Thursday, August 18, 2016

Series: Colorizing 3D Prints #4 - Colorizing a 3D Printed Face

This afternoon, I was pleased to hear my wife tell me that I'd just gotten a package.  I've been waiting for more Spectrum Noir markers to arrive and they are now here.

This gives me a set of markers that can be used for flesh tones and I was anxious to try them out.

I decided that the most appropriate test for our purposes was to create an object that the cadets are more than capable of designing.  Essentially, it is a face that is created using different levels of extruded areas.  The nose is a simple sphere.

Face - Extrude Construction
I printed the object in both ABS-R and Tough 3D Ink on an M3D Micro 3D printer.  I rightly uspected that Tough 3D Ink, being softer and flexible might take the marker dye a bit more smoothly when blending colors.

While my skills at using the eBrush airbrush are at the most crude level, it is plain that coloring the object does, indeed, add value to it.  In person, the object looks a LOT better than the photo.  The marks and flaws are less evident and so is the 3D printing pattern in the hair.

Here is an iPhone photo of the colorized face:

Colorized M3D Tough 3D Ink Face
90% of the face is flat.  Only the nose is not flat.  So, all of the appearance of shading and contouring is done with the eBrush using different colors and distances.

As I have stated before, I am no artist.  And, I've only had about 30 minutes total working experience with the Craftwell eBrush system.  So, I am extremely pleased with this result.  I will attempt the ABS-R version tomorrow.

Quick Observations

It is important not to apply too much color at any one time.  And, I find using a lower air speed better than using a higher air pressure.  I believe that this is because the markers are intended for paper and the dye does not absorb into the plastic as it does with paper.  A high pressure, therefore, can actually blow around the undried dye and create patchiness in the color.

Aiming is still an issue.  It's important not to use the marker direction as our guide.  It is the pen, itself that must be pointed at the working area.  This really takes some constant attention.

I really love the Spectrum Noir markers.  They work beautifully with the eBrush.  So far, I have only attempted to use the wide end of the pen; but, I am told that the pointed end can also be used.  I have also learned more about the Spectrum Noir system.  Not only are the markers refillable; but, the nibs can be replaced.  So, the markers are not the typical use and discard markers that most 3D printer folks have used.

Masking is an absolute necessity.  I used tape cut with an Exacto knife.  But, I think I want to experiment with creating 3D printed pieces to accomplish the masking task.   Thus I would have a 3D printed piece that each feature while the others would be printed.  Moment of Inspiration lends itself to doing this task very, very well.  More on this later.

Lastly, while neither the eBrush nor the Spectrum Noir markers are intended to be used with 3D printed materials and there are some drying and blending issues not found with paper, the potential for adding value is great enough to continue to test and experiment.  Permanency is still a question; but, that is true for standard watercolor painting as well.  We're trying to find a safe clear coat to help with that issue.

In summary, here is a side-by-side comparison of the plain white print in M3D's Tough 3D Ink and the colorized version.

Plain & Colorized Face Compared
Yes, it's going to take effort and a fair amount fo practice to increase our skills; but, even relying on a bad iPhone image, there is no question which one is the most pleasant to enjoy and appreciate.

No comments:

Post a Comment