Software Advise

I was hoping that I could ask for advise on which software I should get / learn… I am working with a company that would like to use the 3d printed objects to create sculptured casts for metal plaques. One example of the sculptured look that I would need to create would be the face of a pet, it would have a flat back but I would need to create a realistic face on the front, kind of like a sketch (I hope that my description makes sense). Would anyone have any suggestions on a good software to achieve this? thanks!!

I’d suggest SketchUp Pro. I use it and so does a designer for me. It has a lot of power at a reasonable price. But, it is mainly designed for architectural use, at least that’s where the biggest support of it is. Still it can be use for many other design work.
Sculptris is a 3D design package for more involved design work for things like figures and all. Price a bit higher and the learning curve is also higher.

I will check it out… I appreciate the feedback!

Are you talking about a RELIEF sculpture of a pet? ( with contours and shapes like those on a coin portrait?)

Or like an engraved Line image of the pet?

Sketchup will useless for doing relief sculptures… for that you will want something like zBrush or Mudbox.

For outlining photos and using those outlines to create an engraved surface, just about any competent modeling software will do- but it will have to have strong CAD tools… the ability to import images onto planes and to facilely draw splines over those images.

Avoid apps that draw curves with polylines ( a series of short, straight, line segments rather than an actual spline )

A coin is a great example of what I am looking to be able to do

Have you had a look at ArtCAM? It’s made for creating objects such as coins etc. and looks like it will export to STL.

zBrush is excellent at displaying the model and giving you a good sense of contour and depth… However- it has one of the most difficult and poorly designed user interfaces of any modeling app.
IF however- you are new to modeling… then it may seem no more difficult to learn than other apps with more traditional modeling interfaces.

zBrush is frustrating for those of us who have used several other modeling apps and have a certain expectation of how 3D space is dealt with. But for a newbie- even those apps will present a 6 month learning curve.

If you want something more powerful and versatile- go for Mudbox- and if you want to make a real career out of 3D modeling and design, Go for Modo- which can do everything zBrush can do, and whopping lot more, within an interface that allows you to do everything from product and architectural design, to creature and animation rigging, to world class rendering.

But whatever way you go… if you are new to this, expect the learning curve on any app to be several months.

I reviewed the ArtCam software and the “relief” creation appears to be exactly what i was looking for. Of course, they discontinued the software 3 months ago, and it is no longer available. Does zBrush, SketchUp Pro or Mudbox handle reliefs?

Wow! I can’t believe they’ve discontinued it!! Hopefully they’ll sell it to someone else to market and continue development. I’ve done a quick Google and the closest software I can find is ArtClip3D but I can’t find any mention of it being able to export to anything like STL that we can print from. Further Googling has revealed a script for Fusion360 that might do what you want. You’ll find an Instructable here: . I hope this helps.

ArtCam uses a fairly simple inflate trick to take shapes you draw and make them appear 3 Dimensional. Great for texturing areas, creating simple contours, and embossing or engraving text.

This is NOT the same as a portrait relief… Lots of apps have a Relief or Emboss feature that can emboss differential heights based upon different values of grey in an image.
In the online video showcasing the features, they show a fairly complex decoration being created, but kind of gloss over the carefully prepared graphic file they used that separated different depths into different shades of gray.

This kind of tool is GREAT for creating Lithophanes… but its NOT gonna look like a 3D sculptural relief of a face.

This is what a relief looks like

its shows the contours of the face and body, compressed in the Z dimension- this relief is only 2mm thick, but gives a convincing illusion of depth.

to do this kind of work you either need to start with a 3D scan or model of the head… and compress it in the Z dimension and fill any undercuts… or you have to have the kind of nuanced sculptural tools that are available in Mudbox- zBrush- Modo- Freeform and a handful of other apps out there.

Of these- zBrush is the most affordable.

But, once again- you just aren’t gonna get instant relief sculptures with any one click app. Its gonna take some artistic skill, or a means of attaining 3D data to start with

If all you want is to raise a texture that looks like a graphic image of the person… then just about any app with the ability to Embosss from Image will work.