Interview with GeoShift

Custom minifig Korgar

Korgar – a custom minifig creation by Geoshift

geoshift is easily one of the most talented custom minifig customizers on the scene at the moment, and i’ve seen his skills grow from back a few years to now where his minifigs really do stand out as unique with their use of warhammer parts. i managed to collar him for an interview, thanks Geo!

1. How did you first start in minifig customization? what got your interest?

My story is similar to that of many other AFOL customizers. I had Lego as a kid and enjoyed it then, but left it behind many years ago. Once I had kids of my own and they reached an age where we were buying toys of this sort, I rediscovered Lego and how the product had evolved over the years. I spent some time looking around Flickr where I discovered some really incredible MOCs by various people. This search then led me to the custom minifig groups and I was again impressed by what people were doing with the hobby and wanted to get involved.

2. Do you find it difficult to balance work with time to customize?

Yes, absolutely. Between work and family commitments much of my time is accounted for. Beyond that, there are a couple of other hobbies that I enjoy (like video games and reading), so I’m always trying to find a good balance in that regard. I usually turn out new minifigs slowly – perhaps an average of one per week in most cases and sometimes none for a couple weeks. This is due to the other time demands and the fact that I tend to fuss over the details a bit.

3. Your photos are always super sharp and well shot, whats the secret?

I’ve actually been trying to improve my photography for quite some time now and I’m often still not satisfied with the result! So, I feel that I’ve still got a lot to learn in this area. If you ask 10 different people this question you will probably get 10 different answers, but here are some things that seem to work well for me:

A.) take a lot of photos of your minifig (I usually take around 20 photos of each figure, then select the best).
B.) Use a photo editor for a couple key finishing items (more on that below)
C.) More light is almost always better, but be careful of glare. I like natural light, but a light-tent along with powerful lamps is excellent as well.

As for the second item above, some sort of photo editor is key for a couple of finishing tasks. In my opinion, almost every photo can benefit from proper cropping and a bit of sharpening. If you do not have a software package for this on your computer, offers some great tools online for free. A basic workflow for me is something along the lines of this: Shoot > Select > Crop > Resize Smaller > Sharpen > Border (optional). Some people do a lot more than this, but I think everyone should be doing something along these lines in order to get good results.

Also, be sure to save the JPG file at the highest quality. If you do this, you can get decent results with almost any camera – fancy equipment always helps, but you don’t need it. I always think it’s a shame when someone spends a lot of time customizing a figure (sometimes several hours), then posts a photo that is blurry or poorly lit.

4. Any tips you think would help newbies?

Sure, take your time with your customs and don’t rush! Strive to have clean paint results and be patient. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of other customizers about specific techniques or where they got specific parts. The Lego community on Flickr is very helpful and supportive when it comes to this sort of thing. Oh, and be polite.

5. I’ve noticed you’ve started to use more Warhammer parts, how do you feel this has affected your minifigs? What inspired you to try them?

Like a lot of my peers these days, I’m kind of the opposite of a purist. So, any type of part or material is fair game in my opinion. The Warhammer parts are just the latest non-purist items I’m using. I was drawn to these particular items because they fit my style of customizing. Many of my designs center around giving these little minifigs a rugged, “heavy” appearance. This is an interesting idea for me because it is contradictory to how they are commonly thought of.

6. How do you feel the lego collectors series has affected the custom minifig community, do you think its affected your style? do you think its given custom minifigs a greater acceptance and exposure in the wider lego community?

It hasn’t affected my style at all, but I am grateful for the new parts and the options they present for customizers. It has certainly put a new focus on the minifig itself in the greater community as well as the public at large though, which is a good thing.

7. Are there any customizers you feel have particularly inspired you or you look up to? why?

This is an easy one – I’m in this hobby today because of the work of a couple people in particular. First, Hazel over at AMA was making custom parts that really appealed to me. The GOW parts were fairly new at that time and I had never seen anything like that on a minifig. The concept really intrigued me and his designs also fit right into the look I am often trying to achieve with my builds. I am always excited when Hazel posts a new item in his Flickr stream. After discovering Hazel’s products I quickly discovered Jasbrick as well. Again, I was very impressed with the customs he was creating and the creative methods he was using. To this day Jasbrick sets the standard for Minifig painting – his painting is clean and professional. You will never see a messy paint job from him. Beyond that, a lot of my friends on Flickr like Pedro, Pecovam, eclipseGrafx, KJ Knight, Shobrick, Family Bricks and others inspire me because they are all doing such great work.

8. Where do you get your great ideas from?

I get my ideas from a lot of sources – almost anything can give me ideas for a new design, but most of the ideas come from video games, Sci-Fi and even fellow customizers.

9. if lego created one set or minifig of your choice what would you choose? why?

I would love to see just one series of the collectors minigifs that feature all flesh-tone heads with many new face designs.

10. is there a particular minifig that you wish you had created?

There are many builds from other customizers that I’ve really enjoyed, but I can’t narrow it down to any single one that I would point to for this answer. There are many techniques though that I’ve been really impressed with and said “Cool, I wish I would have thought of that!”. There are so many creative folks around the Flickr Lego community that I say that quite often in fact!

11. Any shout outs?

Sure – I’ll give a shout-out to my wife for supporting a hobby that does tend to take a lot of time and being completely understanding about it!

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