Creating STL’s of characters

I am not well versed in cad yet and I had a coworker ask if I could make a 3D print of his sons game character for a Christmas present. Aren’t there companies that one could send the pic/file to to make the STL and then I could print it? TIA


Um, by “game character”, are you asking about a character that the son created himself from scratch (as for a tabletop RPG)? A predesigned character provided by a game (some video games)? Or an original character assembled using game assets (other video games)?

If the son designed the character from scratch, I would poke around on the major 3D sites (Thingiverse, Cults, MyMiniFactory, whatever) and see if you can find someone who’s posted similar works, then see if they’re open to commissions. Many of them will be, although it may be more expensive than you think.

If it’s a predesigned character, you could theoretically end up with legal issues. You are unlikely to get sued for printing an already-created fan figurine (search the sites listed above to see if there are any), but do not under any circumstances try to hire this out.

A character assembled from assets is a grey area. If this is what you’re dealing with, read the fine print of the game’s EULA before you agree to anything, and see if it’s more like an original character or a predesigned character from the point of view of the game’s copyright holders.

Thank you for your explanation. I feel like he said fortnite or something but I understand that it is a completely customized character. Likely base features but then outfitted with things won/bought within the game. It just seems like I had seen sites advertising this very service at one point but I have been unable to find them so far. Figured I’d enlist you guys as you always seem to come through

Totally depends on the game, the more popular, the more likely you can find instructions or services to do this for you.

For World of Warcraft this is super common and relatively straightforward with some freeware tools:

As long as the game has a screen where you can evenly rotate around your character with an evenly coloured background, you could also use capture lots of screenshots and then let a photogrammetry software run over it.

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I actually did that recently but spend >100h in fixing the mesh with Blender for proper 3D printing. Well, that depends on the actual model, but it’s definitely not just some simple export and print. The requirements on a 3D model differ quite a bit whether these are for printing or just showing. You cannot print an object with virtually no thickness. But you can display it quite well and it reduces your hardware requirements.

If it’s about basic meshing issues (e.g. manifoldness, duplicity, holes, etc.) you can automate the 3dp-preparation very effectively (online: Free online stl repair tool or offline: with turnaround times of minutes not hours.

If you want to truly remodel, like turning parts that are solved with coloured textures in games (e.g. chainmail jackets) into actually detailed surfaces (torso covered in hundreds of actual little chainmail links), you can spend weeks if not months on a single model. Then again, does your 3d printer even handle small details well enough?