How hard could designing a Paper Craft model be? “You reveal your vulnerability within a social context, discuss its social dimensions: themes, issues (death, grief), and construct an account that is both creative and non-fiction” (Ellis 2013). I feel very vulnerable. Designing a Paper Craft model is hard. From utilising the programs, to effectively representing something of Asian content, to being satisfied with the final process, something I’ve avoided attempting all this time doesn’t seem worth it.
The entire process depends on the leading program Pepakaru Designer 2. It’s shareware and Japanese. It creates paper nets from 3D models. But to create the 3D model you have to use a piece of modeling software, like Metasequoia LE. Once again, these programs are originally made in Japan, so they’re hard to use when help sections are in Japanese. However, it’s possible to use Google Sketch Up or CAD. At this point, I’m already confused and overwhelmed. I think I’ve used one of these programs before, but I assume I wasn’t too good at it because I don’t remember using it again.
Tang Mu, off Instructable, encourages that designers sketch up a design first. Not as the geometric final product, but as a squiggly, dynamic sketch. This is the idea stage, or for me, translating Asian content into a representational 3D model. This is something I’m confident at doing. Apparantly keeping the design geometric is important, i.e. boxes are better than spheres. That’s a simple rule, but harder in practice. I also have to keep in mind how a models edges will join. Christopher Bonnette, on his website Macula.tv, shares his process form original illustration to the final model, on almost every one of his creations. It’s reassuring to see how different the 3D model is compared to the sketch. Next I have to save the 3D model and upload it into Pepakura to “unfold”. A button in the program unfolds the model into a net to print on paper. It’s quite remarkable. Except when an error occurs.
To avoid these issues, there are other methods. The other process is to use an existing design for my digital artefact. An easy alternative is the Paper Critters website, a flash based program that allows you to create a design on a small predefined model. While recently its popularity has led to development for a paid iPad app, on the free desktop version there have been over 100,000 designs created. It’s tools are simple, the model is simple, and it could be a unique way of representing my ideas.
Or I can look up blank Paper Craft models/templates, I’m leaning towards this process, but I’m not sure. I feel ethically wrong to use someones work, but the authors are asking for people to use their custom designs. I think I would be cheating myself, skipping a crucial step in the paper craft designing process, if I based my designs on someone elses. But I’m not sure if i have the diligence or the time to create something from scratch. I want to design something similar to the works I admire. Surely, they don’t use these programs too. It’s so much easier to be a consumer.