Turning clay model to rhino

I made this clay model and I am curious what you guys think would be the best way to turn it into a 3d model…using curves, subD, or something else. Thanks so much!!

Hey Lmars,

Have you considered 3D Scanning it with a photogrammetry app (e.g. RealityCapture) or something?

Seems like it would save you a lot of time.


I haven’t had too much luck with 3D scanning, but maybe the apps have gotten better. I’ll give it a go! thank you @Artstep !

If you want a clean model, you need a good scanner and corresponding software to process the scan data. I’m using an Artec Leo with Artec Studio. What do you want to do with the model once it is scanned? How big is the clay model?

Yes, what is the intent? Do you want the the rough appearance or a smoother surface? Do you specifically need it to end up in Rhino for further modelling, or just get to any 3D model?

If you want the rough appearance and don’t specifically need Rhino then a voxel tool like 3D Coat or ZBrush would be a better bet.

Thank you both for your replies @martinsiegrist and @jeremy5.

As for the intent, the final should look something like the model–a little shakey and rough. I think I’ll just rough out the forms in Rhino and then end up going in by hand once it is cut.

I wish I still had access to a good 3D scanner…I used to work with an Einscan and that was quite helpful. The model is small about 18" x 10" and I’m planning to scale up to about 4ft. I was thinking to cut it on a CNC, but I have limited access to a machine currently. It may be best to simply extract profiles and rough thicknesses and do most of the process by hand.

I’ve been playing around in Mudbox a bit and it’s seems like it could be helpful for some of these projects…I’m just trying to navigate what should be done on the computer vs. by hand. I appreciate all of your feedback!!

This would be within the bounds of SubD modeling I think. You need to be careful about adding too much detail too quickly, but this is totally the kind of thing effects artists do. I’ve done several large-scale art installations where I made a NURBS model off a scan(because the client’s engineering software couldn’t read them)that was kind of a blank that would be cut out of foam and hand finished…you could get a lot closer with subd.

There are people around these days with huge 3D printers that could do a 4ft sculpture.

Hi @JimCarruthers ,

thanks so much! I’ll give the SubD a go.