I am in a bit of a conundrum and I’m not very far off from pulling my hair out.
One of the things I do as an artist is make models for 3D printing. Most of the time my tasks are a snap. Between Blender, Photoshop, Zbrush, Netfabb and like TWENTY THOUSAND other programs, there is no shortage of tools at my disposal to aid in efficiently putting out good, printable 3D models. However, there is one extremely vexing problem I frequently encounter -hollowing out very complex models such as this: http://bobbie-the-jean.deviantart.com/art/Temp-post-2-415262765
There are MANY ways to hollow out simple models but for more complex models, things become more difficult. The methods I know of for hollowing out complex models frequently result in some rather irritating issues. Here are the problems that arise from the various methods of hollowing:
1.) Solidify modifier: This often results in messy, intersecting geometry, especially if the thickness is ramped up. It is entirely possible I’m just doing it wrong but when I try to use a solidify modifier, it ends up ballooning the geometry in strange ways. I also want a nice, uniform 3mm thickness.
2.) Extrude: I thought perhaps I could select all faces, extrude in, and BOOM! Done. I was always able to do this really easily in Maya but I absolutely cannot get it to work in Blender. I have no idea what I’m doing wrong. Another issue with this method is that Blender doesn’t like high poly counts.
3.) Piece by piece: I could build the internal thickness piece by piece but that would take FOREVER. When I say forever, I mean months. There are so many little nooks and crannies, maintaining a uniform thickness by hand would require A LOT of eyeballing, and generally, doing things like this by hand would be extremely inefficient.
Does anyone have any suggestions? I would really love an easy, efficient way to get a good, uniform thickness with as little intersecting geometry as possible, if there is a way, that is. I realize I’m probably not going to get a magical “easy-fix” solution but at this point, I’m just hoping there is something more efficient than doing it by hand.