Visual effects artist Karl Stiefvater takes us through the tools he used to build a 3D model of his home (SketchUp and its handy “Photo Match” function), apply the photo textures (Maya), and produce the X3D file Shapeways requires for full-color 3D printing (MeshLab). He also covers such useful, decidedly non-virtual details as how to seal the model to prevent the color from bleeding, how to treat the water to prevent algal growth, and how to assemble the snowglobe kit itself. [Thanks, Karl!]

Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.


  • Anonymous

    Legendary to this day for his utter lack of ethics during after hours bouts of Marathon, Karl’s model of the axe in “RIVEN; the Sequel to MYST” was nothing short of a revelation!  Mr. Stiefvater is (seriously) a certifiable genius!

  • Anonymous

    This only shows how creative and a talented genius Mr. Stiefvater is.