July 22, 2015 | By Kira

According to World of Warcraft mythology, when Arthas the Lich King awaked from a long sleep, he silenced his own heart, believing that anything that made him at all mortal made him weak. Sounds like a pretty badass guy, right? That’s probably why he is one of the most iconic Warcraft characters, and why 3D artist and Zbrush specialist Francesco Orrù decided to sculpt and 3D print his very own wearable Lich King helmet.

Orrù is a self-proclaimed fan of Blizzard games, and has played almost every version of Diablo, Warcraft and Starcraft since he was a child.  He even had to take a break from playing Warcraft while he was studying at the University of Bologna because it was so addictive, it was distracting him from his studies. “The gameplay is literally fantastic and fluid,” he told 3ders.org. “Taurens, Grunts, Kodo beasts, all amazing concept arts and unit design.”

Although his time is now divided between working full-time as a 3D character artist at MyMiniFactory, earning his Master’s degree in Computer Animation at Kingston University and playing Starcraft (which he now prefers due to its longevity and design), the 25-year-old nevertheless decided to undertake this project as a tribute to one of his favorite games ever. “I’m very passionate about creature design and music, so I’ve started to experiment and test my skills on some bigger projects recently,” he told us.

He began by modeling the helment entirely from scratch in Zbrush, starting from a dynamesh sphere and doing his best to reconstruct the fantastical shapes and details from the game and cinematic model. One challenge he encountered early on was the number of sharp edges along the sides and on the horns, as well as the small daemon face in the center of the helm, however using Zbrush he was able to make it as realistic as possible. Once he was satisfied with the secondary forms, he went through a Zremesh process to rebuilt the details and increase the number of the polygons with an overall better topology. In order to achieve the beat-up metallic texture of the helmet, he used alphas and metal textures to add some scratches to the surface. He also re-marked some parts with the Dam Standard brush “to increase the effect of the marks.”

Next up, Orrù sliced the model into 14 parts with the help of his colleague, Cemal Cetinkaya, and sent them to various 3D printers, including Replicator, Ultimaker, Dremel and Zortrax. In total, it took him four full days designing and rendering the helmet, and 90 hours to 3D print the parts.

Finally, all 14 parts were glued together and painted, with help and suggestions from MyMiniFactory’s lead prost-processing specialist Catherine Wood. “She helped me a lot during the paint suggesting me to retouch a few areas, giving a shadow effect after two layers of black and silver acrylic paint. The result I think went pretty well because I was able to show more the micro details generated in Zbrush with a few alphas and the metallic texture applied on it,” Orrù told 3ders.org.

The orginal Lich King design

The files for the impressive and intimidating helmet are available for download on MyMiniFactory, where you can also check out Orrù’s other designs, including this 3D printed guitar we covered a few weeks ago. Given his passion for what he calls the “complex but totally absorbing discipline” of 3D artistry and design, we hope to see more of this talented young artists’ work in the near future. “I love my job because everyday you can test and push yourself to the limit to do better things, in particular with 3D printing.”



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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