Paper Models: has anyone here build paper models out of 3D assets?


Hey guys,

For a big conference at work I need to build some paper models based on some of our 3D assets. I would like to know if anyone here has any experience doing this kind of conversion.
[li]If so, what issue have you encountered?[/li][li]What software are you using for the conversion?[/li][li]What format?[/li][/ul]

One of the pieces of software we are considering is:



I am looking forward to your comments.



I’ve never attempted this myself but thanks for the idea and the link. I might give that software a try and attempt recreating some of my models. :thumbsup:


I did a project like that back when I was in school. I was using 3ds max for modeling and unfold it flat. Render out the uv as my template. And paint the colors in photoshop. Thing to watch out for would be making sure the uv is unfolded correctly so when it’s put back into model, it fits perfectly. Keep in mind where you are going to put the tabs for glue. Also thing about the kind of paper you are going to use. Some doesn’t have enough strength to support large surface and some can’t do curves. Hope it helps. Good luck.



There’s a whole community of Halo video game dudes (and dude-etts, I suppose) that take a 3d model of a Halo (or Star Wars) helmet, run it through Pepakura, and unfold it to cardstock. Then they assemble it and create a life-sized helmet, to which they then fiberglass and bondo and sand and smooth until it looks phenominal.


I had the idea to do this a year or so ago, and did some little tests for fun. I thought I was very original to come up with the idea… so I was horribly disappointed to discover shortly after that that there’s already this huge community of people doing “papercraft” to a very sophisticated level. I’m not nearly as original as I thought I was unfortunately.
Check these out, mindboggling:

Perhaps I’ll just wait for 3dprinters to become cheaper.


Here’s a cool one:


And the behemoth of all papercraft I’ve seen to date:

Howl’s Moving Castle!

I managed to get the PDF of this, I still haven’t gotten around to making it, I think I’m just happy the potential is there if I ever decide to.

One of these days I’ll get around to making a papercraft figure using that software Robert mentioned.


Check out Bert Simons’ work:




Papercrafting is one of the top areas I enjoy as a hobbyist in 3D, there’s no major commercialism to it and the majority of artists that pursue it do so because they’re passionate about their work. The more modern / urban side of papercrafting is very closely related to the designer toy craze that’s been popular for a while.

From a 3D perspective it’s a lot like low-poly video game design to build a good base mesh with hi-res textures to add detail. The process of using Pepakura is similar to UV unfolding and enforces good modeling skills since a bad model means you’ll spend hours unfolding it in Pepakura :thumbsup:

Here are some links I’ve collected over the last year or so:

Papercraft Paradise
Papercraft World
Paper Worlds
Nintendo Papercraft
Marshall Alexander *** Awesome designer
Papercraft X

Cutting out models can be really intense on a model with heavy detail, so some people resort to getting an automated cutting machine like a CraftRobo that is supported by a version of Pepakura that adds registration marks and guidelines for the cutting process.


That’s so awesome! The only papercraft I tried out was a little Servebot/Kobun from the Megaman games (at some point). I couldn’t really fold it or cut it very well and I never finished it, but I’ve seen some really awesome paper models. I think Yamaha has a section of their main site to papercraft models such as their bikes and electronics.


There’s also a really cool book called Urban Paper that’s coming out later this year from Matt Hawkins of Custom Paper Toys fame. A preview vid of some models featured in the book is available on Vimeo to get a taste for what the book is about. Enjoy!


Wow this is amazing, I didnt know there was such a big community behind these papercraft models.
Having the moving castle model would be awesome!.
Maybe I will take a look at that program Roberto mentioned.




Wow thanks for pointing me in the right directions…
This is the sort of art desing we were looking for for my project at work!

Again Thanks!

For those who wish to tr out paper craft models, Wikipedia has a great article about it…



Just wanted to add a link about creating paper models with blender, maybe it helps someone. It probably works with other 3d apps too, if they got a function to unfold models without deforming the faces:


This guy makes his living as an artist, and he makes his art from A4 papers. It’s not 3D-modeling per se, but it’s pretty awesome.


If possible be sure to post a link to your project once it’s done! :thumbsup:

There aren’t a ton of places to view WIPs for papercraft, one of these days I’d like to start a thread in the CGTalk WIP forum but between 3D, 2D, Game Art, and Animation there doesn’t seem to be a good matching category. Guess 3D stills would be the best choice, but who knows, if enough people start doing it there could always be another subforum :smiley:

Good luck on the project!


Ill post a link tonight of some of my WIP…

BTW this might be interest:


Ok sorry for no updates in this project guys,

but I had to work on a ton of assets for an upcoming conference…

Anyway I am making a simple standee model of this guy (our mascot) that I sketched in Illustrator:

I created a simple model in Lightwave and now I am testing BOTH pepakura Designer and Ultimate papercraft to see if I can get a decent paper model to use as a greeter for a upcoming conference next week.

Ill update more soon.



For tose still following this thread,
as promised here is the update of the paper model
based on 3d data.