Modeling Software

Discussion in 'Gallery & Designs' started by Gearhead, Aug 27, 2007.

  1. Gearhead

    Gearhead New Member


    I know that this has been covered in many different threads on the Cardmodels Forum and despite the risk of annoying people, I will go ahead and ask anyway.

    I used to make / design card models the hard way (paper / pencil / rule of thumb / rebuild if it didn't work out etc.) but decided a while ago to get with the programme and learn how to design for a correct build first time. I read about Tenkai and then Pepakura on the Card Models Forum and the possibility of creating models which were either hard to obtain, or which perhaps had not been done before. This was extremely appealing and I was further encouraged by the incredible quality of work that appears on this board and the knowledge of the contributors / card model community.

    I should mention at this stage that my interest is pretty much cars of the 60s/70s. Last year I chose a '68 Ford Cortina 1600E (one of my favourite saloons) as a test subject due to it's nice boxy shape. My software of choice (mainly because I had already spent the money earlier to upgrade an earlier version) was the spline modeling feature of Hash AnimationMaster, Pepakura Designer 2 and a copy of CorelDraw 9. Since starting the 1600E, it has been a REALLY LONG process - specifically because I am away a LOT due to work and really only get a short while every few weeks to practice, but I have been able to reach a point where the mesh / models are nice and can be manipulated pretty well in Pepakura in preparation for graphics (the next hurdle).

    Despite progress made, I have found AnimationMaster to be less than adequate for a number of reasons. AnimationMaster will only export to 3ds. files for Pepakura (not such a problem), BUT my version (2005) has a habit of corrupting files when saved, so they in turn crash Pepakura. Renaming the file does not solve this issue, which results in having to rebuild the mesh from scratch. For additional entertainment value, my AnimationMaster also crashes periodically while modeling and I will lose work at a crucial point.

    Agreed, there is always a learning curve with any and all software programmes and I have spent many useful hours w/ trial and error / looking for workarounds etc. such as process for breaking down meshes to allow Pepakura to work correctly. However, time really is a precious commodity and you reach a point where you have to cut your losses and find a better way, or call it a day.

    Some people may have good luck with this software, but I have not. I have spent a lot of time on AnimationMaster and have made some nice meshes only to have them stuffed up by buggy software. Some nice meshes I have had corrupted have been:-

    Hillman Imp (Brit 60s saloon - Rally)
    Hillman Hunter GT (1968 - London - Sydney Marathon)
    Ford Cortina 1600E (1969)
    Ford Cortina 1600 GT 1968-69 (Rally)
    Dodge Charger (1968 - Bullitt)

    I would like to do the following:-

    1/ I would like to make cars of the 60s/70s (as there do not seem to be many people doing this).
    2/ I would like to make large scale versions (1/14 to 1/12).
    3/ I would like to be able to model interiors, etc.
    4/ I am not necessarily restricted to pure paper for some details 'steering wheels' etc.
    5/ I would like to share these models with anyone interested once complete.

    So here are my questions.

    1/ Based on the above, can you suggest a software package that will allow me consistently perform steps 1/,2 and 3/ above?

    2/ If Rhino 3D, will the Unroll feature also work for car bodies (once separated windshields / roof / wheels / panels etc.) or is Pepakura still the best Unwrapping software for this?

    3/ Is Milkshape / Pepakura the best software for this type of modelling?

    My free time is limited, so I am happy to spend some money on software and put in the hours learning that software as long at it gets results. I have read a lot of good things about Rhino, but I am really interested in knowing if this will allow me to do the above, as I have only seen this software used with aircraft.

    I want to stop designing and start building. Any comments you have are greatly appreciated.


    Gearhead (Ian) wall1
  2. Lex

    Lex Dollmaker


    Rhino would do pretty much all you want, its use is not limited to aircrafts but any aspect of CAD modelling, especially you already have CorelDraw which can do the post-processing for Rhino. (You've seen this right?)
    If you choose to use the Pepakura combination, that's also entirely fine. The final model is up to your skills, not the software. And every designer here are happy to solve any problems.
  3. shiftdel

    shiftdel Member

    Did you try to convert their AnimationMaster models to other format, so you would not loose your work already done?

    There are several converters out there (I use 3 different ones), maybe one of them is able to convert your AnimationMaster files (MDL?) into another format without corrupting them.
  4. Gearhead

    Gearhead New Member


    Thanks for your responses. Rhino might well be a better option in the long run, especially as there are lots of tutorials available etc. The U-Boat thread was very impressive.

    I can still pursue AnimationMaster, but I am tired of it at the moment - I may try again once I have forgotten what a dog it can be.

    If Rhino has a superior Unroll function, this is very attractive. I will look around for Rhino options.

    Is the latest version required or can it be earlier versions?


  5. sjsquirrel

    sjsquirrel Member

    Metasequoia and backups.


    I find it odd that you've lost meshes entirely. Don't forget to save copies of your work now and then in case of disaster. If AnimationMaster itself is trashing your meshes I'd dump it asap.

    I've been using Metasequoia for over a year and have never had a single instance of it crashing or corrupting data.

    The only times I've had trouble with Pepakura, it's been because the mesh contains stray faces, or faces that fold back on themselves or something. These have always been easily fixed in Meta, but sometimes difficult to track down. I always load the mesh, unfold it, save the unfolded file, exit pepakura and then reload the unfolded project. If all that works, great, otherwise I know there's some bad faces and I go back to Meta to fix them.

    Anyway, if money is a concern, Rhino is not cheap, but Meta and Pepakura together provide an effective and affordable alternative.

  6. The Hermit

    The Hermit Member

    does googles sketchup unroll objects like rhino does?
  7. goney3

    goney3 Member

    There is a ruby script available online that can "unroll" your models :thumb:
  8. The Hermit

    The Hermit Member

    do you know what the ruby script is called or where to download it?
    i could not find any reference to it on the google sketchup website

    this would be very interersting if this becomes the group standard entry software since it is free and its from google
  9. knife

    knife Member

    I'm also would like to know where to download the unrolling script. I'm currently going through the Sketchup tutorials in preparation of designing civil war ironclads.
  10. Lex

    Lex Dollmaker

    --Just a sideword, Rhino has a nasty habit of causing blue screen during saving on my laptop (crippling the file in the process) and I had to make 3 backups for each project I had...
  11. sracer

    sracer New Member

    The unroll script for Sketchup isn't very good. Here's the link:
    Sketchy endeavors: Plugin: Unfold Tool

    I'm trying my hand at some model designs, but I don't have the time to invest in learning overly complicated applications. Sketchup is easy to get started with, but it quickly becomes difficult when attempting to design anything beyond buildings. It isn't impossible, just takes a bit of time and clever thinking.

    I've gone through about a dozen different apps and currently find that Wings3D is the quickest and easiest to get a model roughed out. It was the easiest of the ones that I tried to get a Jupiter 2-looking object created.

    Pepakura is simply fantastic for "unfolding".

    I think that the important thing is to try out the various tools to see which one best "clicks" with the way you think.

Share This Page