At first I wanted to go joint-crazy and make something super articulated but then I realised I’d ultimately have to cast each part and that dulled my enthusiasm. And in the end, I’m not that hung up on perfect, naturalistic pose-ability.That can happen later, when I’ve got the hang of this 3D sculpting malarkey. Right now I’m more into style and aesthetics.
Behold! My flailing-in-the-dark first attempts at 3D sculpting and modelling.
I’ve been messing around with several free pieces of 3D design software:-
Sculptris – basic but user-friendly, it emulates a clay-like sculpting experience.
Blender – Powerful with an intimidating array of features and menus but great for initial modelling, I find. I should try harder to get to grips with it’s sculpting mode.
MeshMixer – useful for editing 3d objects and simple enough that even I’m not scared by it.
The ball-jointed doll body screencapped in this post has been a massive learning experience and has been worked on in all three pieces of software so far. Almost certainly because of my lack of knowledge, not because of the limitations of any one program. When I get stuck I just export.
I’d like to add more detail to the hands, or even print multiple variations of the hands but I’m probably getting ahead of both my funds and my ability. Likewise, jointed hands and feet. I’m probably going to tweak the hip/thigh interface area, though.
My goal right now is to virtually sculpt a doll and get it 3D printed (as cheaply as possible). Then I’ll fix any wonky joints/printlines/other problems and revert to what I know – hands on sculpting with milliput, sandpaper and a rotary tool – to make a finished prototype I can then cast in resin, should I want to. I think I mostly just want to make one doll body to prove to myself I can do it.
Perhaps I should have more ambition and aim to make something that will come straight off the printer and be string-able and smoothly articulated…but I’m taking baby steps here.
What I really want to make is a robot BJD body with a Hans Bellmer/Metropolis android vibe.
Those knee joints are worrying me. I’ve tried to make all the joint sockets a bit larger than they maybe need to be because I think it would be easier for me to fix them with the addition of some milliput on the final printed parts. As opposed to drilling and sanding to subtract excess material.
Meshmixer’s X-ray material is a godsend. Here you can see how I hollowed out the parts. I have been very conservative when it comes to thickness of parts, yeah, I could have made them thinner since I designed this with 1:3 scale in mind but I might want to print a smaller version. I used boolean difference to make most of the hollows – there might well be a better way and I’d be glad to hear if anyone has any suggestions. I wonder if those overhangs in the thigh parts are printable?
Meshmixer can arrange your parts for print with one click – I’m not sure how useful this is and where the supports will go but it looks cool.