3D printing video game characters: Hyperspace Madness at Autodesk University

Playing video games can be a lot of fun, and sometimes you want to bring the fun out beyond the screen: making characters from a game physically real. For Autodesk University, earlier this month, the 123D team worked closely with Autodesk's Media and Entertainment group to explore the process of 3d printing video game characters.

A member of our M&E team models the full-size Sven suit next to the 3D print display

Our Media and Entertainment group has produced a top class game called "Hyperspace Madness" to provide a compelling demo of how to use Autodesk tools to build games. We wanted to take all the various characters and models in the game, and 3D print them, in order to make a nice display at Autodesk University.

Close-up of the 3D printed display

This can be a challenge, since objects designed for a game aren't necessarily easy to print. For example, game objects are often modeled at low resolution, and rely on a color texture to make it seem convincing. The geometric modeling of the objects can cause problems too: the objects are represented as a shell with no volume, and this can cause problems with printing.

The 123D team is also about making things real, so we set out to use tools from our 123D suite to prepare some models for printing, and this is how we did it.

The game's main character, a satellite repairman called Sven, is shown in many poses to animate him while walking. We wanted to select some frames from this "walk cycle" and print them out. The first thing to do was to make sure that the character was represented as a solid: to do this we opened the files in Meshmixer, and used the Inspector tool to identify and fix any gaps that could cause problems. We wanted Sven to stand on his own, so we modeled an oval base using 123D Design, exported it as an STL file, and combined the two using Tinkercad - our entry level, browser-based design software has very powerful tools for working with meshes!

We also wanted to print Sven's antagonists: aggressive squid like creatures called the Killamari, that use robotic suits to get around. We opened the 3D model using the Autodesk 3D Print Utility, which we used to reinforce fine details that would cause problems in printing. This model was then merged with an oval base using Meshmixer.

Sven and the Killamari were printed on our Objet Connex 500 printers, which can render extremely fine detail.

The Sven walk cycle being printed

Of course, we wanted Sven and Killamari to have a place to run around in, so we also printed some of the buildings and props from the game. These were prepared for printing using a combination of tools including Autodesk 3D Print Utility and Meshmixer. Since these objects are much bigger, Type A Machines offered to print them on their Series 1 printers, which have a very large build area, and can work with innovative new materials.

Merci Beaucoup! 3D Print Show Paris All Wrapped Up.

Whoo - after a long week of flying and chunneling, we ended a great week of 3D Print Shows.  London was very exciting, with people from all over coming to say hi and learn more about 3D modeling. 

Based in the Carrousel de Louvre, it was essentially a remix of the London show, only with a lot more French. By the end of the week, my technical (if not conversational) French was parfait, but fortunately, our awesome Paris Autodesk staff came by to help bridge the language barrier.

Some attendees were professionals looking for new ways to model, like with MeshMixer or 123D Make, others just wandered in from the Louvre, not knowing what they were getting themselves into.  But in all, the show was a success and it fit nicely in one of the oldest museums in Europe.

Thanks to everyone who came by - maybe we'll see you next year!

More content, more 3D model downloads from 123D Content Library

When you're working on a 3D modeling project, it's really helpful to be able to draw from an extensive library of professionally created models to use as a starting point. Basic components like spheres, cylinders and boxes are useful, but sometimes you really need a schoolbus or a dinosaur to to take your project to the next level.

 We've offered premium 3d model downloads to our premium members for a while, but we've just made changes to make these models more accessible and usable to all of our members.

We've taken the existing premium models, added nearly 7,000 3D models, and are introducing this as the 123D Content Library. In addition, we've changed the membership entitlements around the 123D Content Library: our premium members now have unlimited downloads (vs. 10/month previously), and our free members now have 10/month (vs. none previously). If you are a free member and would like access to more than 10 models/month, upgrading is easy and affordable. Both free and premium members continue to have free access to 3d models shared by other members of the community.

You can access the 123D Content Library models quickly and easily through a new search filter in the 123D gallery, as shown below (There is still a filter for Premium content, but all the existing Premium models, and more, are now part of the 123D Content Library. Going forward, we'll be offering exclusive licensed content. Stay tuned!)

A lot of the models in the 123D Content Library are 3D printable meshes - these now work really well in Tinkercad, Meshmixer and 123D Design Online. You can have a lot of fun creating mashups and remixes, and combining them with models from 123D Catch or 123D Creature. For example, we combined a 123D Catch scan of our youngest and most trusted beta tester with a horse from the 123D Content Library and created this awesome centaur, in just minutes!

What  can you make with models from the 123D Content Library? Have a look through our collection of nearly 10,000 professionally created models, and see what inspires you!

123D Catch for iOS7: All grown up!!

It is my great pleasure to announce a brand spankin' new 123D Catch for all iOS devices running iOS7. 123D Catch is available at the AppStore right now here!!

 123D Catch: All grown up. Now for iOS 7

Before I get into the nitty gritty, I have to let you know that 123D Catch has grown up today. You can see the difference in our faithful volunteer/poster child, Aidan, who has also grown up. See his captures above from when we first launched 123D Catch two years ago, and compare it to those from the new version. Check out this quick video peek at what's in store with this monumental upgrade:

                      

Under the hood (aka in the cloud), processing your captures has been completely reworked with you in mind! The new 123D Catch pipeline significantly improves on the old process: stitching all of your capture photos together automatically, and creating detailed 3D images with crisp photo-real textures. Yes, gone are the days of manual stitching!!

That's only on the backend...we've also designed a brand new, slick app exclusively for iOS 7. Some highlights and geek speak:

  • Guided capture: dynamic visual feedback while capturing to ensure you are shooting the best possible photographs.
  • Engage with and follow other 3D photographers and their projects in the gallery.
  • Increased photo limit to 70 photographs so you can ensure complete coverage.
  • Advanced 3D previews of captures in the gallery
  • Processing higher resolution images means finer details in your capture.
  • App will now wait for a wifi connection to upload photographs for a capture, unless you explicitly tap the go ahead to use your data plan.
 
We hope you are as excited about these new updates as we are! Be sure to check back into the blog tomorrow for an amazing project that exemplifies all the amazing new things 123D Catch can do.
 
Visit www.123dapp.com/catch for more info!

 

Halloween(3D)! Playing with 123D at the Autodesk offices.

We've been getting into the spirit of Halloween at the Autodesk offices, and I'm taking the opportunity to test what I can do with the 123D apps.  

123D Make is great for making models at a larger scale cheaply and quickly.  Granted, we have some Epilog lasers at the shop that sure beat an Xacto knife, but it's all stuff you can do with technology that's available to you, either by hand or through 3D printer service, or your own machines.  123D Creature has an awesome community that is making some pretty impressive monsters, and Tinkercad is great for some quick fixes to 3D models.

 

Cardboard Cthulhu at Autodesk offices.

Cthulhu Guards the Gold:
I made a big cardboard Cthulhu based on a 123D Creature model by super-user Amanda Jackson to lord over the snack machines in Autodesk's Pier 9 kitchen.  In the 123D Gallery, there are literally thousands of models to choose from - and there's no better tool than 123D Make to make it big.  Just grab some glue.

 

cardboard devil in 123D make

Cardboard Devil:
I came across a really great model of the devil character from Legend.  The Tim Curry-Satan guy.  All I can remember is him hissing at Tom Cruise, 'Boiyyyyy...'.  This particular model is cool because it started out as a Darth Maul bust by Adam Beamish, then Kaj Steveman took the wireframe and ran with it to create The Darkness.  Now he lives at my desk.  Next, I'm going to paint him the appropriate red and black.

 

 

SKULLpilepsy!!:
This one seems to be an office favorite - I love using RGB LED strips and I wanted to use the semi-transparent nature of 3D prints as a lamp.  It's pretty great, and remote controlled! 

 

Goldfish Ghost: 
For the Goldfish Ghost project, I just grabbed a great model from Tinkercad by user Chuck Norris (I really really hope it's really Mr. Norris), and ordered some Encapso from Smooth-On.  Voila - Ghost Fish!

 

There are some more in the works from me, but stay tuned to the Instructables' Make it REALly Scary contest to see other great projects..! 

 

MAKE IT REAL-LY SCARY WITH 123D – NOW LIVE ON INSTRUCTABLES!

 

We've officially launched a contest on Instructables called Make it Real-ly Scary with 123D

The contest runs through the end of October and is open call for people to use any of the 123D apps as a component to their Halloween project.  It can be as simple as remixing another user's model or as time-consuming as laser-cutting a giant Cthulhu that terrorizes the kitchen at the Autodesk offices.  

We have some pretty great prizes too! Our friends at Zebra Imaging and iMaterialise are the Prize Providers for the contest and have forked over some pretty righteous goods.  Grand prize is a HUGE hologram (24"x34") from Zebra Imaging, $100 print credit with iMaterialise, and a 2-year Premium membership to 123D!  Zebra hasn't offered this size hologram directly to our users before, so we're excited to see one.

Good luck!

Maker Faire Toronto

The 123D team made their way to Maker Faire Toronto this previous weekend to celebrate all things Maker. Check out this video they put together for the coolest cardboard knight costume you've ever seen. 

 

Don't be too jealous though, because you can make one of your very own using Autodesk 123D right now. 

 

Introducing Autodesk Meshmixer, awesome 3D remixes at your fingertips

Update Feb 18, 2014: To provide you with a streamlined 3D printing experience, the Autodesk 3D Print Utility has been integrated into Meshmixer - a powerful yet easy-to-use mixing and sculpting software.  Now, when you click “3D Print…” from any of the 123D apps, your project will be loaded into Meshmixer to prepare, refine and preview your models to print with confidence.  To download the latest version of Meshmixer, please visit http://123dapp.com/meshmixer.

We're pleased to announce Autodesk Meshmixer, joining the 123D family of apps. Meshmixer is a powerful tool for working with 3D mesh files. It's been around for while, so you may have heard of it or used it, but we've made some really interesting enhancements to it.

Check out the video below and see what it can do, and read on for more.

What does Meshmixer do?

If you're new to Meshmixer, let us introduce you. Meshmixer works with 3D mesh files, which you can think of as a kind of digital clay. 3D scanning systems like 123D Catch or the Makerbot digitizer produce mesh files, as do 3D sculpting programs like 123D Creature and 123D Sculpt. 3D design files from programs like 123D Design are more like building blocks - they let you move and change clearly defined geometric elements. Mesh files are popular for 3D printing and other fabrication techniques, so all 3D design programs can produce them.

Meshmixer lets you edit and combine mesh files in many different formats in a very fluid and organic manner. It can also help you repair files from scans and preparing them for printing.

What's new in Meshmixer?

If you're familiar with Meshmixer already, here is a highlight of what we've done for Meshmixer 2:

First, we've created a brand new user interface. All the features are still there, but they're a lot easier to find and use. A row of icons along the left side of the screen gives a comprehensive overview of every feature and tool. Even if you've been using Meshmixer for a while, go ahead and take a look, you might discover something that you didn't know was there! 

Second, we've added some extremely powerful tools for preparing models for 3D printing, around the area of support material. When working with complex organic forms, you will often need to provide a support or "scaffold" to ensure that the model prints correctly. In Meshmixer, we've added tools that let you customize precise and easy-to-remove support materials for your models.  You can also analyze the strength of a model, and send your creations directly to the Autodesk 3D Print Utility.

Third, we've provided the option to navigate scenes using two different styles of mouse interaction: you can continue to use the classic Meshmixer style controls, or you can switch to the same style of mouse navigation used by the 123D apps (right-click to orbit, middle-click to pan, etc).

We're proud of this release, and we're looking forward to welcoming new users and seeing what great things you can do with it! Meshmixer is available as a free download from 123dapp.com/meshmixer