I wanted to call this article something like “The Pantless Chap” or “Professor Cheeks” but I figured that wouldn’t hit right with the search engine optimization algorithms. Consider one of those the byline.
I’ve been using a 3D rendering software called ZBrush Core for the past few weeks in the hopes of finally creating my own models from scratch. I still love building models from kits, of course. It just fascinates me to be able to go from an idea to a painted model on my shelf.
To that end, I’ve been goofing around with different software and different ideas, trying to find the right thread to pull. Recently, I was introduced to a cooperative board game called Horrified. You run around different locations trying to defeat the old MGM monsters such as Wolfman, the Mummy, Frankenstein’s monster, etc.
The game has nice little minis for all the monsters. They are well sculpted and look menacing on the board. Unfortunately, all the heroes of the game are cardboard cutouts in little plastic bases. They are screaming to be replaced with minis of their own. With this as a target, I set out to see how hard it would be to replicate on of the characters using 3D software and my 3D printer.
This isn’t a ZBrush Core tutorial. Others have made those, and I thank them heartily for that. This is just a log of events. I also wanted to show you guys what was possible with three weeks of practice and a half-baked idea. The biggest hurdle to getting started is going to be purchasing the software and having a computer that can handle it without locking up. A free alternative to ZBrush Core is Blender, though I’ve found ZBrush to be easier for me to use.
I started with a photograph of one of the heroes. I chose the Professor, as he seemed the simplest to begin with. ZBrush had a featureless mannequin that I used as a base. From there it was just trial and error.
Before I start the photo dump, I’ll give you a few lessons learned. Layering surfaces like clothes, if done incorrectly, will cause voids in the model that will fail during 3D printing. This model will need to be done over again with this in mind. The final product was fixed up with epoxy in a few places to make those holes less evident.
Second, the mannequin was too buff from the start. After adding clothes, my frail professor-type looked a little too Captain America. Going forward, I’ll thin him out before I start adding clothes.
Finally, build with the final scale in mind. The print should be around 30 mm when used in the game. That will make the text I used on the base all but invisible.
Have a look at the photos below and let me know what you think. Any other games that need characters rendered out? Let me know in the comments below!
Here’s a bonus of some of the other things I’ve rendered out and/or printed using ZBrush.