How to 3D Print Your Dota2 Hero (In Color)

[Edit: print poses and items!]



Faceless Void

I recently 3D printed a Faceless Void in color. It came out super nice. I have a mini-tutorial for 3D printing non-colored DOTA heroes, but someone asked me how to print the colored version.

Here you go!

  1. Like before, download your favorite Hero from Valve’s DOTA2 workshop. Heroes that would not be too good for printing are those with thin components (like, Death Prophet’s trailing scarf) or those with clear alpha-mapped areas (like, Naga Siren’s earlobes). Thin components are not printable, unless manually scaled up. The alpha-mapped areas will just print black. My Faceless Void actually has a bit of alpha-mapped areas on the bottom of his loin cloth, but I figured he’d be ok.

  2. I used Sculpteo to handle my 3D printing. Once I packaged my model, I handled to them, and a few weeks later, they shipped me a tiny Faceless Void. With Sculpteo, shipping is $6 when the order is over $50. They usually print super fast (almost 3-day turnaround) so my delay was probably a special case. My Faceless Void cost about $18, and measured 1.9 x 2.1 x 1.1 inches (price scales with size). There’s a slew of other services available, as well as the possibility of using an at-home 3D printer, but I really like Sculpteo.

Sculpteo model

  1. To get everything Sculpteo ready, the model needs to be packaged in a zip file. The model needs to be in an OBJ format, along with a MTL file, and the texture files. The OBJ will dictate the 3D shape of the model. It can be used by itself to print (like what I did with my Mini-Furion). The textures (Valve provides them as TGA files) will dictate the colors of the model. The MTL file will tell Sculpteo what parts are colored what.


  1. After downloading the Hero and unzipping the model files, there’ll be two folders. One is materialsrc, which will contain the materials. The other is models, which will contain the 3D models.
    Go into the materialsrc, and find _color TGA’s for each component. Copy those files to a new folder. These will be the color of the printed Hero.

all TGAs

  1. To get the OBJ and MTL files, open up 3ds Max 2013. If Valve provides an OBJ, it’s not really possible to use it since the MTL files produced will be incorrect (the texture mappings are wrong). Instead, find the fbx files in the models folder. Each fbx file will contain a component of the Hero.

  1. For each one of those fbx files, select the solid-looking mesh and export the selected as an OBJ. The wire structures are bones, used for animating the Hero, and can be ignored. Create a new scene after each export to clear the screen.

export mesh

  1. Once all the components are exported as an OBJ, import all of the OBJs into a single scene. They should be all positioned correctly to form the hero.

  2. Press M to texture the hero. Click on a white sphere, and click on the box next to Diffuse. This will bring up the Material/Map Browser. Clicking on Bitmap, and browse for one of the TGA textures. Drag and drop that texture on to the corresponding component to color the Hero. Hopefully all the mapping are correct and the Hero will look like it popped right out of DOTA2.

press M

Sometimes the mapping isn’t correct and it’s a pain to fix (like Faceless Void’s mace).

wrong colors

  1. Once everything is texture, select the components you want to print and export them as an OBJ. Make sure “Export materials” and “Create mat-library” is checked. Click the Map-Export button and it will tell you where the final MTL file will be created.


  1. Gather the final OBJ, the MTL, and the TGAs into a zip file and upload onto Sculpteo. Sculpteo is super nice in that it allows you to scale, and gives you a price quote. Be sure to check for solidity, which will tell you what areas are too thin / easy to break. When you’re ready, choose multicolor as the material, select your size, and add to cart.


Good luck!

  1. keith said:

    Hi there, I really like that you are sharing here. Will it be possible if I can contact you via email on how your 3d printing is done? I would love to get them done too.

    • Jenny said:

      Sure thing! I’m happy to help.

  2. wigger said:

    Please tell me the name of the 3d-program. Me and my frind from Denmar

    • Jenny said:

      I used 3ds Max but anything that opens FBX files and export them to OBJ should work.

  3. aphocus said:

    Not sure if this is possible but maybe theres a plugin or something to turn the normals in to real geometry, the ingame model is rather low poly (for performance reasons) and it kinda shows on the final result.

    • aphocus said:

      using a subsurf modifier (Blender I’m using) with Catmull-Clark setting makes the model noticeably more smooth (without doing any tricky normal to geometry conversion)

      Also try out the program StudioDecompiler (search mdl decompiler) to decompile the in-game models so you get the animations this will allow you to use the default poses (you’ll have to figure out how to import smds) this will allow you to add the weapon with ease (e.g.

      • Jenny said:

        How does the smoothing affect the texture mapping? ‘Cause if it doesn’t, that’s super cool.

        Oh snap! I knew you could get in-game items with StudioCompiler but didn’t know you could get animations with them too. I usually posed via importing all items and moving the rigged joints but this is sweet. Also, to get smds into Max 2013, I used Wall Worm.

      • aphocus said:

        Smoothing seems to not effect mapping (in blender at least), in blender I imported the idle.smd for the animation the smd tool I used to import, linked the animation to the model automatically (but was working with smds in general no other model formats were used)

  4. oromis said:

    Is it possible to use the cosmetic items for the model? Like for Wr the bow, the cape, the hood and stuff? And would it be possible to add a weapon?

    • Jenny said:

      Yup, it is! You can even print couriers what not (and also other stuff from other games)! It’s a little trickier since you have to unpack the files. The gist is, position everything you’d like into one file, make sure the textures are correct, and check for thinness for printing. You can even custom re-texture (like make Axe have a tattoo that says Happy Birthday) or custom make custom objects.

      Here’s how to unpack steam files for game objects.

  5. Andy said:

    Hey! I’ve been super intrigued in this for a while and your post sort of gave me the motivation to pull out Maya and pose and modify model of Furion for printing (I had to extrude his cape and such a bit to add thickness). Thing is the solidity check at Sculpteo worries me a lot and to be frank I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d turn out to be fragile as all hell with his horns, staff and cape.

    Since I have no experience with 3D printing whatsoever would you think that this here: is too fragile to try (Funnily enough, the back of his cape seems to be unaffected which just adds to my confusion)? Judging by this check I already assume I’ll have to live with not having a little Furion on my desk.

    Thanks for the informative post though, this was a great inspiration.

    • Jenny said:

      Glad this inspired you! ^____^

      I actually printed Furion in white plastic a little while ago.

      He was surprisingly printable. I remember the only thing I had to do was scale up the staff and the support structures on the staff. (He’s also cheaper too, since being super structural, I could print a smaller version).

      That was in white plastic though. Sandstone/multicolor requires a bit more thickness to be able to print.

      The model is:
      3.8 x 5.8 x 2.2 cm

      I think the only thing to change would be to scale up the decorations on his cape, and maybe his beard. His cape itself looks fine.

      Looking at your images, I’m not entirely sure why Sculpteo thinks the cape is too thin. Maybe there are self-intersecting polygons and its algorithm is confused.

      I’d go with taking a fresh model, and only scaling up the staff and the decorations. If you don’t want to scratch your work, you can try to order it. Sculpteo’ll let you know if they can’t print it within a day or two.

      Good luck!

  6. skyven said:

    What do you think about polished plastic as a material? Your Furion has a kind of grainy surface. I’m thinking about possibility to 3d print a model and then hand-paint it with acryl paints. How do you think, is it possible?

    • Jenny said:

      I think it could be polished, though you might lose some details. Printing in a higher resolution material would be better than polishing. It would cost slightly more but look better. Shapeway’s Frosted Detail Plastic and Sculpteo’s White Resin would probably work for you.

  7. skyven said:

    Thank you, I’ll try that!

  8. Giorgio said:

    With Shadow Demon: “Design has fine details which might break, please check its solidity”.
    What can i do now?

    • Jenny said:

      Check the solidity check box and note which parts are red. They may be too thin to be printed. If there’s only a little bit of red, you can go ahead with printing. If not, you can scale those parts up individually.

  9. Lurosk said:

    Hi, I am making a Sven statue for my friend’s birthday but when I try and upload it the head image isn’t registered although it is in the .zip.

    • Jenny said:

      Do you mean the texture for the head? Make sure it’s assigned to the model, and in the correct format.

  10. Brayden said:

    Looking to do a shadow fiend for my friends birthday. i want to be in the ult form with the wings… can you help me out?

  11. Zeljko said:

    What 3d printers are you using for all of this ? Thanks !

  12. Ralph said:

    Hi, do you have a downloadable files for this? Where I can give it to a 3D printing service then after few hours. Its done? Thanks!

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