This instructable will show you how to make the swan with tribal wings and big eyes!
Go to the website Autodesk.com and download Mudbox and Maya. You can use the trial versions for like a month or so, or if your a student, you can use the software for like three years for FREE!!! Learn how to use Autodesk Mudbox and Maya on YouTube.com! If you put down the remote control during the week after work and sacrifice a couple of weekends to the computer animation gods, you will, with a little effort, learn Autodesk Mudbox and Maya from Youtube.com alone! Everyone likes a little challenge, not to mention the software is fun to learn and deeply rewarding and satisfying when you figure things out.
Take pictures and use 123D Catch! to make a 3D model. I took pictures of the concrete swan. The swan was about 2.5 feet tall and weighed a zillion pounds!
Use 123D Catch! which is FREE!!! to make a digital 3D model of the swan! Just upload the pictures and let the software do the work in the 'cloud!' Wow technology is out of the stratosphere! Thanks Autodesk!
Export the swan file that was made in 123D Catch! as an .obj file. Import the swan .obj file into Autodesk Mudbox to begin sculpting the swan.
Use Autodesk Mudbox to sculpt the tribal wing pattern and eyes to the swan. If you use someone else's work, don't forget to ask for permission first!
Make the eyes realistic by using Mudbox to insert spheres where the eyes would be.
Export the Mudbox file as a .obj file and import into Maya. Use Maya to delete unnecessary geometry that could cause problems when its time to print the model. This may take a while. Then use Maya to make the swan watertight so the 3D print software can use the model to print the swan.
Import the .obj file into Meshlab which is also free (open source) software thanks to the developers over at the University of Pisa. Use Meshlab to export the .obj file as .stl filetype. The file needs to be .stl, .stp, or .step for the printing software to read the file and print the swan.
Side note: As of the creation of this instructable, neither Mudbox or Maya was capable of exporting the swan file as .stl filetype. After trial and error and lots of research (sleepless nights reading 3D community related blogs) this solution of using Meshlab for the conversion was found. It seems like the 3D printing and rapid prototyping industry is geared more towards the CAD/Solid Works community and industry rather than the more artistic 3D/computer animation and modeling community. Most likely Autodesk is aware of this problem and will make later versions of their software capable of being able to convert from more filetypes across different industries.
After the swan is printed you will have the 'blank' model. Use this model to make a mold.
learn how to make a mold and castings on Youtube.com!! I know I know, here we go with the youtube.com again.. lol.. however once again you gotta give it up for the age of information! What a wonderful and miraculous time we live in :)
Use RTV (Room Temperature Vulcanization) silicone rubber to make a mold of the swan. There are many types out there. The type used here is 28 duramoter moldmaking Aeromarine RTV silicone rubber.
Make a mother mold for the silicone rubber mold. This is necessary to maintain the shape of the swan when material is poured into the mold to make a copy of the swan. The mother mold is made out of fiberglass and fiberglass resin purchased from Home Depot. Its really toxic stuff so wear personal protective equipment like gloves, protective glasses and a respirator.
Cut the silicone rubber to get the 'blank' out.
I drilled a couple of holes in the top of the mother mold and used funnels to pour the material into the swan mold. A better way to do that is to actually make risers out of clay to attach to the 'blank' before making the mold. We are all learning something :)
Drill holes through the sides of the mother mold that sticks out and use nuts and bolts to secure the two sides of the mother mold together. You can also use clamps to add more pressure so that the mother mold stays together. Also put the entire mold on a bed of clay to prevent leakage from the bottom. Clay is also good to have on hand to plug up any leaks that may occur.
Copies of the swan were made with both clear polyester resin, plaster, and hydrocal. Plaster is really brittle but its cheap. Hydrocal is just a mixture of plaster and concrete, which makes the material tougher, though its a little more expensive. The clear polyester resin can be bought online or at Michaels craft store. Polyester is way more expensive than plaster but more professional and gives a different effect as seen here in this tutorial. If you use polyester resin you will want to use your full personal protective equipment again.
Make as many copies of the swan as you want to. You can paint them, make LED lights shine through them, and sell them!
Upload the swan file to the 123D gallery.