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Great Horned Owl

by bennettklein Mar 12, 2019
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Great Model Bennettklein,, Thank you for uploading!! I want to try this one out for sure.!!

I really like the detail in this model. Especially being a Mechanical Engineer I can see looking at the detail and the resulting model I've imported into my slicer the surface quality compared to many files is excellent. Unfortunately many files I download have very poor quality level this is not one.

I have one question, looking at how it is in the 2 side by side pictures I see one model raw as printed and the other (I assume) painted.
I would really really like to be able to paint my model like this, keeping in mind I've never painted a model in my life, I'd be grateful if someone had time to post some reasonably detailed instructions, like I said instructions for someone starting from scratch. What paints, brushes, the whole process basically would be good to get a step by step instruction to be able to achieve the same result as the painted version on the left which is fantastic. I appreciate that this sort of detailed instruction I'm asking for takes time to write but I would be grateful. Even better still - is there a tutorial video explaining the steps of how to achieve this - that would be truly awesome?

Keeping in mind for anyone who says; just watch a few videos on Youtube doesn't help me, I appreciate your good intentions but I need, want just straight forward step by step instructions or a video to understand the process to paint my model like this one.

Many thanks in advance.


Hi TetraGrammatronCeric.

I learned to paint by watching a few Youtube videos and then actually trying it myself.. You learn by doing.. Give it a try and build from there.. I found I got better very quickly!

Thanks for the encouragement steven.
I'll certainly give a go at some point though i'm a little overloaded with work and family obligations at present. I have looked at many youtube videos, probably too many and got a little information overload ;-) but seriously. I would be curious to know if you found some more helpful than others? Would you have some recommendations to point me in the right direction?

TGC :)

As a fellow engineer, I feel your pain buddy. Really, the best thing to do is just paint. Buy some cheap acrylics and brushes from Micheal's and go to town. Having a 3d printer gives you essentially an infinite amount of practice material. I practice on my failed prints and scraps, or sometimes I just go on a print and see now it comes out.

Here's my basic, starting from the beginning, all your creativity is gone due to being an engineer, tips:

  • use primer. Rattle can works fine, I use Rust-o-leum. Acrylics don't like sticking to PLA.
  • thin out your paints. If you go acrylic, just add some water until it is slightly thicker than water. Apply even, consistent layers. Many coats. Don't be alarmed if you're getting into the realm of 7 or 8 coats. The thinner the paint, the more consistent and better results. This means more coats. Also, wait until it's fully dried in between coats. Acrylics dry fast, especially if thinned.
  • find the color most common on the subject and spray paint it that color. This does two things: applies a primer (see above), and saves you a ton of time painting. This owl is pretty complicated, so I'd probably just do grey primer and start fresh. But I'm painting a bob-omb right now. I rattle canned the whole thing black, and added colors on top of it. Saved HOURS of time.

Thanks Intrinsicness, great advice!!

It all depends what type of painting you are interested in.. I was interested in Portraiture and Still Life painting.. So what ever subject interests you just search based on that and most importantly try it.. It's all pie in the sky until you do it yourself.. Best of luck and take your time.. Something like painting does take time and effort and you don't get good until you have failed first.. expect that that.. When I do a painting it does not start looking good until about 13 hours in.. then the magic happens.. Start with beginner tutorials.. Colour theory and buying basic paint supplies.. try painting an apple..

Great advice Steven, thanks for the insight!

Hey T,
this particular image is digitally painted, although I more often hand paint my models (see others in my collection)
The result here is easily 25% better then my best attempt at hand painting, so please don't hold yourself to that standard :)
I will post some details about tools and techniques when I have some time. My first question would be "Do you have any painting experience of any kind? ie; even flat 2d art?


Thanks for the reply.
I see what you mean about 25% better than hand painted models, it is very precise but very nice still ;-)
I would have to be honest and say I have 0 skills and have never attempted any painting like this before but wanted to use this as a basis to develop some much needed skills. Sadly no painting skills mostly Mechanical Design for the last 30yrs :) :-D but really like what I can create with the 3D Printer but see that I can really enhance my prints via post processing techniques especially painting.
So any help, tips n tricks you find to give would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.

PS if you need any Mech Design ideas or tips feel free to ask :-)

Hey T
Are you interested in the arts and crafts, hands on experience of painting,? or are you simply interested in adding colour to your models?
The reason I ask is because there are programs that will allow you to digitally paint on the 3d model and print that out as many times as you want.
i will post tips soon if you are committed (as i am) to the craft of real painting :)

Hi BK,

Oh I'm definitely interested in the 'real' craft of painting not the digital version. I'd just the satisfaction of doing something so nice myself though I realise it takes time to develop skills. Something I'm all too familiar with being an Engineer, it just doesn't come overnight ;-) as much as I'd like. So if you have time and the patience I'd like to try and follow any tips and suggestions you would be kind enough to give to 'walk me though' the process. I am sure like any skill it takes time to master and get the foundation (the basics) down before you can advance but I'd like to try.

Thanks again.


sounds great, we are of the same mindset :)