Pepakura Start to Finish Tutorial

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Pepakura Start to Finish Tutorial

Post by PropMaster on Thu May 16, 2013 11:43 am

For this tutorial, I will go into full detail on how to do a pepakura model. From file to finished costume.
Part 1- Importing, Errors, and Unfolding
For the first part of this tutorial I will teach you what file types you can bring into Pepakura designer and how to start the unfolding process. Pepakura Designer is a creation made by Tamasoft, a company located in Japan, it started out for model makers and has since evolved into being used for costuming purposes.

For Pepakura Designer, you can bring one of these main known formats into the software for creating. OBJ, MQO, 3DS, etc. But these are just the main formats I know and work with. As for getting the 3D Model you can commission the model from someone or you can browse the internet for the 3D file for importing. As for myself I mainly extract the 3D models from videogames. That's a long process and I won't go into it on this tutorial.

First you will want to open/import your 3D file into the pepakura software. Red lines, flipped faces and floating faces can be a problem. Here's a example.

Red lines are where two faces do not connect and it will be the same way when you're unfolding the file and building it.
Flipped faces are grey, this is just where the model is basically inside out and it will be the same way when you are building it instead of the numbers being on the outside of the pepakura file they will be inside.
As for floating faces, look at the second image, you can see where on the boxes at the top there are rectangular boxes floating in them (no lines connecting them directly to the other part) this causes a major problem when building because you'll have a lot of excess on the unfolded parts that does'nt look the same as the pepakura file. You can also work around it by using a exacto knife and trimming or altering the finished pieces after builidng



Now for the Unfolding process.
Most people don't know how to operate Pepakura Designer properly and they just hit the unfold button and go from there. This makes for a mess of a file and a nightmare to build. Here's how to make the file better and have a easy build in the process. After you open your 3D file, for a piece of armor or helmet. ( Note that you do not want to try to unfold a entire suit of armor as one file. Break it down using a 3D software. As for myself I use Meshlab, Wings, or Milkshape. ) You can also use the 3D software to remove the human model or non-essential parts if needed.

Now here's where it becomes interesting. After your file is in the program you can begin designing it before you hit that Unfold button. Make sure that the Auto box is unchecked. Start by moving your mouse onto the left window and selecting the edges of the faces to "cut" the designs. You'll see a green line and by left clicking the line will turn orange. Make strips, squares, however you want to do it. If it looks like two pieces can go together somewhere on the file you can join/disjoin them after you hit the unfold button. This reduces the amount of parts for the build and makes for a cleaner build as well. Here's a example of a T-51 B Helmet I did a while back.


Now after you do all of this you can hit the Unfold button and scale to your size, then you can start moving the pieces around on the 2D Window (On the right) Right-cick to use the Join/Disjoin to seperate larger parts to fit the page size. Move option to move pieces around and Rotate to rotate the parts around to fit them into the spots. You do not want parts on top of each other so make sure to space them out by a couple centimeters.

After you finish you can smooth the file out. Normally the default is 175 fold threshold for a file. But if you want a smooth build change it to 155. You can do this by going to the Setting Tab, Other Settings, and under Hide Almost flat folding lines, change it to 155. You can also uncheck the box to see the wireframe mesh of the model that can help you with the Orange line process I mentioned before and you can do this before you hit the unfold button.

Tomarrow or later tonight I will continue this tutorial for the construction process. Feel free to ask away with any questions you might have and I'll do my best to answer.
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