Designing process - Introduction

     So, how do people design a papercraft?
     I can't really answer how people design GOOD papercrafts but I can try to explain some processes. But before doing that we need to define what exactly a GOOD papercraft is.
     Some may say:
     -Ah, good papercrafts are the ones that looks awesome when finished.
     Others may say:
     -No, good papercrafts are the ones that are really, really detailed.
     Meanwhile, others are chanting:
     -Lies! Good papercrafts are the ones that are easy to build.
     Besides those, we can find the ones arguing:
     -What? No, good papercrafts are the ones that are easy to build, looks good when finished AND are detailed.
     And, obviously the there are ones that will simply say:
     -Who cares? Just design a model of [insert something here] and gimme the templates so I can build it and brag about how awesome I am.

     What's my point here? I just want to show that good and bad is really relative so something that I may find good may not be that good for you. People share different opinions since our opinions are based on our life experience and, obviously, each person had different experiences and acknowledge them in a different manner.
     Anyway, now I'll just point out a few of the methods that I have heard of when it comes to designing papercrafts.

     Process: Recoloring
     How it works: You choose a model that is already made and recolor it's templates using an image editor.
     Difficulty: Not much. You need to know how to work with image editors, only that.
     My opinion about it: I find it hard to consider this a "designing process". It's a way to start but I really find it hard to consider it as an original design.

     Process: Ripped models
     How it works: You choose a game that you like and that makes use of 3D models (probably any game from n64/ps1 generation's onward), find a way to rip the file containing the models and the textures and hope you can convert it into a format supported by the programs you're using (will talk about these programs latter).
     Difficulty: Can be quite hard to rip from some games since not all games uses the same encrypting method and not many people are interested in decrypting every single game out there. Some of the models may be too detailed (high poly count) while others may be too flat. What I mean? Well, compare a model from FFVII and a model from FFXII and you'll understand.
     My opinion about it: I'm really not much in this method. You don't have that much freedom to work, you're bind to the existence of a game with the model you want and I have seem many bad papercrafts made using this method. The biggest problem when it comes to ripped models is that most of the models cannot be transformed into a paper model right away. It needs some work before that and many people don't know/forget about it. Still I think it's a good way to start if you really know nothing and think have no imagination to start modeling from scratch but it's not a good idea to start with a high poly count model.

     Process: Modeling from scratch with a program
     How it works: You install a modeling program in your computer and start designing a 3D model from scratch. Quite intuitive right?
     Difficulty: Can be really hard to start, may be discouraging, you need to have imagination and you'll need to have some knowledge on how to create textures, in other words, you'll also need to know how to use an image editor program (paint, gimp, whatever).
     My opinion about it: Well, this is the method I use. I think it give you freedom to do the way you want but you're bind to your abilities with the program you're using and to the features available. It can be quite hard to start specially if you've never had any contact with 3D modeling but I believe the models end up having your own touch. I really prefer this method to ripped models because I feel that by modeling from scratch I have more authority to say that the model is mine.

     Process: Paper engineering
     How it works: You design the 2D pattern using a pen, ruler, compass and your brain.
     Difficulty: I believe this is the hardest method from the ones I listed. Why? Because you're designing the model from scratch without the use a 3D program. Yes, you're basically using pencil, ruler, compass, calculator and your spacial vision to draw the unfolded pieces on a paper. In other words, you basically draw the pieces on the paper, cut and build the model.
     My opinion about it: I tried to do this only once but got nowhere. The project I started is still there, waiting to be continued. Like I said, this is probably the hardest method and maybe, because it's the hardest, it may result in the best models. Or not, it's all up to the designer ability.

     These are the processes that came to my mind. There may be others that I do not know about but I believe these are the most common ones. Later I'll post more about designing process.

Thank you for reading


  1. i think i would want to buy papercraft, or watch someone do it, than make my own LOL i do not have the patience. ack!

  2. I am into papercrafts too! It's nice to discover a fellow papercrafter.

  3. @prinsesamusang:
    Well, I didn't think I had enough ability to be able to build these models but still I gave it a try. When I finished building my first model it looked so bad to my eyes that I got kind of discouraged but since there were so many models that I wanted to build I kept going. If we keep going we'll have higher chances of getting where we want so, let's go! :)

    Nice! A fellow papercrafter!
    Hope you find some interesting and useful info here! :)


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