Introduction: Creating a 3D Printable Torus Pendant With Cinema4D and Zbrush

About: I sculpt therefore I am

Hi everyone! This is my 1st ever Instructable and I'm excited to show you how to easily generate a complex geometrical shape in Cinema4D, edit and sculpt on it with Zbrush and have it ready to print out in a shape of a wearable pendant!

I hope this will help you learn how to 3D model things on your own. The journey of learning this stuff has been long and challenging for me and only once I found the right kind of guidance, I was able to finally create the things I had in my head. I do a lot of sculpting with my hands, and this is why I favor Zbrush. It is quiet the tool for those who wish to literally sculpt their 3D models. For generating complex geometry, Zbrush is not the perfect tool and that is why we start out in Cinema 4D for the first part of this tutorial.

To do this, you will need a recent version of the Cinema4D and Zbrush 4r6 applications, at least 8gb of RAM on your computer and a stylus/wacom tablet. I have added pictures and very detailed instructions for creating this awesome pendant, but I recommend you to watch the videos I specifically created to help, as stuff gets a little complicated and it's not easy to find the right menus without the visual guidance. I hope you enjoy this and are able to create amazing things quickly!

I am hoping to win the Formlabs1 printer with this tutorial. If you like it and find it helpful, please vote for me in the top right corner of this page! Many thanks!!


For the Formlabs1 judges, I just want to say that I have dreamt about this particular printer since it came out and I am grateful for the chance to win this incredible tool, which I dearly hope to use for printing high res prototypes of my jewelry designs and take my jewelry/sculpting hobby to the next level. My big dream is to build a jewelry brand that connects and bands people together by funding a creative craftsmanship skills scholarship program for underprivileged and at-risk youth. I believe that the Formlabs1 printer will become an indispensable tool on my journey towards making this dream a reality. Thank you again!!

Step 1: Generating a Cool Torus Shape in Cinema 4D

Here is a video illustrating the basic steps for creating the torus shape in C4D.


Quick run through of steps:

1. Click on the cube icon, select torus.

2. Click on the array icon, select atom array.

3. In the right top menu, drag the torus into the atom array.

4. Click on the Torus in your right menu and in the bottom right menu, under "Object" adjust the amount of rings and pipe segments you would like within the array.

5. In the top menu, click on the Atom Array and select Object. You can adjust the sizes for your cylinder and sphere radiuses here.

6. Go to the top menu and click MoGraph. Select Extrude.

7. On the top right, grab Extrude and drop it into the Torus.

8. You can play with the extrusion levels and how far you want them inside or outside of your torus, by adjusting the amount of steps under Object, and the Z measurement under Transform.

9. Once you're done, save and export your file as an OBJ.

Step 2: Manipulating and Modeling in Zbrush + Adding Elements

So many steps! Please watch this step-by-step video that will help you understand all the steps better!

Step-by-step video

1. In the tool palette, click Import. Select the OBJ file you exported from C4D.

2. Drag out your torus onto the screen. Click Edit in the top menu, or click "T" on your keyboard.

3. To pan, press ALT, click off the object and move your cursor around to center.

To rotate around the object, click off the object and move around the screen.

To scale, click CNTRL, hover your pen over the tablet while pressing on the pen button.

4. In the tool palette, click Polymesh 3D

5. Scroll down to Geometry, click on the Dynamesh Tab, adjust the resolution to 336 and click Dynamesh. Now your mesh is editable. You can subdivide the geometry for a smoother look and better manipulation if you like.

6. Select a cylinder in the tool menu on the right. Scroll down to Initialize and adjust the inner radius to make hollow tube out of it. Hdivide a few times, and make the cylinder shorter by using one of the sliders.

7. Click Make Polymesh 3D

8. Now go to the Subtool menu and click Append. Select the Torus PM3D from earlier.

8. While you cylinder is selected in the subtool menu, open up the Deformation palette and move the Size slider to scale the cylinder down. Make sure XYZ are all turned on.

9. Once you've scaled down the cylinder, go to the Taper slider and taper one of the sides. You can use the rotate slider by typing in the amount of degrees you want to rotate on the desired axis (X, Y or Z).

10. Now press "W", or click on the Move button in the top menu. Draw out the handle bar straight up while holding shift and click on the inner center circle, that should be white. Move the cylinder to fit around the torus ring.

11. Under Geometry in the tool palette, click Divide 5 times.

12. Hold down CNTRL to bring up the Masking brush. Click and drag off the cylinder and onto it to draw out a uniform rectangular mask.

13. In the deformation palette, go to the Inflate slider and move it very slightly to inflate the unmasked areas of the cylinder.

14. In the Subtool menu, click Duplicate.

- "9" to quicksave your project

15. Repeat by drawing out a thinner mask on your cylinder, then while holding CNTRL, click off the model once to invert the mask. Now slide the Inflate slider again in the opposite direction slightly to make the selected area smaller.

16. Click on your duplicate in the Subtool menu to select it. Hide the original by pressing on the eye icon to the right.

17. Press "B" for brush selection and then click "I" to select the Insert Sphere brush. In the center of the cylinder piece draw out a sphere by clicking and dragging. It gets bigger as you drag you cursor further away. Zbrush automatically masks the rest of the cylinder to allow you to manipulate your brush insert without affecting the rest of the model's topology. To clear the mask, hold down CNTRL, click and drag off your model.

18. Press "B" again and "I", select the Insert Primitives brush. Click "M" to select the desired torus shape. Drag out the torus brush over your sphere.

19. To adjust the angle of the torus to match the surface, rotate your screen to the appropriate viewing angle. Press "R" for rotate and draw out a handle. Start on the edge farther away from the one you want to rotate down or up. The starting point is the axis of rotation, the end point of your handle is the rotation handle. Click inside the end point circle (the inner circle) and drag it to rotate the torus to a desired position. You will need to do this from a few different angles to achieve the desired effect. Drawing out the handle again in the same fashion will be necessary.

20. Once you've lined up the angle, press "W" on your keyboard to select the Move option. Now, you may use the same handle bar you've already drawn out to move the torus into position around the sphere. Click on the inner center circle on the handle bar and drag the torus into position. Remember that you will need to rotate around your object and move the torus from different viewing angles to reach the desired effect. Once you're done, release the mask by holding down CNTRL, clicking and dragging off the model.

21. Repeat steps 17-20 to create more of these decorative elements around your cylinder.

22. If you desire a geometrically perfect look, you can try doing these steps slightly differently to save time. Press "X" on your keyboard to activate symmetry. Click on the Transform menu up top. Select Radial symmetry by pressing on the little (R) button, select the number on the Radial count slider. For the given example you want to have the Z axis activated. Turn off X and Y. You can experiment with the radial symmetry option by playing with the other axis options.

- "9" to quicksave your project

23. Once you are done, under Geometry tab in your tool palette, adjust the Dynamesh resolution to 336 and click Dynamesh. Now the pieces are "welded" together.

24. You can smooth out any ugly spots by holding down SHIFT to change your brush to Smoothing brush. Hold down the space bar to bring up the brush size and focal shift sliders. Adjust brush size to the appropriate size to smooth out the spots. While holding down SHIFT, simply click and drag your cursor around the spots you want to adjust. To make creases stand out more, you can use another brush. Press "B" on your keyboard to bring up the brush selections, press "D" and select DamStandard. This brush carves away automatically instead of adding clay to the surface. You can always switch between adding and subtracting modes by holding down ALT for reversed function. COMMAND+Z to undo anything you didn't like. COMMAND+SHIFT+Z to re-do if you changed your mind. :) You can play around with the brushes and sculpt more details or keep it simple and move onto the next step.

24. In the Subtool menu, click Duplicate and then hide your original by clicking on the eye icon. Select the duplicate subtool. Click "R" for rotate and draw out a handle from the outside edge of your cylinder piece to the center point inside your torus shape. This can be done easier by clicking on the floor grid (SHIFT+P). You will see the intersection of the axises in the center. Make sure the end point of your handle is in that center. Now click the inner circle on the starting point of your handle (the outside edge of the torus/cylinder) and drag it to rotate your cylinder tool around the torus into the desired position.

25. Repeat step 24, but don't hide your original. We can keep this where we left it. Make sure to rotate your new duplicate to the opposite side.

26. Unhide your subtool with the sphere details, the one is the center. Click on it to select it. We're gonna want to move it up. Make sure your view is centered over the whole model. Press "W" on your keyboard to move, draw out the handle up while holding down SHIFT, click on the inner middle circle and drag the piece up to the location above the torus - this will make the pendant's bail.

- "9" to quicksave your project

27. In the subtool menu, make sure all the tools are visible by clicking the eye icon. Click append and bring in your hollow cylinder. Make sure it's selected in the menu. In the Deformation palette use the Size slider to scale the cylinder down. Use the rotate slider if needed to rotate the slider around on the correct axis.

28. Press "W" and drag out a handle to move the cylinder up to the top of the center of the torus. Position it in such a way to bridge the gap between the torus and the bail piece you created. Adjust the scale/length as needed in the deformation size slider. Step-by-step video illustrates this well. :-)

29. Divide the cylinder a few times in the Geometry menu. Then hold down CNTRL and drag out a mask horizontally across the center of the cylinder. You can inflate the unmasked areas via Inflate slider in the Deformation menu, or CNTRL+click to invert the mask and deflate the center.

30. Under Geometry, delete lower subdivision levels. Press "B" for brush, "I" for insert brushes and select Insert Primitives. "M" to select the Torus brush. Draw out the torus around the cylinder and rotate it and move it around, just like we did earlier to center it nicely around the bottom of the cylinder.

- "9" to quicksave your project

31. Go to Subtool Menu, make sure everything is visible (eye icon) and click Merge Down. This command creates a brand new Tool of the merged version of your project. In the tool selection, click on the one that says merged and it will automatically pop that on your screen.

32. Under Geometry - Dynamesh, up the resolution to 336 and Dynamesh this to make sure all the holes are closed. Click Divide to create a smoother mesh.

You're done with the pendant, now onto print prep!

Step 3: Prepping Your File for Print

1. Under Geometry, open the Mesh Integrity tab. Click Check Mesh Integrity. Zbrush will tell you everything that's wrong with your mesh. :-O Delete lower levels of subdivisions and click Fix Mesh. This will make your printer very happy.

2. Open the Zplugin menu on the top. (You can click on the small circular icon to do dock this menu to your Tool Palette. That's where mine is showing in the pictures.)

3. Select Decimation Master and click on Pre-process Current Work.

4. Select the desired percentage of decimation. I want to make it within 1000k polys. I have mine set to roughly 12.676% at 446K polys. The key is to decimate as far down as possible while retaining as much of the detail as possible. So if you can go low - go low.

5. Click Decimate Current.

6. Look below for 3D Print Exporter menu. Click Update Size Ratios, select mm and one of the dimensions of your model. I want my pendant to be 5 cm wide, so I typed in 50 on the Z. The rest of the numbers will adjust proportionally on their own.

7. Select STL, name your file and save.

Note: My file ended up being 22.6 mb which is within the acceptable limit at Shapeways which limits ya at 64 mb.

You're ready for print!!

Step 4: STL

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