3D Character Models
We fabricate high-quality, custom 3D character models including small character maquettes and over-sized character models.
Table of Contents
3D Character Models + Technology
We help our customers create and design custom 3D character models. Character models are representations of characters such as comic book, video game, cartoon, movie, or marketing characters. Any existing character or imagined character can be created in our design studio to any scale. We also create dioramas, or 3D scenes, to support the characters.
Our character models are often employed at trade shows or other “in-person” type experiences. For example, imagine a life-sized 3D version of your company mascot at your booth to attract visitors and to showcase your brand. Large character models are also applicable to the entertainment industry. Large, lit, and interactive characters could help boost attention to movie, concert, venue, or theater events.
WhiteClouds utilizes advanced 3D printing technologies along with traditional artist, sculpting, and trade practices, such as foam sculpting and cutting, to create original, high-quality character models.
For an in-depth look at our process, read some of our case studies on projects. For example, a giant company mascot sculpture made out of foam, or a faux bronze mascot statue for a high school. We also have several case studies on 3D-printed statues like a museum statue in Hawaii, a massive replica of a toy based on MARVEL characters, or a life-size bobblehead.
Selected Projects Gallery
Features & Benefits of 3D Character Models
- Professional Creations – We have a team of designers, artists, model-makers, painters, air-brushers, sculptors, carpenters, and welders to fabricate imaginative, immersive, and experiential foam sculptures.
- No project is too large or small, from an 8″ small character to a 30′ tall behemoth. If you can design it, we can create it. If you can’t design it, we have a team of design professionals who can help you. We can work with preparing 3D models from scans, drawings, photos, or even napkin scribbles.
- 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 six 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 a team that can create transportable trade show foam sculptures with custom electronics, lighting, and sound.
- Foam sculpting may use other techniques including epoxy clay sculpting, molds, and 3D printing to develop the best sculpture.
Technology and Materials for Character Models
Today’s technologies are making more impressive next-generation models. Combining tried-and-tested traditional model-making with 3D printing, 3D CNCing, 3D cutting, 3D digital, and new electronics capabilities are allowing model makers to build accurate models.
- Professional Creations — We have a team of designers, artists, model-makers, painters, air-brushers, electricians, sculptors, carpenters and welders to fabricate that imaginative, immersive, and experiential 3D model.
- No project is too large or too small, from a 6 inch scale model to a large 50 foot 3D printed statue, 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 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, large letters, architectural models, 3D props, and 3D sculptures can all be used to help expand what you are trying to build with foam fabrication.
- 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. Some finishes include latex, acrylic, urethane, polyurea, epsilon, polyurethane, and many others.
Pricing of Custom 3D Character Models
The cost of character models is based on the volume of materials (size of the model), type of materials, production labor, and installation time, as well as other elements unique to the project. Each model is bid individually and the best way to determine cost is to email us, call us at 385-206-8700, or fill out the form below and let us bid on your project.
Get a Free Price Estimate for 3D Character Models
Custom Fabrication Workflow
Common Questions & Answers
- 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, metal cutting, welding and bending, 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 digital plastic, 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 take 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? In addition to 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 may cost less if the same design is used.
- How is the completed model shipped? Once your model is complete, we wrap it in foam and ship it in one or more custom-built crates via motor cargo. The crate can also be used to store your model or for transport between trade shows. Models generally arrive within 2 – 7 business days and to accomodate extremely large projects, we ship via oversize carriers. We have shipped projects of all sizes, including a 30-foot statue.
WhiteClouds has delivered models around the world.
Steps in Creating a 3D Character Model
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.
- 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 another material.
- 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 or printing scaled up gridlines from a 3D design and applying them to the foam. We can also project a lighted image from a 3D design of a model onto the foam and then trace 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 sculpted with larger electric chain saws for the heavy cutting. Then you can do finer sculpting and sanding with the use of many different types of small hand tools such as “Dremel” tools, die grinders, electric knifes, handsaws, snap-blade knives, rasps, surforms, and many others.
- 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.
- 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 a combination of painting, air-brushing, flat-to-glossy finishes, natural environment finishes, soft-shell and hard-shell coatings, sealers and glassing. We can even produce faux bronze statues. These can be from latex, acrylic, urethane, polyurea, eplison, styrospray, polyurethane, and many others.