Step 2: 3D Model Manipulation

We have several options for modifying the 3D model. It also depends on what we want to accomplish. Here I am going to work towards making an inverted mold so that I can make a plaster positive mold of my face. (I was concerned that the foam would not work well with the plastic vacuum form step later)

After working with this a few times now I would really suggest doing your best to get a good quality 3D model out of 123D Catch, it is hard to shape the face correctly afterwards.

First we will use MeshMixer (I am using meshmixer 07 update 3) to clean up the model and smooth out any surfaces. This program is very easy to use. Hold the ALT key to change your view. Select the extra parts in the model with 's' and draw a loop around them. press x to delete. Once you have the extra stuff deleted we can smooth or modify the face. Check out the pictures below, they will walk through this process too.

Simply choose the smooth function and begin altering the model. You can alter the size and strength of the smoothing pad. Just play with it. I'm not a pro at this, I just messed around until it looked ok. I would suggest using the smoothing function minimally as too much made my face look fake. 

You can also add or subtract material. Feel free to give yourself a nose job. The top of my head was messed up in my 3D model, it wasn't an issue since all I needed was the face. I simply leveled off the model in that region. The rest will get chopped off.

Finally, in meshmixer 07 update 3, there is an option for a plane cut. Move it around until just the part you want for the mask remains. The pictures below will make this step clear.

Now we have the 3D model for the mold. Export this as an .stl file so that we can generate the gcode for the CNC mill.

Alternative Method
Here we are going to use 'Hexagon 2' which is available for free download from DAZ 3D. Similarly, we can select points and delete  out the extra stuff. 

Import the .obj file. You can rotate the model with the options at the bottom of the screen. Click on the model and then click on 'select points (F4)' you can now pick out the extra parts of the model and remove them. It is easier to change to the lasso tool (just below the 'auto select' button. Right click with the mouse to draw a lasso. press 'delete' to remove the points.

I deleted most everything but my face (and a little extra). I then added a box (3D primitives -> Cube) and moved it around (click on the cube and modify the properties on the right) until it chopped off the right amount of my face for the mask. The two parts were then added together with a surface Boolean addition (surface modeling -> Boolean operation). Select your object then select the Boolean operation. Now click on the cube. Give it a moment to work. A weird addition may be made, but look in the properties on the right, you'll see a bunch of circle and squares with different blue areas. This represents the different operation options. I chose the normal add function (all blue) so that it keeps everything.

This made a nice flat bottom surface. You can now delete the box parts, or leave them in depending upon your CNC application. Again, export as an .stl file.

Other Software
Any other software (such as Blender or the Autodesk 123D apps) that allows you to manipulate 3D models will probably allow you to do this step as well.

In the next step we will convert the modified 3D model to gcode for CNC'ing.

<p>Wow I even knew about 123D Catch but never thought about it in this context. I guess you have a more creative mind. Thanks for the excellent Instructable. I'm not making a mask of my face but I did want a mold to make a form fitting skin tight leather mask. I considered casting my face (Alginate-&gt;plaster) to make a mold but this is better. Thanks. Besides, after seeing this I probably will make my face.</p>
So cool!
Amazing !
I'm not very techy, though I'm not incompetent and do manage all my needs myself (in the end!), but what you describe is very, very long and intricate and it seems much - MUCH - easier to just MAKE A MASK by the (a) traditional, old-fashioned, hand method.
Where's the fun in that?
Obviously you've never made your own masks. <br> <br>Not only can you make a hard mask the old way, but you can make silicon &quot;soft&quot; masks too. <br>And they still cost less.
I don't want to appear picky, but I think you mean 'silicone soft masks'. Silicon is like glass, so not flexible! Do you pour the rubber over your face? I suppose you could use PVA , but don't forget to grease up first.
Why in the world would you pour it -directly- on your face?! <br>You'd make a mold first and pour the compound into the mold. <br>And of course I'm talking about the rubberized silicon. <br>*Face palm*
I guess I should have put a smiley face behind that comment as you did not get my humor. This site is about creating, having fun, innovating. My instructable wasn't about cost. It was about a neat way to do something. This is one specific idea, but if you can do this, then you can do a lot. It's about looking at things in a new way.
Was thinking the same thing. It's an interesting as a tech demo, but for anyone wanting to make a mask of themselves for any reason other than that it's very much doing things the longer, harder, more expensive way.
First, where is the love? Second, if you have access to a CNC or 3D printer this process is pretty cheap, and it allows for alteration of the model on the computer. Third, this will work for all sorts of objects, with no contact. Isn't it pretty cool that you can go from just pictures to a usable 3d model and then work with that?
People who have personal access to that stuff are still very much in the minority, so for most readers this project would cost hundreds of dollars. Alteration of the model, in the case of a mask, is no less easy when using &quot;old fashioned&quot; methods. You can also get more detail resolution that way than is available with most printers or CNC machines.<br><br>Yes, it's very cool that you can do these sort of things. It isn't currently practical/economical for mask making though, (that will change at some point probably within the decade, but not right now). I can think of a lot of things these technologies are very practical/economical for currently, so it is interesting, but as I sad, in this application it's (currently) only valuable as a tech demo. There are lots of instructables already existing that cover these techs/methods though, so saying the methods here can be adapted for other things doesn't salvage much extra value.<br><br>Please try to understand that mild, civil criticism is not a &quot;lack of love&quot;. It's not my intention to insult you or your efforts, nor am I saying you shouldn't submit them, but it wouldn't be reasonable or rational for anyone to only expect (or accept) only flattery for their efforts either. Even best friends disagree and correct each other.
You could make a gear lever tip of your face
have you seen the commercial version of this at http://thatsmyface.com/ ? you did a good job of doing the same thing but they seem to have the color printing side of it down pat. Somewhat expensive though! <br> <br>Interesting that they can render a 3d model from just 2 images.
That looks neat. The painting is really the hard part so they have me beat there. I wonder if they have some model that they are using to generate the face structure, two pictures doesn't seem to be enough to build a 3D model from.
Actually a parametric model makes perfect sense - calibrate first from the frontal image, aligning eyes, nose, ears, chin, corner of the mouth etc, and then apply a Z depth to each of the alignment points from the side-on image. That must be what they're doing.<br> <br> I would imagine that the 2-d front-on part of the calibration would be identical to what is done to calibarte the &quot;<a href="http://www.portraitprofessional.com/photo_editing_software/" rel="nofollow">Portrait professional</a>&quot; program that is used for automated retouching of portrait photographs. (first few seconds of the linked video)&nbsp;<br> <br> Now if you could only add a movable mouth, you'd have a great Mission Impossible mask.&nbsp; But even without that, these will be great for halloween - especially for a severed head prank!
This is awesome. The other people who are discounting this are &quot;near sited&quot; (so I follow the &quot;be nice&quot; policy). It's not about the mask making, it's about this innovative process. I wish someone like yourself was my neighbor. We'd build all sorts of neat stuff....Take care...
Thank you for the kind comment. I'd be glad to have you as a neighbor, building in a community is way more fun.
just make a life mask like a death mask!!!!!!!!!!
Nice! <br>Im gonna try it out after my cnc machine is complete
great instructable!
Thank you!
Thanks! <br>
Sorry Bro, but you just re-invented the wheel. <br>This is easier done with plaster and alginate and not as costly. <br> <br>And you have the added benefit of having a mold on hand 24/7.
Of course you can do it that way. I certainly was not under the impression that I invented mask making. <br> <br>Don't you think that it is a slick way to do it? That you can go from just pictures to a functioning mask or any object for that matter. BTW, I did make a mold which is on hand???
Janet Jetson's Morning Mask!

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