First off, let me start by saying that I know this isn't a real action figure. It has zero points of articulation, meaning that the "action" portion of the word is conspicuously absent. But I'll eat my hat before I admit that I play with dolls or figurines, so for the duration of this 'ible what I made is an action figure. Deal with it.
Nostalgia. Boredom. Narcissism. These are all excellent reasons to make an action figure of yourself. This Instructable will detail my haphazard journey to crafting a tiny plastic replica of myself. Hopefully in the process I'll show you how to do it too.
- Acrylic Paint
- 3D Printer OR the ability to place online orders.
- This software from Autodesk takes a bunch of photos of a subject, from different angles, and uses a complicated algorithm to create a 3D model. This will be the first step in our process, and will be the foundation of the action figure. The better the Catch, the more like you it will look, so it's a good idea to watch the tutorial videos on the website.
NetFabb Studio Basic
- This is just a free program I found online that can open many different file types, repair meshes, and export files as OBJ and STL. If you have your own program that can do these things then good on you, use it.
- More free software, this program is used to directly manipulate 3D models. It can move, rotate, scale, deform, and merge models. Think of it as a digitial sculpture tool. Pretty basic, very finicky, but it gets the job done.
- None of the above programs give any indication of the real-world size of your model. It's important that when we print your figure it isn't the size of a cruise ship. 123D allows you to, among other things, scale your model to a specific real measurement.
- Catch your head by taking 20-30 photos of it from every angle.
- Export the 3D model Catch provides as an OBJ, a filet ype we can edit.
- Use NetFabb to repair the OBJ, which is full of holes and fail.
- Use MeshMixer to stick your head on a stock body downloaded from the internet.
- Use NetFabb to repair your model one more time, then export as an STL.
- Print and paint your model.
Step 1: Prepare Your Head for Catching
123D Catch works by taking many images of a single subject, from various angles, and extrapolating shape and depth. It does this by using "stitch points", or landmarks common to several photographs in the series. This works very well for objects with high-contrast patterns on them, such as dots or corners. This process breaks down, however, on large, flat blank surfaces such as white walls or sometimes, unfortunately, human faces. We can work around this limitation by providing the software with landmarks on the face to which it can form references.
This is best accomplished by poking yourself in the face with a dry-erase marker.
The basic goal here is to provide enough high-contrast points on the face that each photo has visible at least 4 points shared in two other photos. You can put as many dots on your face as you like, as long as you are able to identify each discrete dot from the others. If you cover yourself with a thousand dots it's going to be a painstaking process trying to match the same stitch point in several different photos.
Fortunately I was blessed with a buckshot blast of freckles and moles, giving enough texture to my skin to allow 123D Catch to create very accurate reference points on my face.