How to Convert 3D Models into Voxels using Qubicle

NOTE: The Qubicle voxel editor is now Deprecated. This post is provided for legacy information.
We highly recommend that you build your voxel art using Mega Voxels Play.
In this Qubicle tutorial you will learn how to convert your own 3D models into voxels so that you can edit them using the Qubicle editor!

For MagicaVoxel users check out How to use MagicaVoxel to Convert 3D models into Voxels.

Are you ready to turn a 3D model into a voxel model? When making voxel models, sometimes its faster and easier to convert an existing 3D model into a voxel model instead of starting from scratch. Fortunately, Qubicle has this fantastic tool called a "Voxelizer" that can translate a traditional 3D model into a matrix with voxels, that you can then edit or export from inside Qubicle.

Getting Started

Before we begin there are a few things to understand about the Voxelizer. First, it only accepts .OBJ files. So if your model is .FBX or .DAE you will first have to convert that into an .OBJ file. The nice thing is that Maya and Blender both have options to export a model as .OBJ. The other thing to note is that Qubicle also allows you to import a texture with the model. However it only supports traditional image formats. This includes .JPG and .PNG. Qubicle will throw an error if you try to import another type of file format such as a Photoshop .PSD file. One last thing is that it is recommended to combine your meshes into a single one before importing it into Qubicle. Although this isn't a hard rule, objects might dissappear if they aren't combined.
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How to use the Voxelizer

In this tutorial we will be getting an OBJ model we made and importing it into Qubicle so that we can convert it into a voxel model.

Before we get any further there are a few quick notes. We are using Qubicle 3.0 so if you have an older version you may want to update it so your screens match mine. Also, the model that I'm using in the example below was made in Maya LT. Maya LT is a lightweight version of Maya, a 3D modeling program, that provides the most common tools used by Indie Game Developers. The important part here though is that it supports exporting .OBJ models with textures which is exactly what Qubicle needs to convert a model into a voxel model. However, if you don't own Maya LT you can also download Blender, a free open-source 3D modeling program. Blender also supports exporting models in the .OBJ format.

So go ahead and fire up Qubicle. On the welcome screen go ahead and click the "+" button so that we can create a new model file.

Now that you have a new model file its a very easy and straightforward process to convert your model into a voxel model. At the top menu navigate to Voxelize > Create Voxelizer.... Immediately after you click this a little pop-up window will appear asking you to name your model. In this case I will be converting a car model so I named it "My Car", but feel free to name it based on what you are trying to import.

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After you press OK, this will add a little box with a voxel V in the middle of your scene. Keep in mind every time you wish to convert a model you will have to create a new voxelizer.

Now click on the black cube. After it is selected, navigate back to the Voxelize menu category. You'll notice that the "Load Mesh" command is now active. This is what allows you to select the model that you wish to convert. Go and click that.

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So this launches the familiar finder window. Navigate to where you have your OBJ file. If you had a set of material and texture files like I did, Qubicle will automatically import those for you. All you need to do is select the OBJ file like below:

Now after you press Open, depending on the speed of your computer, it may take a few seconds for Qubicle to create the voxel rendition of your 3D model. If it freezes, just wait about a minute or two. Usually its just trying to convert the polygonal mesh into a voxel model. After its done you should see what looks like a blocky version of your original model. Below is how my car came out:

Now this is starting to look really cool. However if you were to try and edit this voxel model you would probably be there a few years. In my case there were literally over 100,000 individual voxel cubes. Fortunately Qubicle has a nice Scale feature that allows us to scale down our model to a more workable size.

To use is it, first select your model. Now navigate back to Voxelize menu tab and this time you're going to select Scale Mesh.

When you click this another small pop-up window will appear. This has three numbers, with each representing an axis in 3D space.

Go ahead and type in 0.3 in the first text box and click OK.

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Essentially what we just did is scale down the car model to 30% of its original scale. As you can see we drastically reduced the voxel count making this a lot more easier to work with.

Now before we can start editing and working on our model, we first have to do one last step. Select your model one more time and go back to the Voxelize menu. This time select Convert to Matrix.

A matrix is a fancy word for 3D grid. Every time you're working with voxels in Qubicle it has to be within a matrix, no exceptions. Go ahead an click it.

You'll notice now there is a solid yellow lined box surrounding your model. It is now officially a voxel model. If you double click you can begin editing it just like you would any other voxel model! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. Have fun!


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