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Noob Question - Which 3D modeling program?

Posted: August 23, 2009
Hey all. Similar questions to this have been asked, but I think my formulation is unique. I am trying to model some stone walls for architectural models. I need the stone texture to show up in 3D so it will print on a 3D printer. I am not sure what the best 3D software to use for this application.

I started out using Blender, but after many hours of use, while I can build some basic shapes, I can't get the textures right. I am beginning to think that learning Blender in order to make the simple shapes I want is like learning Linux in order to try and write a letter to grandma.

I also tried Rhinoceros, but have bumped up against the same basic problem. While I can figure out how to make basic shapes, I am having a real problem getting textures mapped on to them. It is important to note that the textures must be "real" 3D as opposed to mapped on jpegs. The texture of the stone must actually print in a stereolithography machine.

Anyway, I am not even sure what the right questions to ask are, much less which software is right or how to go about doing what I want to do. I am willing to do the work to learn the appropriate program(s), but, at this point, don't even have a clue as to which path to start down.

Hell, the right thing to do might be to just hire the work done. Then again, if I want to make changes later, I can't make them myself.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
Posted: August 24, 2009
what you need are displacement maps but I'm not sure if 3d printers understand this kind of information. From what I know about them they don't.

If you need detailed walls with every brick or stone having it's own volume you can try mudbox or brush. You will have to create a really detailed 3d object that will contain all the information you need to print.
Posted: August 25, 2009
3d artist gallery Andyba
Yellowbeard, you will bump in the same basic problem in all major 3d modeling surfaces. Because texturing is what you got in Blender and Rhino - applying jpg textures on 3d surfaces to tell the rendering engine how to render it. Another thing is that you can apply the same textures to different shader parameters like bump, specularity, reflection and so on. One of these parameter being displacement - that will displace the 3d surface during rendering to show depth. And as dTb wrote 3d printers will most likely not understand this kind of information. And if they can understand then keep in mind that displacement maps should be black and white.

But as it was also advised by dTb you can try using zBrush and Mudbox. There is an option in these programs to used textures as brushes to sculpt various small details. I think this is what you need.
Posted: October 02, 2009
I believe you are looking at Zbrush here Smile
Posted: October 08, 2009
very simple use the bump file in (maya 2009 ) the material which you use the material
Posted: January 07, 2010
khuram_ktls wrote:
very simple use the bump file in (maya 2009 ) the material which you use the material

...or, sticking to blender (2.5 interface will be much easier to learn), you might want to use the exact same technique by applying the displacement modifier to a high-polycount plane and using a height map ("bump file"). This will allow you to plot the 3D-depth information of the wall directly based on the lightness-darkness of the pixels (I'm sorry if my thoroughness annoys you, I'm going here relying on the beginner remark.)

In any case, if all else fails, people are right - ZBrush has a very nice learning curve, it will allow you to literally paint dents onto your wall.