Designing Cardmodels - Paragon Style

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by Paragon, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. Paragon

    Paragon Active Member

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    This is how I designed the J-29 Tunnan model. Hopefully this can provide some insight into the process I used, and help others interested in designing their own models.

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    We start with three views of the aircraft to be used. In Photoshop, I have them each in different layers, and I've removed the white from the image, leaving just the black lines on a transparent background.

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    Next, I made a copy of the side view in a new layer, and erased the cockpit.

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    Because of the odd shape of the rear of this fighter's fuselage, I decided to take a different approach than usual. I drew a line across from the top of the fuselage to the top of the engine, because I decided to make the tail boom a seperate part.

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    Next, I erase the tail boom from this copy of the side view.

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    I then copy the fuselages from both the top and bottom views in their own layers. Layers are your friend when designing like this.

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    The bottom of the fuselage is where I generally prefer to make the model connect, so I cut the bottom view of the fuselage in half right down the center.

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    I found what I considered the first important angles in the fuselage, and seperated that part from each of the three views.

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    Using the top view as an anchor, I rotated the side view on top of it, matching the features of each as best I could.

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    I then did the same thing with the bottom view.

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    Then, I erased the overlapping edges and any conflicting features.

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    Then I "reinforced" the border lines and added tabs to the back of the nose.

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    After merging those layers, I duplicated the resulting layer, and flipped it vertical.

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    Then I erase the overlapping edges again, and add the tab that connects the nose to itself.

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    Then we pull those layers back up, and find the next instance of extreme angle, and cut them there.

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    Then I rotated the parts again, just as I did with the nose parts.

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    Just like before, get rid of the overlap.

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    Add the tabs, duplicate the layer, and flip verticle.

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    The same with the rear fuselage.

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    More of the same.

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    Next, make copies of one wing and one elevator from each view, plus the tail. Normally, I simply use the vertical stabilizer, but like I said, the boom on the J-29 makes it necssary to design the tail a different way.

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    Take the two views of the wing, and flip one horizontal. Stick them together along the straightest edge possible. I also stretched them a little to make them thicker, to account for the curve of the wing when assembled.

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    I took this part of the fuselage to add to the wing, for connection.

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    I attached that part (after trimming it). It will help secure the wing to the fuselage.

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    The same thing I did with the wing, I do with the horizontal stabilizers. Make sure to duplicate each and flip them, for the other side.

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    I removed the little fin and did the same thing for it. I also cut off the vertical stabilizer of the tail. Then I stretched the boom to make it wider.

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    Then I mirrored the boom. This will be bent and attach to the top of the fuselage during construction.

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    The vertical stabilizer gets the same treatment as the wings and elevators.

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    Then I just arrange them. I realized at this point that I'd forgotten the tabs on the elevators. Whoops.

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    The last part is the cockpit. I copied the cockpit and made it much wider.

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    Then I cut off the back and moved it back some, attaching the parts with tabs.

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    Here's the final layout of the parts.

    Here are some images of the final product:

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    Feel free to ask questions, post comments, etc. Let me know if some of this confuses you. I made this thread for all of you.
  2. Paragon

    Paragon Active Member

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    Also, let me know if you all want me to do this again, to see some of the different ways I design different shapes.
  3. Dragos

    Dragos Active Member

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    Thanks Paragon for sharing your technique . sign1sign1sign1
  4. Panzerbeto

    Panzerbeto New Member

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    You are a genius Paragon

    That has been a whole revelation.

    I will have a go to designing some more simple shapes. I have been intimidated by all the 3D stuff and mesh and redrawing, but your way is just what suits more for non 3D experts. I handle 2D quite comfortably.

    Keep the good job, You have a great stile.
  5. Nexus9

    Nexus9 Member

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    Very cool, Paragon. Do you use this method to create all of your models? I have Lightwave, but it doesn't lend itself to paper modeling very well: huge numbers of polys that Pepakura won't deal with. I'm going to use your tutorial to try and build a few models. It would be easy to texture something like this in Photoshop as well. Thanks very much.
  6. Lex

    Lex Dollmaker

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    So that's how cardmodels are designed without CAD... Awesome tutorial to any designer out there!
  7. Paragon

    Paragon Active Member

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    A few things that weren't included in the design process of this particular model (but may be necessary for other models).

    1 - If you don't have clear enough 3-view drawings, take out your line tool and simply trace the model. Merge the lines together into one layer, but make sure not to merge them with the image you used as a guide. To get a good symmetrical shape, you don't have to trace both wings of an aircraft, or for other models, anything that is the same on another side, you can simply duplicate that shape and flip it.

    2 - Sometimes you will run into shapes that you can't figure out how to transfer to paper. This happens to me fairly often. Chances are, someone else already has figured out how to do this. Take a look through the cardmodels you've downloaded, search for models that will have a very similar shape to the one giving you trouble. Once you find one, feel free to trace it, stretch it, make it the right shape for your model.

    3 - When coloring models, I typically make sure to save them to a new file, keeping the uncolored versions as well. Once I have colored all the parts, I lay the uncolored parts over the top, to reinforce the detail in the texture, since some tools like the paintbucket can degrade the texture detail.

    4 - Test the models. Print them out and build them. Most of the time I miss a few things when I design a model at first. After building the prototype, this becomes apparent to me, and I can fix those things in Photoshop. Printing them out before coloring also saves a lot of ink.

    Anyway, I'll try to include some more tutorials on some of the other methods I use, like tracing the shapes of designs that aren't suitable for use themselves, and coloring techniques.
  8. NOBI

    NOBI Active Member

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    Hi There,

    Rare to see a design technic without any help from CAD program...Great job
  9. Arjun

    Arjun Member

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    I tried constructing a J-29 a few hours ago, and I didn't know what gets pasted where. Can you mark out places where I stick together parts? The identical textures in some parts are a bit confusing- do I leave them alone or cut a few lines in them or completely cut them out? The fusion of the rear fuselage with the tail boom is one and also the three cutouts that get a cockpit in.
  10. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

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    Ingenius and resourceful technique! :thumb:
  11. Paragon

    Paragon Active Member

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    Sorry about that. Construction should follow a certain order;

    1 - Construct fuselage.
    2 - Attach boom and tail.
    3 - Attach wings.
    4 - Attach canopy.

    It has to go in that order, because the wings get in the way of the tail boom if attached first, and the canopy gets in the way of the wing anchors, which go beneath the rear of the canopy.

    Attached Files:

  12. Arjun

    Arjun Member

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    There are those shaded areas for the wings and tail fins. What can we do with them? Cutting them would make the paper weak- I just tried that.

    I tried to imagine a similar procedure with the A-10 Thunderbolt II, and I find that the engines and tail fins are in the way! What can we do then?
  13. Paragon

    Paragon Active Member

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    Oh, that shows where the paper is glued together. The tabs for the wings and tails are folded in and glued directly to the fuselage, while the small "duplicate" areas on the wings are glued directly over the area with the same texture, as an extra anchor.
  14. Arjun

    Arjun Member

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    So, if I'm not wrong, do you first fit in the wings and tail boom on the rolled fuselage parts before assembling the fuselage?

    Anyway, I was using printer paper last time, and I used hard cardboard frames in some models as reinforcement, but I can't construct a frame here because of scaling issues. I'll try with much harder card.
  15. Paragon

    Paragon Active Member

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    No, you put the three fuselage parts together first, then you glue on the wings and tail boom.
  16. Arjun

    Arjun Member

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    I've been trying to figure out the puzzle of the fuselage-wing joint for airliners/transporters/tankers. While the fuselage can be prepared from top, side and bottom and the wings, from top, front and bottom, that part where they come together is a hard one to figure out. I am trying to figure this out without using any 3-D modelling.

    In case I want to add an inner frame, what can I do then? I trace out the frame from blueprints and then make any necessary adjustments. If I use the same scale as the blueprints I use for making the unfolds, I won't get the rolled parts to fit on the frame.
  17. Paragon

    Paragon Active Member

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    Hmm...that is difficult. I sort of avoid making that part accurate when I design models, and just use the "joints" as flat braces. I can think of one possible solution, but it's hard to explain, and I need sleep now. Remind me to come back to this.
  18. Arjun

    Arjun Member

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    I tried building a Tristar, and I find the design hard to put together, especially the nose and the tail end of the fuselage. Tabs for the fan vents were missing, so I tried to figure out where to put them in. Didn't look good. I haven't gone any further, so before continuing or restarting, I'd like to know what stock of paper to print on. I figured out that with cuts so fine, I thought thin paper would suffice.
  19. Paragon

    Paragon Active Member

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    Well I used 110 lb paper when designing it, so you may want to try something heavier. The tabs for the turbines are inside the engine. I'm going to be working on instructions today for my website, and I'll try to cover those as well.

    Meanwhile, I'll try to come up with some suggestion for the "wing joints" soon if you'd like. I might suggest try something similar to what Lex used for his superb J-10 model (you can find it in the Military | Aircraft | Contemporary in the download section here).

    Sorry I keep forgetting about you.......

    Oh, and some pictures of the Tristar attempt would be useful in helping diagnose the problem.
  20. Arjun

    Arjun Member

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    Looking at your model and layout for the Tristar, I figured out that those wing-joints may just be extensions of the fuselage. I've been spending so much time on Blender and Max, so this method is a little difficult to apply.

    I usually avoid downloading layouts and constructing models from them, as I have often designed my own models, either by re-colouring existing layouts (my first, flat models) or by designing them totally from scratch (either by hand or computer), but I needed these layouts to solve these puzzles.