Minimaker is a Windows and Mac application for creating and posing characters for 3D printers. It allows customisation of a high quality, animated 3D character, fine manipulation of the limbs and interactive texture painting before exporting as a 3D printable file.
A version of Minimaker with a boy character was also developed after I moved on to another project, and several others were at the discussion and planning phases, including cars and spaceships in place of the character.
This project went through several early iterations before settling on an iPad-style swipe user interface and a Manga-inspired character design.
I lead the development on this project, with another programmer and two artists. My main roles were to develop systems for:
- Swapping the character components.
- Handling the character pose animation and blending it with an idle animation* and user-defined adjustments.
- Rotating the character’s limbs around individual axes while keeping within joint restrictions.
- The user interface.
- Loading and saving of characters.
- The initial working version of exporting the character as an OBJ file for 3D printing. This was later handed over to another developer for optimisation and porting to an STL file version.
*The character initially had a breathing and idling animation that was intended to bring it to life while it was being customised. However, this was removed late in development as it detracted from the feel of a 3D printed figure.
The technical challenges I faced included:
- Posing the character’s limbs using rotation handles and applying physical constraints.
- Blending the character between the animation pose and the user-defined pose.
- Physics raycasting of a very high polygon rigged character to detect mouse clicks for selecting body parts.
On this project, I used the following technology:
- Unity 5.3 using C# scripting.
- Source control was handled using BitBucket, SourceTree and Mercurial.
- 3D prints were tested using Cura and an Ultimaker II printer.
- Product Sheet (PDF)