Full Color Sandstone and Multi-Color Polyjet are materials at Shapeways that support color information in your models. There are two ways to apply color: as a "per face" material (vertex coloring), or as a UV texture map.
For figurines it's often better to use texture files rather than UV coloring, this way you can provide a high resolution texture while keeping a relatively low polygon shape. For smaller and simple objects, vertex coloring would be the easiest to use.
Uploading a file with texture maps requires a few steps.
- Design your model as you would normally do and apply either vertex coloring or textures.
- Export your model to VRML97 or X3D.
- Create a .zip archive of the exported model, and all the texture map images, make sure all are in the root of the Zip file.
- Upload the Zip file.
Below a more in depth explanation on these steps.
Step 1: Creating a texture map
Create a UV texture map in your 3D application. As this is wildly different for each application, I won't go into details here. I'll just list the restrictions that you have to keep in mind:
- Shapeways only supports UV textures, no other texture projections.
- You can only use bitmap textures (no 'procedural' shaders').
- Texture files must be in JPG, PNG or GIF format.
- You can use more than one texture map on your object, but the maps are not allowed to overlap – the printer cannot figure out which texture to print in that case.
- The last limitation is the resolution of your texture – we can only support up to 2048x2048 pixels
Step 2: Export your model to VRML97 or X3D
Most applications support VRML97 (also called VRML 2.0 / .WRL). Some may already support the successor to VRML: X3D. You can use both, but please make sure you don't export to VRML 1.0!
While each 3D package will have a different method of exporting .WRL, make sure that your exported file does not use a prefix for its texture.
(picture taken in 3ds Max with Prefix unchecked).
With prefix included, your file will be searching for the textures at a specific location such as
"C:/program files/3d model/texture.jpg"
Which is, as expected, a location that Shapeways is not able to access.
Step 3: Create a .zip archive of the exported model and texture maps
Next, you'll need to pack the VRML or X3D file and the texture maps into one .zip file. Make sure that the zip file only contains the files, and no folders.
Step 4: Upload the model
Uploading the zipped archive is identical to uploading a regular model file.
That's it! You have now uploaded a fully textured color model.
Your uploaded 3D model shows up with colors/textures:
If your model shows up in black or without any colors, please reach out to Customer Service for more information and troubleshooting.
The textures don't display, or I get an 'xxx' error.
A number of problems can cause this:
- The images aren't included in the uploaded archive.
- The images ARE included in the archive, but you zipped a folder instead of the individual files (this is the most common issue).
- You DID include the textures correctly, but the filenames are subtly different from the definition in the VRML97 or X3D file: Windows is not case-sensitive which means that it treats 'mymap.jpg' and 'MyMap.jpg' as the same files. Our servers are case sensitive – they require the file names to match exactly. In order to check this, open the VRML97 or X3D file in a text editor and search for your texture file name to make sure they match.