Design software

Discussion in 'Gallery & Designs' started by 57townsman, Feb 19, 2004.

  1. Horus

    Horus Member

    I must be about the only one of us who is not using a 3d unwrap package. All my models are unfolded using a good old fashioned pencil, paper and a reasoneabl knowledge of geometry.
    I have made the move to vector methods to render the final design.
  2. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Re: Software Suggestions for Mac Users

    We have a few Macs at work and they can run some PC software under Windows emulation, but I don't know any details on this. Maybe Pepakura will work this way. There must be Mac equivilent programs??!! To be honest, I keep my distance from Macs. I know they are good machines, and look wonderful, and they sneer at viruses, but I could fill 28 hours a day just learning PC stuff! And Il2 Sturmovik doesn't run on a Mac either.... Bandits!! TallyHo!! Taka-taka-taka!!!!


    PS Adam!!
  3. marc

    marc New Member

    does anyone know if Gmax can export to any usable formats that i could unfold with pepakura maybe
    im finding wings3d a bit tricky
    i used to have gmax when i was trying to make a model for half life (apparently it cant export to hl formats :( )
    and im pretty sure gmax has the 3 view ref pic thing

    edit: a can of coke with a stubbie cooler (something on my desk at the time)
    took me about 5 mins
  4. Maurice

    Maurice Member

    It was wrote

    We simply can't leave you floundering there in the Jurassic. Your reasonable knowledge of matters geometric can still be used but with significantly greater convenience, flexibility, speed and accuracy in a 2D CAD programme. And no need to sharpen pencils or dust off the rubber crumbs from the eraser. Fancy a couple of clicks for the accurate radial positioning of the 7 cylinders of a rotary engine - bit of a drag manually.
    You don't have to throw away your pencil and paper. Like me you can put them neatly in the corner and promise them you'll come back one day. Mine have been very very patient and are still waiting.
    Take a browse at


    BTW. Roughly, about how many engines did a Hawker Seahawk have last time anyone bothered to count ?
    (just stirring :roll: )
  5. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Last time I looked, not really, although this was some time ago, when Gmax came out with FS2002. This might have changed in the meantime. Abacus Publications market the outstanding Flight Simulator Design Studio, which is a mesh modeller specifically for making the Microsoft flight simulator series. There was a plug-in from a Czech designer that would allow FSDS to both import and export data in dxf format, which was how I got my Sea Fury model from Rhino into Combat Flight Simulator 2 ( ) The plug-in/converter program is available from and it works now as a stand-alone converter, so well worth experimenting with.

    Hope this helps,

    Tim P
  6. marc

    marc New Member

    so i could make the model in gmax, convert with this program to dxf which pepakura can import

    could it be that easy?

    wings can use dxf .and .obj, pepakura can use .obj and .lwo
  7. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    As far as I can recall, the problem is with GMax, its import and export options were very limited, although I think it would import dxf data. The whole point of GMax was to allow you to make models, texture them, and export them directly to PC games that were 'enabled' to receive GMax generated data. You had to have an intermediate doodah that handled the conversion, and when I tried it (with Flight Simulator 2002) I could not make it work at all, ( Airbus A380 over 40 miles long as I recall....) so I gave up. I am sure things will have improved massively since then, but I haven't had the time to check it out. My impression of GMax was it was obviously very powerful, but the least intuitive software I had ever encountered. For flight sim work, FSDS was streets ahead. was a great place to find out more, so try them now if you want to know the latest.

    Anyway, crux of your question, yes, if you have dxf, 3ds, obj data, or a means of converting what you have to something Pepakura can handle, just click that mouse.


    You MUST make the mesh model so it can be unfolded! This means simplifying the mesh as much as you can, and breaking it up into sensible sections. Pepakura will do its best if you push a 20k polygon mesh down its gullet, but don't expect the output to look anything like any paper model you have seen before!! Most 3D modelling packages enable the creation of very complex curved surfaces which look, render and animate beautifully, but will be far too complex to unfold. This is where understanding the limitations of the model, the mesh, the unfolding software and also the limits of your printer and assembly skills all combine.

    The only answer? Try it and see, then learn. And don't do what I did with GMax, ie give up!

    Tim P
  8. marc

    marc New Member

    lol i dont think ill have too much trouble making it easier to unfold
    needs to be detailed for that :p

    ive been mucking around with peparuka and wings a bit seeing how different shapes unfold and whats harder to build in paper after unfolding
  9. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    Nobi, have you or any other in the design team any experience with using Truespace? I have an old copy (3.1) loaded on my PC that I've been intending to learn how to use, but just got an upgrade offer (V 5.2) I'm seriously considering (and only have a couple of weeks to make up my mind). Before I go splurging the "now-you-have-me-absolutely-furious" money that she-who-must-be-obeyed suspects I've been holding out on her, I'd like to have a little feedback on whether Truespace is of any use in paper modelling (and "don't spend the money" is not really an option...she is already pretty fried about my latest Ebay purchase. In for a penny, in for a pound.....).
  10. NOBI

    NOBI Active Member

    Hi Darwin,

    My Team? :) i'm one man show. about Truespace, i heard that is easy to use to create mesh but im not try it yet. i similar with Metaseq and Rhinoceros more than another program. i want to try Truespace too if i have chance to try.
  11. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    :wink: Nobi, you gotta start thinking beyond your paradigm. When you became moderator, you inherited this whole motly crew of designers and designer wanna-bes...hence team, even if you have to squint a bit to make the term come into focus.
  12. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Pluribus et al,

    The following is a screen capture of a fuselage draft rendered in TrueSpace. The development software being used (so far) is TurboCAD, TrueSpace, Ultimate Unwrap 3D (UU3D), PhotoShop and Illustrator. It does appear that once the UV bitmap is finished that it can be back imported into UU3D and the surface developed for a card model (at least it seems that way right now). This could prove to be an interesting advance for card modeling if it works....,

    Best regards, Gil
  13. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    Looks as if the bank account is gonna be hit for another C note for the upgrade. I'm glad the other half hasn't said it's either her or my toys....I would sure miss her.
  14. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    You'll also have to cough up a few more bucks for the "how to" book. Like anything it takes a lot of time to become proficient enough to do something that begins to look like progress. I'm just now "really" learning Photoshop as it seems to be the most useful (and popular) paint application software for painting bitmaps.

    3D applications like Truespace, Rhino, Cinema 4D and Studio Max have varying capabilities but all can achieve the same end output to varying degrees. NURBs modeling is nice if your output is meant for the screen. It's not a lot of use in card modeling as paper just isn't a NURB type of medium. This doesn't imply this type of software can't be used for card models it is more one of ease of use and expectations of the designer using it more than any other thing. I use TurboCAD because I am very comfortable with it and it has enough file compatibilities to handle nearly any file type required for design and it has a full complement of necessary commands to fully design the 3D model in paper (down to including the paper thickness).

    The real issue is one of planning the design work flow through the progressive stages of the desing process not to mention being proficient at each stage (this is where sucessful designers are separated from the not so successful designers). The ability to back annotate to update designs requires careful attention to planning detail and can get extremely messy if not planned for from the start. Another interesting point is that even the "experts" writing the "how to" books don't seem to know the full breadth and width of the software that they write about. This is another point of frustration that can only be worked out by trial an error which can take up a lot of time.

    I guess the point I'm making is that tutorials like the one Tim is doing on Rhino as applied to card models is extremely valuable information and can fill in the "massive voids" that just don't exist any place else.

    Best regards, Gil
  15. NOBI

    NOBI Active Member

    Hi There,

    I agree with Gil, NURBS is not compatible with papermodel, NURBS alway smooth your mesh...yes your mesh will good looking in screen render but if u convert to look impossible to assemble it. that why i still use metaseq for my mesh...consider TurboCAD too but im not similar with AutoCAD's menu style or command :D but i will try ;)
  16. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Thanks Gil for the 'up'! I have the next chapter being spell-checked right now, so watch out for the next update.

    Regarding whether a NURBS software package is more or less appropriate than a mesh modeller, is really missing the point. Any of the 3D modelling packages we regularly discuss on these threads can be used to make successful models from paper. What is far more important, and this goes for any software package (or anything you care to talk about, but that is getting dangerously close to a religio-philosophical point!!) is that you have a clear idea of what you want to do, and a clear understanding of the tools at your disposal. You don't NEED any kind of computer at all to make succeessful paper models. They just make some aspects of the design process quicker, easily repeatable, easily distributable and so on.

    All of these programs, with the possible exception of Pepakura, are 'general purpose' programs. I suspect no one user of any of them, will use ALL the tools in their particular toolbox. Heck, I've been using CorelDraw for 11 years now, I'm still on version 9 and there are loads of aspects I have not used! Either I haven't needed them, or haven't discovered them yet, or have developed my own work-arounds to solve a problem. I use the tools that are useful, and meaningful, to me. The same goes for Rhino. It is a NURBS modeller, and I use it as such, I just limit the surfaces I create to those with a single direction. These surfaces are perfectly suitable for paper models. But they are still NURBS surfaces!

    Mesh modellers are equally capable of generating paper models, but the approach is slightly different, the tools are different, the 'style' is different. Whichever route you pick, you just need to practise! And stick at it!

    Which is MY particular problem......

    Tim P
  17. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Pilgrim's Progress

    The following shot is a capture from Ultimate Unwrap 3D perspective screen. It's basically the fuselage seen earlier in TrueSpace texture mapped with a scanned and cropped side view as an experiment. Still have to find out how to attach the texture map to the fuselage segments so that they will also unfold with them. This would allow an accurate template to complete artwork in Photoshop or Illustrator.....,

    Best regards, Gil
  18. yaniv

    yaniv Active Member

    hi all

    tray to make my own model

    at the start i tack a basic model of 3d max and open it on the metasaquoia
    now ..

    how i need to procid to make it to 2d parts

    i am vary new on the grapicks programm and all the time wont to make my own models :)

    hope to got some help :)
  19. Jimi

    Jimi Member

    call me weird but what i do is i draw the thing first in autocad, then i export it to rhino to make those surface thingies. after i unrolled the surface, i re export it back to autocad for final editing and printing. to get those graphics on curved surfaces, i draw it first on one view in rhino (or autocad before exporting it) then i extrude and simply trim the surface. when you unwrap it, i then save it as a dwg. file and fill it with bhatch* back in autocad. It's hell accurate and works like a charm. :) I still have to learn how to use those other graphic programs to make something look more realistic (im cheating. my plane’s all white).

    I have to admit. it's very tedious work and requires a lot of test fitting and scaling especially when u are using thick cardpaper. but it works for me. hahaha.. im not much good in programs like photoshop and corel (last time i used corel was 8 years ago way back in high school) and my sister teases me for not knowing how to use photoimpact. but like what was said before, use the program u feel comfortable with. if you are comfortable with the program (if it's adequate for cardmodeling), stick with it for learning to use a new program that can make you achieve the same result is just murder especially when you are doing it all alone.

    I was probably lucky. If i didnt find the Rhino tutorial on this site when i started to do my design, Im probably screwed and not have finished anything by now.

    Cheers to all! :roll:
  20. yaniv

    yaniv Active Member

    can u please make all the thing u say in the start step by step with photos?

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