Tradition + Technology

Character Model of She Ra

Character models are really cool sculptures - some of the coolest there are. Everyone has a favorite character from the movies or video games that we all get excited about. Seeing our favorite character larger-than-life, is an awesome experience. Booth magnets (cool displays in tradeshow booths) capture your attention. Imagine a booth magnet with a 10 foot tall model of Iron Man, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, the Hulk, Captain America, the Flash, Green Lantern, Catwoman, or Batgirl. People really enjoy the experience of seeing their favorite movie characters.

These characters can be just as exciting for those that enjoy playing video games. Think of those favorite video game characters as larger-than-life: Master Chief, Commander Shepherd, John Marston, Link, Mario, Solid Snake, Princess Peach Toadstool, Lara Croft, Gerald of Rivia, Cloud Strife, Duke Nukem, Pacman, Ganandorf, and many, many more. They can bring-to-life a creature and it's surroundings, relive your favorite movie scene, attract visitors at a tradeshow, or create that magical environment you have always wanted to participate in. You are only limited by imagination.

Today's technologies are making more impressive next generation models. Combining tried-and-tested technologies of foam sculpting and cutting, along with new 3D printing capabilities and new electronics are allowing model makers to build some pretty awesome character models.

Character Model of Bumblebee Character Model of Anime Figure Character Model of a life sized hulk

Features and Benefits

  • Professional Creations – We have a team of designers, artists, model-makers, painters, air-brushers, sculptors, carpenters, and welders to fabricate that imaginative, immersive, and experiential foam sculpture.
  • No project is too large or too small, from a 2' small character to a large 20' tall behemoth. If you can design it, we can create a physical model of it.  If you can't design it, we have a team of design professionals who can.  We can work with preparing 3D models from scans, drawings, photos, and even napkins.
  • Details can be as small as 16 microns (via 3D printing) - that is as small as 1/6th the size of a human hair.
  • Technologies include Foam Fabrication, Hot Wiring, CNC Cutting, Laser Cutting, Welding, and 6 different 3D Printing technologies for rapid prototyping or production models.
  • Portability and/or mobility may be an issue, especially with trade show displays.  We have the team that can create your trade show foam sculptures including custom electronics, lighting, and sound.
  • Foam sculpting may use other techniques including epoxy clay sculpting, molds, and 3D printing to develop the best sculpture.
Character Model of a life size Spiderman Character Model of a skeleton for Dia de los Muertos

Technology and Materials

Character Model of a T Rex head Character Model of Greek statues Character Model of a snake on a pillar Character Model of a horse statue
Today's technologies are making more impressive next generation dioramas.  Combining tried-and-tested traditional model-making with new 3D printing, 3D CNCing, 3D cutting, 3D digital, and new electronics capabilities are allowing model makers to build some really awesome dioramas.
  • Professional Creations — We have a team of designers, artists, model-makers, painters, air-brushers, electricians, sculptors, carpenters, taxidermists, and welders to fabricate that imaginative, immersive, and experiential 3D diorama model.
  • No project is too large or too small, from a 2' small diorama topography to a large 50' museum diorama. If you can design it, we can create a physical diorama of it.  If you can't design it, we have a team of design professionals who can.  We can work with preparing 3D dioramas from scans, drawings, photos, and even napkins.
  • Technologies include Foam Fabrication, Hot Wiring, CNC Cutting, Laser Cutting, Welding, and 6 different 3D Printing technologies for rapid prototyping or production models.
  • Foam themed models, foam letters, foam architectural Models, foam props, and foam sculptures can all be used to help expand what you are trying to build with foam fabrication.
  • Did we mention, we have 60,000 square feet of production facilities in Utah, including the largest capacity of full-color 3D printing in the world.
  • Portability and/or mobility may be an issue, especially with trade show displays. We have the team that can create your character models including custom electronics, lighting, and sound.
  • Our in-house spray booth gives us flexibility in different types and grades of paint and finishing capabilities.

Pricing

The cost of character models is based on the volume of materials (size of the model), type of materials, the time it takes to create the 3D design, production labor, and installation time and materials, as well as other specific elements unique to the project. Each model is bid individually and the best way to determine cost is to contact us and let us bid your project.

Get a Quick Estimate

Workflow

Whiteclouds character-model creation workflow

Common Questions

Character Model of a life size dolphin Character Model of a bull Character Model of an owl Character Model of a raccoon with a candybar Model of a character from the video game Dota 2

What file type is required to make a character model?

We work with all architectural CAD programs including AutoCAD, Revit, Chief Architect, ArchiCAD, Maya, 3DS Max Design, Zbrush, and Sketchup, just to name a few.  If you design in 3D, we will start with your 3D files.  If you have 2D blueprints and elevations, or artist's sketches, we can build a diorama from these files as well. If all you have is an idea or a napkin drawing, we can start with that.

What technology do you use for character models?

It can be a number of different technologies, individually or combined. These range from 3D Foam, 3D printing, CNC Cutting, laser cutting, laser etching, casting, molding, sculpting, painting, airbrushing, laminating, vinyl printing, and woodworking - all meant to produce highly engaging characters that fit your exact needs.

What is the material used?

We match the correct material and fabrication process to your requirements in terms of presentation, size, and transportabilty. We fabricate in our model shop using different types of foam, wood, metal, resins, and acrylics. We can also 3D print in full-color sandstone, UV-cured resin, plastic, rubber-like, acrylic, and nylon.

What is the largest character model you can make?

There is no limit to the size of model. Transportability will be your only concern on an extremely large character model.

What is the turnaround time for a character model?

This depends on the features of the model itself as well as the scale of the model. We usually ask for six to eight weeks from the time we take the order to when you will receive the model. large projects can be four to six months or longer. We understand that sometimes deadlines are tight and we can accommodate rush orders.

What features can a character model have?

Besides the physical 3D character model with the proper color and appearance, you can elect to ask for special lighting, sound, and movement.

If I want a second character model is it cheaper?

Our pricing is based on the fabrication costs and the time it takes to prepare your design. The second model is less in pricing because the design portion is complete.

Do you have a question we didn‘t answer? Don't hesitate to contact us at 1-385-206-8700 or sales@whiteclouds.com.

Worldwide Delivery

WhiteClouds has delivered models around the world.

Steps in Creating a Character Model

Model of a Cyberpunk Character's hand
Character Model of a Giraffe

There are many steps in creating a high-quality character model and each model is different. We will cover four general steps at a very high-level.

  1. Choosing the correct fabrication medium: Most of our character models are created using foam or 3D printing or a combination. When working with foam, we typically use polystyrene foam, specifically EPS or expanded polystyrene foam. Polystyrene foam comes in common densities ranging from 1 lb to 3 lb. 2 lb density works really well for the best compromise in affordability (lower density is cheapest), ease of use (lower density is easier to cut and manipulate), and durability (higher density allows you to carve finer details). When working with 3D printing, we typically use PLA to keep the costs down. If we need extreme detail, we will use UV-cured resins. If the model needs strong color capabilities, we will use sandstone printing.
  2. If we use foam: Most sculptors draw a grid system on the foam before starting the sculpting process. This grid system can be done a number of different ways - free-hand drawing, using a maquette (scale model) as a guide, printing scaled up gridlines from a 3D desing and applying them to the foam, or projecting a lighted image from a 3D design of a model onto the foam and then tracing the model. Once you are ready to begin sculpting, the Polystyrene foam can be cut with a heated wire (except cutting through glued pieces), cut with a band saw, carved on a CNC Cutter, or can be scuplted with larger electric chain saws for the heavy cutting. Then you can do finer sculpting and sanding with the use of many different typse of small hand tools such as "Dremel" tools, die grinders, electric knifes, handsaws, snap-blade knives, rasps, surforms, and many others.
  3. Applying texture to the model: You can glue smaller pieces of foam (that were easier to duplicate or carve as a stand-alone) or 3D Printed objects onto the existing model. You can also add acrylic monomer, for example to emulate wrinkled skin. Another option is using epoxy clay which allows you to add/carve extreme detail into a foam model that would have been very difficult directly carving into foam.
  4. Finish work: There are a lot of methods to finish off the project depending on a number of factors related to project requirements, such as final durability, weather-proofing, temperature, mobility, strength, and flexibility. Typically, you need to seal the surface and apply protective coatings. These finishes may be combinations of painting, air-brushing, flat-to-glossy finishes, natural environment finishes, soft-shell and hard-shell coatings, sealers and glassing. These can be from latex, acrylic, urathane, polyurea, eplison, styrospray, polyurethane, and many others.

Another option is to just specify to WhiteClouds what you would like done and we would be glad to do it for you.