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.

Solving Xbox One Problems with Tinkercad and 3D Printing

Tinkercad user ProwlingTiger found himself facing a problem recently: he had an Xbox One Kinect, but no way to keep his new device stable, because TV mounts were sold out everywhere due to the rush of people buying the new console. Instead of going online and spending lots of money + shipping then waiting days for a hard-to-find item to arrive, ProwlingTiger made his way to Tinkercad and created what he needed instead.

Knowing other people might be having the same issue with finding a suitable mount, he shared the link to his 3D model, made for printing on a Makerbot, with Reddit, where he was quickly inundated with requests to purchase his creation. This led to him opening up an Etsy store so anyone without access to a 3D printer can buy the mount he created.

It's awesome seeing what creative folks do when faced with a problem, as well as to see how quickly other people can benefit from it. Fortunately it doesn't take lots of engineering degrees or extensive training to get to this point - as we can see below, anyone with a desire to make things will find a way to do so:

This is a great example of how 3D printing technology can make our lives a lot simpler. We look forward to seeing what ProwlingTiger and all of our other Tinkercad and 123D users will show us next.

 

12 Days of Printing with GROWit – Tinkercad Challenge

GROWit has challenged you to create a holiday ornament or decoration design using Tinkercad for the chance to win a print!  Enter between December 6th - 17th - find out more here.

 How to Enter:

  1. Using Tinkercad, create your best holiday inspired decoration (could be an ornament, a figurine, stocking hook…your possibilities are endless, so show us your best!)  
  2. - Send your file to contests@growit3d.com
  3. - Title your submission: “12 Days of Printing – Your Name”
  4. - Include your name, shipping address and phone number
  5. - Take a screenshot of your design and share it with friends – Don’t forget to include the hashtag #12daysofprinting and tag @GROWit3D
  6. - Accepted file formats are: .stl
     

December 6th-17th – Submission period

December 20th – Design shipped – Just in time for Christmas!

Rules:

  • All entries must be created using Tinkercad
  • Entries can be submitted daily until December 17th, 2013 11:59PM PST
  • Multiple entries are accepted
  • Bounding box of design should be no bigger than: 4 in x 4 in x 4 in
  • Minimum wall thickness on designs: 0.04”
  • Winner(s) will be chosen by the GROWit selection team
  • Winner(s) will be announced Thursday December 19th, 2013
     

Prizes:

  1. The designer(s) of the best holiday inspired ornament will win their own 3D printed design with features on the GROWit blog and social media channels!
  2. Winning designs will be sold in the GROWit store with recognition to the designer.
  3. 10% of all sales will be awarded to the winning designers for sales through December 31, 2013

Terms and Conditions:

  • By submitting an entry (which includes a 3D file, pictures and text description) to GROWit, you grant a non-exclusive, royalty free, unlimited in the time, worldwide license to GROWit to display the design you submitted and/or a reproduction of this design for any purposes. GROWit has the right to reproduce in 3D, sell reproductions of model, take photographs/pictures and reproduce the pictures of the design on any support (CD, DVD, internet, folder, etc.) for GROWit purposes. By submitting your design to the challenge, you state that you are the sole creator of the model and that you do not infringe any copyright or any other intellectual property right (trademark, design and mode, patent, etc.) of a third party and/or that you obtained all the necessary permissions in order to duly allow such a license to GROWit.
  • All entries must be unique and never 3D printed before.
  • All entries must be created on Tinkercad.com
  • GROWit reserves the right to amend these rules at any time.
  • Prizes must be accepted as awarded. No cash alternatives or substitutes will be allowed. The decision of the jury will be final.

12 Days of Printing - Official Rules PDF

 

Nut & Bolt Puzzle Project using Tinkercad

Here's a pretty great project we found on Instructables- a perfect little print to test a desktop 3D printer AND make a stocking stuffer! What seems like a simple nut-and-bolt assembly is deceptively difficult to take apart.  But there's a trick!  We're going to try and print some today to test.

nut_and_bolt_puzzle_tc

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!