I will help you get print ready models from World of Warcraft in minutes, and all you have to do is download some free software to get started even if you do not have a Warcraft account. Fanart is a major part of the enjoyment people get from their favorite games, and reproducing game art is known as fan art that is accepted and encouraged at events like Blizzcon.
The process is pretty simple, and with instructions, you can set up and repair 3D models like a professional in no time.
Download Warcraft free trial if you do not already. Download WoW Model Viewer, it's free with no upgrades to buy. Download 3D Builder if you do not have it already, also free and no ads or upsells.
Once everything is installed, you are ready to get started. Open the Viewer first and answer yes to load WoW.
It will take some time to load the database, but once it is loaded, you will be on this screen.
There are a few ways to find models we will start with the search, go into the NPC models, and then importing Armory characters.
Method 1: Search
In the search box type in King and press enter and the viewer will locate all the models with King in the name. You will see a list in the left pane, highlighting and scrolling down will reveal each model. Not all models can be found this way.
Method 2: Lists
In the top menu, pull down View to View NPC or View Item and the lists of models will appear in the left pane.
Method 3: Players in MOG
In the top menu, pull down Character to Import Armory Character and paste in the URL of the Armory character. This is how you access models stored on the blizzard.com armory.
For this example, we will use Method 1.
Once you selected the model you want to export, you have more options. My first suggestion is to top the animation. Most models have animations, and above the play button is a pull down box to view even more animations for that model. This particular model has a lot of animations. Adjust the frame slider to see each frame of the animation to get the best possible pose.
Now you are ready to export the model. From the drop-down File menu, click Export Model and then select OBJ format. Remember where you saved the export. You are done with Model Viewer for now.
Repairing for printing
Go to the directory where you saved the export, and you should have an OBJ model, a .MTL material file, and a texture image file, but these files are not ready for print. The problem with the export is the game is very forgiving to displaying broken geometry, particle effects, missing joints, and more. 3D printers need a solid model, not broken geometry. Without this next step, it would be very hard to 3D print the export.
3D Builder is free and has the correct repair needed to fix your .OBJ export. 3D Builder is very powerful for being a free application, and best of all, it is threaded, making its functions quick to perform. Right-click on the .OBJ file and Open With 3D Builder, if 3D Builder is not on the list, you need to install 3D Builder.
At the top right click Import, and you will see something similar to the screenshot above. You will see a red box warning around your model and the warning window at the bottom right. Click that box, and you will see the repair running. It takes a minute but should complete.
Optional: After repair completes, you can hollow your model by selecting your model, pull down Edit from the menu and select hollow then select your wall thickness.
Bonus: At this time, you can open Task Manager to watch CPU and memory usage. In particular, watch all cores being utilized. 3D Builder will use all cores when you use the hollow function and very impressive performance from this feature.
Once you have done the above, you are ready to save and print. I would suggest saving in two formats. First would be what the printer would use, and that is .3MF format, and the other would be .OBJ or .WRL. With .STL, you would lose color, but it's still a good option for monochrome machines.
- If you open WoW before Viewer, the Viewer will not load.
- Stopping animation and picking the exact frame yields the best results.
- Many objects (swords, shields,...) in game can be found along with a lot of stuff not in game.
- Making costume pieces can be done this way.
- I own and run several industrial 3D printers, and this is the method I use to create Fan Art. I have done several pieces for Blizzcon and E3 conventions. I will write up more guides on extracting fan art from other games soon.