Alec Richter & Tyler Anderson
Jan. 12, 2017
As previously discussed, models taken from video games aren't the same physically as they are visually. They look smooth, have a ton of detail, and seem like the perfect model to print for your costume, and then you download it and find a sharp, basic, and much too simple model to even consider your finished model. You aren't quite ready to make the commitment to noxious chemicals and respirators you would need to use Bondo body filler, but with this method, you won't have to.
Tyler introduced me to the free 3D modeling program Blender, something he had experience using when modifying Pepakura files for his Iron Man costume. If you've never used any 3D modeling software, don't be discouraged from using it. Before writing this article, I had no experience with Blender.
In order to get your model to a point where you can modify it and have a printable file in the end, follow steps 1-7 of How To Bring Video Game Characters To Life, then follow these instructions.
Here are the basics of getting around in Blender:
When your model is imported, odds are it isn't near the center, so let's move it closer.
Some 3D models or game models actually have multiple pieces as the same object. When you import them into Blender, they all come together as one group. We need to separate them in order to work on them individually.
Like I mentioned in the first article of this series, game models, Pepakura models, etc, aren't designed to be 3D printed, so they are only a surface model. They have no thickness or volume and there is not actually anything to print.
The easiest way to add thickness to a model is to use the "Solidify" modifier.
You might find some models that are tubular and need some thickness, such as Iron Man's thigh armor. There is an alternative to using the "Solidify" modifier, and that is using "Extrude".
You may want to split models into multiple pieces. For instance, if you want to print sections in different colors or if the whole piece is too large for your printer. In this case I might want the helmet split along the faceplate, the visor, the main body, and the back panel.
Before we smooth the model, we need to make sure that by this stage it's printable. A 3D model has what is called "normals" and these determine which side of a face is the inside and which is the outside. If these are reversed, it can cause slicing errors.
Now we need to check for non manifold geometry. These are parts of the mesh that either have holes or are intersecting with itself.
Any parts of the mesh that are now selected have issues. You will need to manually fix these. The best way to fix these problem faces is to delete them outright and reconstruct the area.
One thing that often leads to non manifold geometry is vertices which are very close to each other but not actually linked. To fix these, select all and then go to "Mesh > Vertices > Remove Doubles" (Blue box).
We now have a printable mesh, but the main point of this was to make there be less finishing work.
Blender's smoothing algorithm will, by default, round off all edges. Even edges you may want to keep sharp. To prevent this, we need to tell it which edges we want to preserve by creasing them.
You can now say you have experience using Blender and that you cleaned up and made a model even better. The more you tinker with Blender, the more details you can add to your model.
With a lot of trial and error, I was able to add in the ear channels and the cheek divots, which for a first time modeler was a challenge. I won't be going into how to do it, but in the briefest terms, I modeled the shape I wanted subtracted from the helmet, positioned it how I wanted on one side, mirrored it, and Boolean subtracted it from both sides.
Get The Latest From MatterHackers
Please enter a valid email.