Making Faces (Part Three)

November 20, 2012 at 6:01 am 5 Comments

Part One – Making the Neck
Part Two – Slicing the Face

The last thing I am going to cover in this guide is adding details, namely text, to the inside of the face.  I like to have text and/or my logo on my parts – it makes it look more finished and I am a real sucker for stuff like that.  I have to resist the urge to plaster my logo all over everything.

Step 3 – Text & Logos

Writing the Text

The process of adding text and logos is very similar, so I am just going to go over text. For a logo, just import a vector image and follow along.

So first I have to write the text.  Not much to that – change your view to the proper perspective, and go to Create -> Shapes -> Text.  I’d recommend using a simple font, ideally with rounded corners.  Just keep in mind that thin areas may not print well.  As you can see, I’ve finally came up with a name for this sculpt – Mara.  Not the best name, but it was hard to come up with one to fit a zombie character.  In many languages its meaning has to do with death and is the name of goddesses/demons on various mythologies.  Anyway, when you have your text/logo how you want to, convert it to an Editable Poly.  If the area you are putting the text on is flat (no curve to it), make sure your text is parallel to the surface and skip to Shelling the Text.

Making a Grid

So this is probably my least favorite part – it is pretty annoying.  What we want to do is conform the text to the head, but since we just have one solid face for each part, it isn’t going to conform well.  We need to break up those faces with a bunch of faces.  There are functions that will do this, but not nicely.  So, I use a trick.  I make a plane full of faces, like a grid, then use the letters of my text to cut into the plane.

First we need to make our plan.  That is simple, just go to Create -> Standard Primitives -> Plane. Create it around your text area, and move it back if you need to so it is behind the text.  Then we want to up the length and width segments until we have a bunch of small faces.  I make the width size a factor of the length so I can have perfect squares, but it doesn’t matter.

Extruding the Text

Before we can cut into out plane, we need to extrude our text. I actually just selected the border, and copied back. You are also going to want to detach each element so they all are a separate object (this means if you have an “i”, you would make the dot and the line two separate objects as well).

Cutting the Plane

Since we are going to be using intersection, we are going to need a separate plane for each object in our text. Luckily for this example I only need 4, but I’ve had to do this for 20+ objects and it is a pain. I cut down some time by setting up the Boolean objects fist. I do this by selecting my plane, creating the ProBoolean compound, then choosing the settings what I need, in this case Intersection and Remove Only Invisible. Don’t pick your objects yet! Now copy this plane how many times you need. You can speed things up by selecting you plane, pressing Ctrl+V, then selecting both planes, going Ctrl+V again (now you have 4), and so on. This way you need say 16 planes, you only need to do this 4 times, and you won’t need to waste time choosing the setting for each one.

Now that we have all of our planes with the ProBoolean ready, just select each plane and pick one of you text objects until you have them all done. If it doesn’t work, check that your text isn’t doing anything weird. Some fonts aren’t perfect and you’ll wind up with duplicated vertex or something. You can see that ProBoolean kept everything behind the plane, but we will just delete that. The important part is that we have out grid on our text. Now just attach them all together so they are one object again.

Conforming the Text

Before I conform the text, I remove all of the vertices that aren’t connected to the grid. This helps prevent weird warping and can be done easily with Vertex Killer.  Then I go back in and manually add a few vertices that are important for defining the shape that would bug me too much if left alone.  For me, this is just the hard corners and around small curves.  For everything else the grid is tight enough not to change the shape.

Now unhide you the part you are conforming to.  Copy the part and hide one of them.  Delete the faces that would be outside the text area to make it easier to work with, like in the picture.  Now just conform your text by going to Create -> Compound -> Conform with your text selected.  Change the Projection and Standoff to 0 and pick the object you are conforming to.  You may also need to select Along Vertex Normals if Use Active Viewport isn’t what you need.

Shelling the Text

Now just delete those extra planes, shell your text, and you are done! I shell 4mm in and out – the Outer is the part that you see outside the face, the Inner goes within the face and will make sure it prints together (you could merge it, but I find that is more trouble than it is worth). It should nicely follow the curve of the part it is attached to.

If you see weird spots, like that dark spot on the top of my second “a”, it probably means you have two vertices really close together. It won’t affect the print, but I’d go in an fix it just to be sure. It is easy, just select the vertices and weld them.

You can also use your text to cut into your model so it is indented instead of raised.

Add Anything Else

Now you can add anything else you need to your face. If you have a vector image, you can add it the same way you did the text. If you need make space for magnets, just model the magnet (probably just a cylinder to the proper size – just make sure it is a tiny bit bigger than the actually magnet would be) and use ProBoolean to cut it into the piece. Any latches can simply be made to collide with the piece.

That concludes this guide. If you made anything using this, let me know! I’d love to see it. And please feel free to ask me any questions! Happy creating :D!


  • Tricia says:

    Your dolls are beautiful! I am a 3D modeler as well, and I was wondering what program you use. I was thinking of modeling props/accessories for BJDs. Any advice you have would be most welcome :)

    • Samantha says:

      Thank you! I use 3D studio. If you ever have any specific questions, I’d be more than happy to help. I’ve pretty much just figured out how to do everything myself, so I am sure there are better ways of doing things than what I know about (I feel like I discover something new every other day).

  • Allie says:

    This is really cool! Your idea of putting the sculpt name and logo in the head is really innovative and a pleasant touch. This is so much nicer (to me) than putting the company logo on the head cap.

    • Samantha says:

      Thanks! :D I figured the most important part was the face so that should be the part with the logo. Having it built into the part instead of a decal won’t affect the cost which is important to me – I want to make the faces as affordable as possible.

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