Full color sandstone 3D print tutorial

By 2 Giugno 2014 5 Comments

Full color sandstone 3d print – model setup tutorial

A while ago I was looking through the internet for a tutorial that could explain me how to setup my model to be 3d printed in full color sandstone material, with a texture created from polypaint in zbrush; even though I wasn’t able to find anything that could each the whole process, after a lot of trial & error I was able to find an easy and quick workflow to setup a model to be printed with textures.
Let’s get to it:

I’m going to use a model I already created to show only the process.
First of all merge all the subtools into one object, making them all visible ( all the ones you need ) and clicking the “merge visible” button.


Duplicate your model ( so if you mess something up you can just delete the subtool ) and dynamesh it so it’s one surface empty inside.

You can do it two ways now:

  • You can dynamesh at a lower resolution, losing some details, divide the geometry a couple of times and projecting all the details from the first merged model to this one
  • or you can dynamesh it at an higher resolution, it’s going to take more time, but you won’t need to project the details back

I suggest the first method but it’s up to you.

Duplicate your model again ( just to be sure, and save often )

Now we need to create the uv map. Since it’s just for 3d printing we don’t need a perfectly optimized uv map.
We want to make things fast, and we want everything to work.

So zremesh the model, don’t worry if you lose all the details, as we did before we’re going to project them back from the first model with polypaint. Under the modify topology palette hit the close holes button and then ctrl+w to turn everything into a single polygroup.
To make it easier, you can divide the model into different polygroups as you can see in the image below.
And with the control paint of the uv master plugin draw where the seams are going to be.
Then hit the unwrap button to create the uv map.

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Once the uv map is created (it’s not gonna look perfect but do’nt worry, it’s gonna work) sudivide the model 3-4 times.
Make the first model visible, now you’re gonna have the two models overlapping with the one with the uv map looking clearly without details.
Select the last one and hit the project all button, it’s going to ask you if you want to transfer the polypaint too, click yes and wait until it’s done processing everything.

Once it’s finished go under the texture map palette and create a new texture from polypaint.
Click the clone texture button to bring the new texture under the texture palette on top.
Remember to click the flip v button then export the texture.

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Now back to the model.
It’s now time to make it “lighter” so the 3d printer can process it, if the polycount it’s too high it won’t work.
Under the plugin palette open the decimation master submenu, and hit the “preprocess current” button.
Once it’s completed you can change the % of decimation: 5% or lower it’s fine make sure not to lose details though.

Very important remember to check “keep UV” before decimating

After this export the model as obj so we can check the correct size in blender.

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Import the obj just exported from zbrush into blender and under the material options apply the texture exported earlier from zbrush.

Check the size now.

If you click on the geometry you can see from the size that it’s small, blender works in mm
to get a nice 3d printed model (a character like this) sould be between 60 and 80
Under the material options apply the texture exported earlier from zbrush.

So scale the geometry until it reaches the desired size, and export it as X3D file.

Then if you want to print it I suggest to go on shapeways and follow hte instructions to upload a textured model

(just zip it with the texture, no folders, easy as that.)

If you follow everything correctly should work and you’ll have a model ready to be printed in full color sandstone.

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Hope this was helpful and if you have any other questions just contact me and let me know.

Have fun printing your own models.

About gmaiocco


  • I looked all over for help on getting zbrush figures onto shapeways for full colored sandstone…this is the ONLY tutorial that worked. I will be sharing it around on polycount or gameartisans or lunchcrunch etc…I CAN’T be the only one who couldn’t get it to work.

    • gmaiocco ha detto:

      Well thanks, I don’t know if there are other ways to create figures for full colored sandstone on shapeways, but I came up with this after a lot of trial and error, and I’m glad I was helpful 🙂

  • Alejandro ha detto:

    I’ve been looking for this kind of tutorial since I’ve been trying to upload full color models to shapeways but with no success, however it would be great if you could make a video of this tutorial or explain the last part better; I can’t seem to do the Blender part, I’m not that savvy using Blender. Thanks a lot for your help, it is greatly appreciatted!

  • Alejandro ha detto:

    Oh nevermind. I already did it. thanks anyways, it was very helpful!

  • gmaiocco ha detto:

    Hi Alejandro.
    Glad to know you solved the problem and you found this helpful 🙂 Sorry for the late answer but I was working on some updates for the website.

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