123D Catch

I digitized the clay model of the Tinker to start a path to bring this Steampunkable character into Second Life.  Shown below is the process I used:


  1. Using the iPhone app 123D Catch, I took 31 photos of the clay model I designed.  I started with a high angle and slowly moved around the model to take pictures in a circle till I completely shot from all sides (about 15 photos) and then went closer to ground level shooting around the model on a second pass.  Finally I used my last few photos (since it warned me when I was down to last 10 photos) to get some closeup detail shots.
  2. It took me about 3 tries to get this right.  The videos on Autodesk’s tutorials for the app are quite useful (http://www.123dapp.com/catch/learn).
  3. I switched from the iPhone version to open the saved render with the 123D Catch web version (http://apps.123dapp.com/catch), where I was able to isolate faces and peal away some of the base to isolate the 3D model.
  4. Next I exported out the model to OBJ format to use in other applications.  Autodesk warns you that OBJ export is normally only for premium members (which runs $99 per year), but they are letting you do them for free right now (but not sure how long that is for).
  5. I opened the model in Maya 2014 (the student version is free) and started to cleanup the geometry and fill in the holes.
  6. I dropped a corner insert picture into the screenshot to also show you the complexity of the 3D geometry.  It is very complex with 57, 392 triangles. I will try out a few things over the next week to see what cleans up geometry best.  Sculptris (which is free) has both reduced brush & reduce selected options for simplifying models — but I will need to watch things or I may lose too much detail.

Modeling The Tinker

Here is a photo of the digitized version in Maya.  Click here for full details on how I did this using AutoDesk 123D Catch.  Ironically, the digital version was made using technology on a timepiece device (smart phone).  You can see the color version of the 3D model on Autodesk 123D Catch at: http://www.123dapp.com/FullPreview/Index.cfm/ID/1623864 Note that it only took a few minutes after class to take the pictures for the digital version. Amazing what smart phones can do these days.

On July 31st, I worked with clay for the first time sculpting the character.  Shown below are image(s) as this development evolves from day to day with baking of the model expected to be done on Aug 4th and acyclic painting applied in the following week.


The first character being developed is “The Tinker” who likes to fiddle with and invent things.  He is more of an accidental inventor of sorts.  He has somehow been projected into a future world of Steam Center as he comes to realize through his exploration in the year 2525.  As he explores these strange lands, The Tinker will meet other Steampunkables characters in a land of Technology and Steampunk.

Initial Clay Model

The TInker on Day 1

The model is made with Super Sculpey, armature construction wire (1/8 and 1/16 gauge), and aluminum foil.  The Steampunk hat and goggles will be modeled separately and are shown in front of the clay model of “The Tinker.”  What is shown above took between 1-2 hours to model.  I will continue to share as I progress on modeling this throughout the week.

Character Study Bone Development

Development of “The TInker” starter with basic ink drawing and evolved with character bone development to flesh out the characteristics and expressions to get a deeper sense of this character.  That was over a period of about one and a half weeks.  Here is a final character sheet on the Tinker.

Fliesen The Tinker 2


My inspiration for the Tinker character comes in part from my Yorkshire Terrier named “Hershey”



4 thoughts on “123D Catch

  1. I looks good. I would bone and weight paint it, then make a pose to deform it back into a t-pose. I use blender, so am not sure of 3DS Max can do that. Then freeze the shape into the t-pose and reset the armature to the t-pose. This way you can use standard SL animations.

    • Thanks, I may try that. I have not done a mesh avatar in SL, but need his character for the November show. I’m relearning my way in Maya with 3D modeling at school next month. Hard part is figuring out the SL side of things as most of the students at the Art Institute are not familiar with SL.

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