Have you ever been in a situation that feels somewhere between troublesome and just alright but then something happens that turns it into a highlight of your day? I’m going to guess yes because no one has constant bad luck. At least no one living. To the point — Sammy Griner has been in a lot of those situations, millions, vicariously through the meme that is Success Kid. If you aren’t familiar with Success Kid, there’s a high probability that you’re also unacquainted with the internet, which is strange because you’re reading this. Your life is a paradox. Sammy’s life is forever immortalized in a meme. Not just in the digital world either; when Laney Griner took a photo of her son in the summer of 2007 I doubt that she considered the photo would spread through Reddit and tumblr and every social networking site through expressing the frustration and unexpected joy of countless individuals to the point that her son’s impromptu pose would become so iconic that it’s purchasable as a physical 3D printed statue. But indeed, it did; why else would I be writing about it here? You can thank Ryan Kittleson for this one, because not only did he model out a digital 3D version of Success Kid to print, he also showed us the process.
I love this video. The music is great. Ryan is clearly talented at modeling and comfortable with his software. For this model he uses his Wacom, a sketchpad for computers, with Pixologic’s powerful ZBrush and free (but still amazingly powerful) Sculptris. This video evidences how intuitive computer aided modeling (are we still drafting?) software has become. I remember using AutoCAD in the 90s when my dad got it to draft his inventions; let me clarify — I remember trying to use AutoCAD. I bet it’s better now (and I know 3ds Max is), but their early days precursor was hardly user friendly (to a 10 year old). Now though, free programs like Sculptris are entirely usable for 10 year olds; it’s touch-and-drag kind of stuff now. Even you can do it stereotypical middle-aged person full of self doubt concerning everything related to technology.
Memes are uncontrollable forces. They evolve like pathogens that are overexposed to antibiotics: ferociously. The Success Kid meme has so successfully achieved a ubiquitous presence throughout the internet world that there’s probably a Success Kid image capturing the unexpected happenstance of itself. Don’t think about that too hard. You can now purchase a small sculpture of Success Kid from Shapeways for $12.99 (or $17.99; I honestly don’t know because it keeps changing) in full-color sandstone, which is funny on the side because the meme is also known as I Hate Sandcastles.
Maybe it will become a meme to print memes. Oh wait, it already has. Technically this is free advertisement for 3D printing. Memes spread; it’s in their DNA. Those that want to jump on this bandwagon may not be digital modelers. Pixologic has been around for about 15 years so they’re well positioned with their free and (more) affordable software to cater to new and potential owners of 3D printers that haven’t been introduced to digital modeling. There are a few other free modeling programs that are also designed to be easy to use like Autodesk’s 123D and 123D Sculpt (for the iPad), Blender (open source), Milkshape, GMax, and even Google’s Trimble’s SketchUp. Before you pay $699 for ZBrush or $3,499 for 3ds Max, try the free ones.