2017 is on the horizon and we’re putting some long-overdue time into the ModiBot Custom Shop. Its where to buy essential upgrades and accessories for your standard Mo figures, as well as some alternate body styles like a full Moli (female) figure, Myke (minifig), ModiRaptor, or Mo Blanco (no hex holes) figure.
If you haven’t stopped by in a while, some of Shapeways’ more recent improvements to the shop area have wreaked chaos on many of the product listings. After a bit of noodling, we’ve improved many of the listings to increase the amount of custom options from many of the parts and set. Here’s what’s new-
Increased color selection
Several years back, Shapeways added 3 new colors to their Nylon color pallet. The originals were white, black, white polished, red, blue, pink, and purple. Many of the models hadn’t been updated to allow the ordering of the 3 new colors- yellow, orange and green.
After some testing, I’ve also added the black option to many of the sets. Historically, the sizing was a bit inconsistent with the black prints, but they seem to have brought the print quality of black to a similar level as white.
Full metal weapons
Shapeways supports a pretty wide variety of metal options, including bronze, gold, and natural colored, stainless steel. They are real metal created from 3d printed forms and cast in metal. Quite tough and durable.
The thing to understand is that ball sockets need to flex for assembly. If the sockets don’t flex, there’s no way to insert the ball. Sooo, this means that while we can offer metal weapons and accessories, we can’t offer any parts that include sockets or tight fittings like helmets. We’ll keep working on this, but for now its mostly hand-held weapons that will be offered in metal.
Long term transition to ‘sprued’ parts sets
Two years ago, Shapeways changed its pricing options. To many of the creators using the service this made many of their products cheaper. However, any shop owners that deal in multi-part prints, like ModiBot, suffered a price increase of 2-3 times the original kit cost. This wasn’t terrible on items with 2-5 parts, but for large kits like the ModiRaptor, it increased the price from around $38 to the current offering which is around $140. Ouch.
Over time, I have been testing many of the top selling items ‘sprued’ together to become one part (like on a model kit). This can bring the price down, but it requires a lot of time and cost to string all the parts together and test them to be sure they survive all of Shapeways printing, sorting, coloring, and shipping processes. I’ve got a few sets that are using this approach, but we’ll be working out the kinks on the process over the next few months to start getting the cost down across more of the kits. If you have any requests, please let me know in the contact form below.
As you can see from the new sprue option, the cost has come down on colored prints to around $18 vs. $36-ish for the non-sprued option. Still not as cheap as our molded Mo, but still a viable option if you want your figure to match some of the printed accessories.
Lastly, peppered throughout the shop are several new accessories, including the scythe, spiked war hammer and night vision goggles.
So, there you have it. Plenty of reason to drop by the shop and check out the changes. Anyone who has followed for a while might know that we use the New Year holiday to ramp up for the coming year. We’re looking forward to lots of fun and surprises in 2017.
Here’s to you and your next creative project! Happy New Year!!!
Character Design Template for ModiBot Mo figure kit
Evey great story is built upon the foundation of great characters, but memorable characters don’t just grow on trees, they are crafted to tell that specific story that is held within them. The prospect of their personal growth and subsequent adventures are hidden there just below the surface, built into their DNA.
Character design is something that is learned over time and isn’t just about how a character looks, signature gear or what traits they display under pressure. To find a place in your heart, a character needs to take on a life of their own. A life which might in fact be much more exotic and vibrant than the life of their own creator.
At its core, character design is about making smart decisions early in the process and continuing to ‘taste’ those decisions and how they play our across the landscape of your story. ModiBot was made as a tool for designers and storytellers to craft their own characters and stories on top of.
I’ve attached below a simple tool, a design template, to help you take the first steps in crafting your own epic adventure starring a character of your own design. The template isn’t the answer, like ModiBot it is just a tool to help you play with and express your own unique ideas. Think about like a playground for your ideas.
So, scribble, doodle, tinker, draw over top of Mo, and scratch out what you don’t like. Do it a million times. Its not meant to be perfect. Its meant to be a process. Have fun with it!
[button link=”https://www.modibot.com/?attachment_id=2441″ color=”teal” window=”yes”]Download the PDF[/button]
Visual FX for stopmotion
This short called ‘Dark Soul’ is from newcomer Tony Booth a.k.a Flash Flanker.
What I love about Tony’s approach here is that he instantly starts out creating a feeling that the world is off-kilter. The flashing imagery and severe lighting make the scenes fell more creepy even though they are well lit.
What really stands out for me is that he’s really working to take risks and experiment with the visual FX. The cuts between the other-dimensional accessories and the use of different materials to convey the slime flying through the air and finally enveloping its victim feels sick and claustrophobic.
Great job, Tony. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with next.
Green screen animation technique
This clip below from Mauricio Lozano features several higher-level animation techniques.
The first is filming against a green screen. This compositing technique allows you to crop out the background and replace the it with a photograph or 3d modeled scene. As you can see from the final composite, this technique is great for saving on the time of building elaborate sets allowing you to drop your characters into more fantastical settings.
The second technique build upon the first. Mauricio is using green ModiBot parts to construct his own posing rig. This rig allow the animator to create the illusion of the figure floating in the air during acrobatics or effects-based sequences. This type of rig is pretty versatile and can be attached to the walls or floor of the set.
The final step in his process is to composite the scene in software like Adobe After Effects, but some effects can be achieved using simpler editors like iMovie. The clip turned out great and we’re excited to see more examples of Mauricio’s work.
ModiBot at Maker Faire New York in 2013- Featuring a rare shot of the 16 inch ModiBot Mo on display as we were starting to set up the booth.
This was the first event that we sold Mo kits to the public and was about 2 weeks before we started shipping the first batch of figures.
We spoke to a lot of great folks at the show and there was a lot of interest from STEM and STEAM educators, looking at ModiBot’s great mixture of new tech and creative expression.
ModiBot Mo works great as a stop motion animation armature. It’s amazing to see how much time, passion and hard work Mike put into this short.
I love that you can’t even see the bots beneath and the hand-made clothing truly brings the animation to life.
Great work, Mike. Really inspiring! See more of his work at Static Time Productions on YouTube.
So for New Years, I promised myself that I’d get back into the groove of posting more often. 2014 was pretty great and we basically sold through more than 3/4 of the stock we bought from the successful Kickstarter in late ’13. Thanks again for all those who contributed and purchased ModiBots in the past year. Its been amazing.
So, people keep asking me ‘what’s next?’ and there are a couple of exciting things brewing on the horizon. Read More…
Come and try your hand at the ModiBot build system during at the inaugural Cinci maker Faire on October 19th.
Billed as “The greatest show and tell on earth!”, Maker Faire features a wide variety of inventions, science demonstrations, robots, 3d printing and a ton of amazing things.
Kids will have the opportunity to explore all the part combinations and build some very cool creations of their own. The new ModiBot Mo figures will be available for purchase, as well as a variety of 3d printed parts.
Come by and say Hi, ask some questions or just fiddle with the parts.
We’ll see you there!