Cuttlefish® 3D printer driver
Miniature figures of characters from popular fantasy tabletop games, such as Dungeons and Dragons, are highly collectible and often proudly presented in fans’ homes. There is particular interest in rare or unique figurines that have been personalized or fully custom-configured in line with the purchaser’s preferences. This service is provided by 3D printing specialists such as Marketiger, based in the Netherlands. Using Cuttlefish®, a universal 3D printer driver developed by Fraunhofer IGD, the company is able to turn the images created on-screen into finished products, recreating every nuance in shape and color. The driver converts 3D models and 3D scans generated by design and texturing software into data understood by 3D printers from a variety of manufacturers, such as Mimaki and Stratasys. No matter what the brand of hardware, Cuttlefish® delivers consistent color values, can process translucent designs, and ensures geometric precision. Additionally, the solution can work with multiple printing materials simultaneously to precisely replicate the geometry, colors and even the color transitions of the original template.
Cuttlefish® supports RGBA textures, including information on both color and translucency—from fully opaque to completely transparent. This makes it possible to print partially or fully transparent materials, or to combine them. The driver enables the printing of multiple overlapping models, each with one or more RGBA textures. Furthermore, Cuttlefish® takes into account an object’s light dispersion, and the change in color and texture created by varying light incidence. This opens up new possibilities for users in manufacturing and healthcare: Simply adjusting the RGBA data can produce a transparent version of a given model. RGBA-based 3D models are supported by 3D file formats and the majority of design and texturing tools. Leading image-editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop also process RGBA textures. With these capabilities, Cuttlefish® is a powerful and universal tool for professional 3D printing, closing the gap in quality between virtual designs and their physical reproduction. As a result, people’s favorite fantasy heroes do not just look good on-screen, but also in the form of figurines.