How To Make Your Own 3D Print Of A Video Game Character

I recently 3D printed a Faceless Void in color. It came out super nice. I have a mini-tutorial for 3D printing non-colored DOTA heroes, but someone asked me how to print the colored version.

Here you go!

Step One

Like before, download your favorite Hero from Valve’s DOTA2 workshop. Heroes that would not be too good for printing are those with thin components (like, Death Prophet’s trailing scarf) or those with clear alpha-mapped areas (like, Naga Siren’s earlobes). Thin components are not printable, unless manually scaled up. The alpha-mapped areas will just print black. My Faceless Void actually has a bit of alpha-mapped areas on the bottom of his loin cloth, but I figured he’d be ok.


Step Two

I used Sculpteo to handle my 3D printing. Once I packaged my model, I handled to them, and a few weeks later, they shipped me a tiny Faceless Void. With Sculpteo, shipping is $6 when the order is over $50. They usually print super fast (almost 3-day turnaround) so my delay was probably a special case. My Faceless Void cost about $18, and measured 1.9 x 2.1 x 1.1 inches (price scales with size). There’s a slew of other services available, as well as the possibility of using an at-home 3D printer, but I really like Sculpteo.

How To Make Your Own 3D Print Of A Video Game Character


Step Three

To get everything Sculpteo ready, the model needs to be packaged in a zip file. The model needs to be in an OBJ format, along with a MTL file, and the texture files. The OBJ will dictate the 3D shape of the model. It can be used by itself to print (like what I did with my Mini-Furion). The textures (Valve provides them as TGA files) will dictate the colors of the model. The MTL file will tell Sculpteo what parts are colored what.

How To Make Your Own 3D Print Of A Video Game Character


Step Four

After downloading the Hero and unzipping the model files, there’ll be two folders. One is materialsrc, which will contain the materials. The other is models, which will contain the 3D models.

Go into the materialsrc, and find _color TGA’s for each component. Copy those files to a new folder. These will be the color of the printed Hero.

How To Make Your Own 3D Print Of A Video Game Character


Step Five

To get the OBJ and MTL files, open up 3ds Max 2013. If Valve provides an OBJ, it’s not really possible to use it since the MTL files produced will be incorrect (the texture mappings are wrong). Instead, find the fbx files in the models folder. Each fbx file will contain a component of the Hero.

How To Make Your Own 3D Print Of A Video Game Character


Step Six

For each one of those fbx files, select the solid-looking mesh and export the selected as an OBJ. The wire structures are bones, used for animating the Hero, and can be ignored. Create a new scene after each export to clear the screen.

How To Make Your Own 3D Print Of A Video Game Character


Step Seven

Once all the components are exported as an OBJ, import all of the OBJs into a single scene. They should be all positioned correctly to form the hero.


Step Eight

Press M to texture the hero. Click on a white sphere, and click on the box next to Diffuse. This will bring up the Material/Map Browser. Clicking on Bitmap, and browse for one of the TGA textures. Drag and drop that texture on to the corresponding component to color the Hero. Hopefully all the mapping are correct and the Hero will look like it popped right out of DOTA2.

How To Make Your Own 3D Print Of A Video Game Character

Sometimes the mapping isn’t correct and it’s a pain to fix (like Faceless Void’s mace).

How To Make Your Own 3D Print Of A Video Game Character


Step Nine

Once everything is texture, select the components you want to print and export them as an OBJ. Make sure “Export materials” and “Create mat-library” is checked. Click the Map-Export button and it will tell you where the final MTL file will be created.

How To Make Your Own 3D Print Of A Video Game Character


Step Ten

Gather the final OBJ, the MTL, and the TGAs into a zip file and upload onto Sculpteo. Sculpteo is super nice in that it allows you to scale, and gives you a price quote. Be sure to check for solidity, which will tell you what areas are too thin / easy to break. When you’re ready, choose multicolor as the material, select your size, and add to cart.

How To Make Your Own 3D Print Of A Video Game Character

Good luck!

Republished with permission.

Jenny is a gamer and 3D printing enthusiast. Caret Dash Caret is a blog about her adventures, her explorations in DIY, and her favorite knick-knacks.