cost of the printers was so expensive, and I wasn't really into 3D, so I just pretty much forgot about the subject.

Fast-forward 2013, I stumbled upon this article Architects are starting to 3D print houses—but without a house-sized printer.  The implications of this are so staggering. For one, we shouldn't be surprised that 3D printing becomes the preferred method for construction in the future, rendering many professions obsolete; but also, I supposed the printers might have become more accessible for the general public, and possibly more advanced. - And I wasn't wrong, a quick glance on Amazon and you'll find these printers from $1200 to $3000.

But how does it work exactly? It's simpler than you would believe. First, you model your object (full or by parts), take this to the CAD software which will create the guides for the printer. Send it to the printer,  and set the material which will be used to create the object, commonly plastic, and the printer will do its magic.

So I've been giving it a good thought to this, imagine the possibilities for someone like me who's a sucker for DIY projects, for affordable personalized products that are hard to find or don't exist yet. I wouldn't have to buy MOST THINGS EVER AGAIN. I could make from my own sculptures to my own personal accessories, from mugs for coffee to pieces of furniture. Want a new chair? why not a throne made of human-like skulls? - Need a new astray? worry not, print your own shaped like a vagina! 

Here are few ideas just off the top of my head:

Maybe the "something" would be better if it was alive (or that's how I imagined it), and the printer can't do that sadly, but when I say you can do many things, beyond simple sculptures and napkin holders, I'm not kidding

Check out Thingiverse, Sculpteo, Shapeways, and you'll find many designs, if you can't be assed to make your own. Replacement parts and full functional gadgets are some of projects you can find there, along with hundreds of art/decorative projects. 

Some people have taken this even further - originating a whole new debate I'm not willing to touch with ten foot pole, at least not today.

 Yeah, science, bitch!

3D printing is great and it's here to stay. I wouldn't say it'll beat the internet, or it'll destroy consumerism, but it might definitively have a positive impact in the way we acquire products within the next decades. And I'm totally getting one as soon as I can afford it and make own skulls throne.

Thursday, May 9, 2013