DesktopHero – An interview with Andrew Stockton

Desktophero 2 cover

I’ve been in love with Andrews platform since it came out and back when DesktopHero 2 came out, i backed it on kickstarter.
It’s super valuable as a community to have a competitor alongside Heroforge as they will both be uniquely in position to create more and more wicked content for us.

Andrew are definitely close to the community which are seen by his Facebook page and if you write him. Overall a fantastic guy.
Lets get to know him better, shall we?

First of all, tell me a bit about yourself.

Andrew Stockton
Andrew Stockton with his wife

I’m a combination artist + software engineer. I’m 27, live with my wife and kids in the desert of Arizona. I have ADHD and a big list of creative projects I’d like to try someday. Currently working as a software engineer, until I go full time with DesktopHero in about a month. 😮
I’m a Christian. I like to do VR with friends and I wish I had time to read books. 
I’ve always loved creating figurines 😉

Practice makes perfect!

How and when did you join the RPG modeling community?

I can think back to two events that got me here: First was the moment my friend told me, “Hey, did you know the university has 3D printers that anyone can use?” Second was picking up my first order from those printers.
It was one of Arian Croft’s 3rd edition Pocket Tactics models. I remember picking it up and being totally floored by how good the detail was (.2mm layer height, baby!) and how little it cost to print.

That was my moment of realization that there was a brand new world opening up and I wanted to be part of it.

Minis from DesktopHero
Arian Croft’s models that got Andrew into 3D printing

There have been lots of steps along the path to where I am now: Trying my first (terrible) 3D models, discovering HeroForge, realizing that I could combine 3D art with computer science to let people customize their own creations, running the first DesktopHero Kickstarter.
As well as getting help from some of the fantastic folks around the 3D printing community: Danny Herrero, Arian Croft, Miguel Zavala, so many others.

Y’all have given so much and I appreciate it.

How long does it take to model a complete pack from start to finish:

About 300 hours, give or take.

There are about 40 models in an asset pack. Each model is created at high resolution, then simplified so it can be used on the web.
Then the asset is fit to a skeleton, labeled so that DesktopHero knows how it fits in with the rest of the assets, and finally uploaded so it can be used in the live site.

Models from DesktopHero
Bone system getting ready for DesktopHero 2.0

You are currently working on Version 2. Was it difficult to make version 1?

It’s all difficult, ha ha. The world of ‘3D modeling + the web’ has its own slew of gotchas.
Since the field is relatively new, often you run into problems that don’t have readily available solutions and you have to pioneer your own. My work usually looks something like this:<code code code><test>

Spaghetti Torso
When code doesn’t behave – Spaghetti torso

“Oh my goodness, why did the whole body just turn into a spaghetti cloud?”<hunt and find incompatibility between 3D software and web><no solution online, roll my own>”Okay, the body’s fixed… still have spaghetti arms…”<etc.>

But, once you’ve pounded away at the bugs for a while and things are finally working, you get the great satisfaction of seeing an awesome feature that you brought to life, something that didn’t exist before.
It’s an awesome feeling and it’s why I love writing software. 

What were the main points that made you go: “Let’s go with version 2?”

So, DesktopHero v1 was kind of my first go at creating 3D software. It worked okay, and in fact people are still using it, but there were things I knew I could do better if I had the funding.
Cleaner 3D models designed specially for DesktopHero. A more intuitive user interface. More and better character customization.

So with version 1 as a proof that it could work, my wife and I ran a Kickstarter for version 2.
We were successfully funded, and after a year of working on it, DesktopHero version 2 is on track to launch to the public this December. You can see the difference, even with DH2 still in beta.

differences between 1.0 and 2.0
Difference between DesktopHero 1.0 and 2.0

What is your favourite thing about version 2?

The fact that I could make this guy: 

Mand holding bear Desktophero
I’m literally laughing behind the keyboard.
This is so riddiculous and so very cool 🙂

Well, sort of. For me, the driving idea behind DesktopHero is that you should be able to make anything you want.
Even if it’s crazy, even if it’s not something the creator of the site would have anticipated and planned into the program.

I want people to be able to let their creativity run wild.

Updated bonesystem desktophero
The updated bone structure lets you position your mini how you want to

Any parting words?

Come join us! Since our community is relatively small compared to the ‘big names’, I’m pretty responsive to community requests.

You can access the DesktopHero 2 beta at https://beta.desktophero3d.com, or come find the DesktopHero Mini Maker page on Facebook.
Thanks for the chat!

Thanks for the chat, indeed!
I’m sure when DesktopHero2 goes out of Beta in the end of the year, It’s going to make a huge impact in the miniature world, and since resin printers gets cheaper and cheaper, the importance of programs like DesktopHero rises.

You can find Andrew here on Roll History:
https://rollhistory.com/creator/listing/desktophero/

Here on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/desktophero3D/

And the new beta is here (consider signing up, its amazing):
https://beta.desktophero3d.com/beta/request/

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