In this instructable. I'm going to show you how to prepare your 3d models in zbrush so you can print them without any errors.
Step 1: Sculpting Your Character
Choose your favorite character and sculpt it in zbrush. I'm not going to show you how to sculpt in zbrush in this instructbale because that would take about 20 other instructable lessons.
Step 2: Using Subtools
When sculpting in zbrush you can use multiple subtools to add armor, weapons, helmets or other parts to give your character more detail and interest. Because zbrush allows you to use multiple subtools, this means each subtool can be subdivided into millions of polygons to add much more detail than if you were to just sculpt one subtool.
Step 3: Be Mindful of Holes and Shells
As you can see when I created this character, I added all the armor on top of the the base mesh so it left all the armor with holes and shells which is bad when 3d printing. But in this instructable I'm going to show you how to fix that.
Step 4: Pose Your Character
Mask out part of your character and use the transpose tool to pose your character. This is a great function so that you do not have to rig your character in another 3d program.
Step 5: Merge Subtools
Once you have posed your character you can now merge down your subtools to create one mesh. Make sure that when you merge down the subtools that the outer subtool penetrates into the inner model so that it will create one solid model without floating parts or holes in your mesh.
Step 6: Dynamesh
One of the greatest functions in zbrush is Dynamsh. Dynmesh allows you to remesh your character so that it is water tight (with no holes) and keeps all the detail. It is very important to make sure your model does not have any holes or planes because many 3d printers will not accept the model or it will print bad. When I dynamesh a model I will usually dynamesh it to 2 or 3 million polygons depending on the detail the character.
As an example.. If your character had a cape make sure that the cape has volume and it is not just a flat plane surface. This goes for all objects.
Step 7: Decimate Your Model
steps to decimating a model
go to zplugin folder and find the tab marked decimation master.
1- pre-process current.
By running the pre-process button it will look at your model and figure out all the edges and curves and determine what has to be done to decimate the model. Because we merged our model into one subtool, we click the decimate current.
2- Select the amount of decimation that you want to occur. I will usually set my models to about 400 polys.
3- Decimate current. when you decimate your model you can look at the wire frame and determine if you like it with the amount of decimation you did. if you need more resolution simply undo the decimate current , set your resolution higher and decimate again.
Step 8: Export Your Model
Once you have decimated your model to a good amount you are ready to export.
Most 3d printers will accept .stl or .obj files. Zbrush has an export for both of these.
Go to the zplugins folder and click the 3d exporter tab.
In the 3d exporter you can change the size of your model to inches or millimeters. Most 3d printers have there own software where you can adjust the size as well... but if they don't zbrush gives this option.
You can now export you model as a .stl or .obj file and print it off for your collection.