Tutorial
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Jan 22, 2024

How to voxelize your character / object

By reading this tutorial, I can help you create a well-voxelized object without any errors

Premise

If you want to voxelize an object but don’t know how to do it, you might try using cubes, a process that is too tedious. Using MagicaVoxel can save you a lot of time. By reading this tutorial, I can help you create a well-voxelized object without any errors.

If your intention is to import a character created in another program into VoxEdit to be added to The Sandbox, then this tutorial is not suitable for you. The characters inside the The Sandbox have a lower resolution, and you may likely lose all the details of the shape.

The mission

Today, in this tutorial, I will show you how to transform your object into a voxel (similar to pixel art but in 3D). This voxelized object will be added to a videogame in the future to represent a famous sculpture in a museum. As you can see in these pictures, we are going to transform this base mesh of a man into a voxel sculpture. I believe it is a atraightforward process to achieve the result, but it is crucial to create a well-voxelized object.

Here you can see the base mesh that we use to transform in a voxelised character
And here you can see the character voxelized after follow the tutorial

Resources

  • MagicaVoxel.
  • Downloable file.

Tutorial

Import

First of all, we need import your object to MagicaVoxel. To do this, it’s crucial to import it in a specific format, wavefront (.obj). If you try to import an fbx. you won’t be able to do so. Other accepted formats, although less common, include .xraw, .qb and .ply.

Use the correct size

Here you can see three different sizes, as you can see, the detail is lost if it is smaller                                                                                                                                                                                              

Once you have your file in the correct format, you just need to drag the file into the program. However, there is a problem. You should create a template with the correct size. If you drag the file without creating a template, your file will have a maximum size of 40X40X40 voxels. I recommend importing at a maximum size of 256X256X256 voxels to achieve the highest resolution.

If you don't know how to create a new template, you must press “tab” to switch between “Model” and “World”. When you are in “World”, you can find a cross (+), or you can press “Ctrl+ N” to do it faster. On your right, you will find a cell where you can edit the template size.

Fill your object

Here you can see inside the base mesh before press "flood"

Once your object is inside the project, it will be empty. You should fill the object because these voxels are cubes, and there are faces inside the object. To fix this, just press a buttom inside “Modify” called “Flood”.

(If you use this file for printing, you don’t need to do this step if you want it to be empty inside).

If you don't know exactly where the Modify option is, you can find it by simply pressing the tab key to enter the “Model” mode, and on your right, you can locate it inside the edit window.

Press "flood" to fill the object
Here you can see inside the base mesh after press "flood"                                                                                                                                                

Paint

Now you can paint the object with pixel art style. When you are done, you can export it to other software like Blender, and you will retain the textures. Also, when you export your obj. file, it extracts the palette used, which is useful to use in other objects that use the same palette.

This is the base mesh voxelized and textured

Extra

ArtToy from VuitBits voxelized (this is an example about some print you can do, this not mean that this artwork was made it by this process)

We have now completed the tutorial, but I will show you some examples of others things to demonstrate that this process can be applied to anything, from a hard surface to an organic file. As you can see in these images, you can use this tutorial for different purposes, from creating 3D objects to producing 3D printed figures.

Panzer Tank voxelized
Tree voxelized

Conclusion

After follow this tutorial, you can now create anything in voxel art from any software. It’s a good way to craft intricate shapes in voxel art. As you can see, it’s a simple process that can be done in less than five minutes. I often use this process to create objects for Christmas, which I print as personalized gifts.

Magica Voxel
The Sandbox
voxel
PJ Martínez
Lead Environmental Artist
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