Step 5: Edit Your Model with MeshMixer

Ah, MeshMixer. I love you, I hate you, you're frustratingly indispensable.

Consider this step just a basic overview of MeshMixer. My goal with this program was to take two models, my face and a stock model I found online, and merge the meshes into a single model. Essentially, I wanted to slap my face on a body. If you have your own program that can merge two models I recommend you use it, as MeshMixer can be quite fiddly.

MeshMixer is the program that I used to fix and combine my Catch with stock 3D models. Although the website looks like it was designed by a cross-eyed monkey, MeshMixer is a pretty sophisticated piece of software. It uses an obscene amount of your CPU while running, so make sure you save often (to avoid losing everything in case of a crash) and close any other programs you have open before starting.

Cross your fingers and open MeshMixer.

Go to File > Import and select your repaired OBJ file. It's possible to import your original unrepaired OBJ, but you'll be unable to select invalid surfaces, which makes it pretty much useless.

Just a quick tip to save you the frustration I faced. Rotate your view by holding Alt+Left Mouse Button, Pan with Alt+Shift+Left Mouse Button, and Zoom with Alt+Right Mouse Button. If you're more familiar with 3D editing software you may have already known this, but I'm not, so I didn't, and it made me want to put my fist through my monitor.

Use the Select Tool (S) to color in the parts of your face that you want to work with. Hold Shift to deselect areas, and hold the Right Mouse Button while moving up and down to grow or shrink your selected area. If you start clicking in the space outside your model you will automatically switch to the lasso tool. I've found this to be the most useful way to select areas of the model, but be careful. You have control over your relative X and Y axes while lassoing, but your Z axis has infinite depth. What this means is that if you lasso a small circle around your nose you will also end up selecting a small circle on the back of your head. Mesh mixer will select everything inside that circle, even if it's on the other side of the model. Sometimes when you try to select something with the lasso it will accidently select everything except the lassoed area. If this happens just click Modify Selection > Inverse (I) to switch it to the correct selection.

One you have the area you want to edit selected you have a couple basic tools available. Edit > Discard (X) will simply delete your highlighted areas, often making you model non-watertight again (don't worry, you can always fix it again in NetFabb). This is the simplest way to remove unwanted sections of your model. Edit > Erase and Fill (F) will attempt to delete your selection and fill in the gap. It often fails at this, but it's a simple way to try to smooth out flaring and intersections caused by combining your models.

Deformations > Transform Faces (T) will be your bread and butter. This is the only way I've found to actually move, rotate, and scale the models in MeshMixer. The best way to move your whole model is to click the Select Tool and press Ctrl+ A to highlight everything. This ensures that you don't miss any surfaces that may be hiding somewhere. One you've highlighted your selection and clicked Transform Faces you should be able to move your selected area around.

If you try to import another model MeshMixer will ask you if you want to Replace or Append the current mesh. Unless you're starting over you should always append. You can switch between which model you want to work on when you don't have a tool selected; when using the Select Tool you will only be able to select surfaces on the model with which you are currently working.

If you want to learn more about MeshMixer you can find their tutorials page here.

Now that you have a basic idea of how MeshMixer works, I'll walk you through mashing up two different models.
<p>Your action figure looks like Chris Pratt.</p>
U are so cute! ;)
Man, tried everything, 123D catch doesn't work so I diverted to VisualSFM which doesn't seem to work on mac, and then I tried Skanect, and apparently I first need to buy a Kinect for it. <br> <br>I hope some company created a 123D catch-like software for free that isn't browser based (there is no offline mac version).
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What's a prime cost of printing this kind of personal figure?
Real men play with dolls....um....of, um, themselves. <br> <br> Where to borrow/hack 123D is the purpose of this comment however. Brilliant idea for gifts to my young nephews or cake toppers for the soon to be married daughters. <br> <br>I might be able to help if arm/leg articulation is imperative- &quot;have dremel, will cut&quot;. S'my motto. Miniature eye screws for the loosely jointed and there are doll hospital web sites where you may be able to find more fixed jointing/swivel. <br> <br>Thanks for this great ible. <br>
Now about your posture.........
Cool idea.... <br> <br>Thanks to 30 years of agressively working out at a gym (including the fact that I can bench press more than 2x of my own weight) and other than the Tatoo, the 3D figure has about the same pysique as me,.... <br> <br>to think I wasted all that time in the gym...when I could have made a 3D sculpture of myself! <br>
Why not do the 3d scan of your body, too? I thought it was practically a requirement for anyone who worked at Instructables to strip down to one's undies for at least one project. :p
Please upload YOUR files ASAP! ;&gt;
Do you know how to make 3d objects hollow in a software? I would like to know because I am working on a weight sensitive project where the motors aren't strong enough to lift a solid 3D piece. Also, it is less expensive if I use a hollow piece. Thanks.
I like the ripped jeans and gnarly tat. They compliment the rugged six-pack to give the figure back his 'action'
To put the &quot;action&quot; back into your &quot;figure&quot;, in theory you could just print out a head and glue it to an existing action figure sans head right? I really like your instructable, but am trying to figure a way to do it a bit cheaper. Does shapeways have an order minimum? Thanks!
You could definitely just print out your head and glue it to an existing figure. In fact, if you were willing to do some engineering-grade modeling in AutoCAD you could add the joining mechanism directly into your head before you print, and just snap it onto the action figure!
cool! although there are easier ways to get this done in meshmixer...guess I should make a tutorial video or something =)
If you do I would love a link :). I can tell it's a powerful program, but most of the tutorials are way out of date.
Yes, unfortunately that part of the website doesn't get any attention at the moment. If you are looking for help, the youtube channel: <br> <br>http://www.youtube.com/meshmixer <br> <br>has the most recent tutorial videos. And you will get a quick response to any questions on the forum: <br> <br>http://www.meshmixer.com/forum/
Fantastic work! Thanks for posting, I voted for you. I really liked your work! <br> <br>K.
Thanks, that means a lot to me!
Great instructable! <br>If what you're doing creates the head separately anyway, you could put the head on an articulated body and have an actual posable action figure. Dollsfigure or any company that creates articulated bodies sell bodies ready for heads. <br>
That's very true! I was looking for models of articulated figures, but couldn't find any; if you just printed the head however, you could glue it on to any action figure.
Cool! Good work but... you should get a model painter in to help you out haha
Haha, that would certainly help. I gave it my best shot, but I'm not a painter by any stretch!
Do you think drawing some sort of markings on your face first might help 123D Catch? Since the ultimate goal is to make a mesh, it wouldn't really matter if the initial model had big X's drawn on with eyeliner or something.
Yes, that would definitely work! I would suggest that you use a pen or something that has a fine point, This will help you be more precise when you're stitching.
Nice action figure. Wear those never-nude cut-offs proud!
I LOVE your denim cut offs. where did you get those from? hahah Can I borrow?
Thanks for all the links to some really interesting software for the right price.
That is a fascinating process. It is amazing that people can make a 3-D replica on their home computer and manufacturer a copy of it at home with a 3-D printer they own. That would have required some very expensive technology to achieve just ten years ago. <br> <br>Do you think people will soon be able to create life size, ultra realistic sculptures? That might create a whole new industry. Wouldn't it be interesting if instead of just a life size poster of a favorite sports hero or celebrity, one could buy a life size 3-D sculpture of them. You could have your favorite wrestler standing in your bedroom.

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Bio: I'm handling most of the shipping here at Instructables, as well as learning to run the new 3D printers. Feel free to PM me ... More »
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