Hola, been a while.

Last year we were lucky enough to work on a stop motion commercial for Sainsbury's in the UK that required lots of ZBrush work and a ton of technical modeling (Client Passion Pictures). It was an amazing project to work on but the thing I enjoyed the most was getting to create technically accurate ZBrush models that were output on a colour 3D printer. There was only one in the UK when we started and luckily by the summer we had found a print bureau that could handle the volume and the technical difficulties we faced (3DPrint Bureau)

All (c) Passion Pictures

Face replacements prepared for animation by Mackinnon and Saunders

Early tests getting some real SSS through this ears

From that job on I have had nothing but amazing results from the printer. It's not cheap and the colours are very hard to control so there's lots of printing colour plates and the one colour I always struggle with is Red. The print below was done by Central Scanning (UK) from a ZBrush speed sculpt and we didn't use UV's. As ZBrush can now spit out a VRML with colour its a dream come true.

We even managed to crack off some colour Halloween ZBrush sculpts this year

more here:

I starting using this ZModeler test plate. I scaled it to 1mm, 2mm, 3mm, 5mm, 8mm and 10mm depths and a set of UV's. I have a mono chrome gradient in photoshop and I throw required colours on a multiplied layer. When that's printed I can usually get an idea of the colour range and saturation I need to need achieve the look I want. I the go back and colour pick what I need. Very analog I know but I can't find a better way to test accurately. The depth idea really matters when you want to go thin on an area of the model. I usually lie the plate down on a lightbox and check from there. The colour only penetrates to a certain depth so it can make a big difference.

I'd love to hear any tips and track for printing on this or similar colour machines if anyone has any. The GrabCAD software to prepare it for printing is free so go grab it and take a look.