Is there another unfolding software than Pepakura Designer? Free?

Discussion in 'Software' started by Rogerio Silva, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. Rogerio Silva

    Rogerio Silva Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,530
    Likes Received:
    11
    Hi,

    I have just started using Blender to design a model that I've been looking for, but couldn't find it anywhere (please check my Groizer X thread, if you want to know more).
    After a few stumbles and falls, I think it's coming together better than I expected, for a first work. But then comes the unfolding process, and the only software I know that could do it is Pepakura Designer, which, BTW, isn't free.
    Is there a free software that's up to the task?
    You have the floor!:mrgreen:
  2. Rhaven Blaack

    Rhaven Blaack ADMINISTRATOR Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Messages:
    7,417
    Likes Received:
    2,253
    Google Sketchup does have an unfolding plugin.
  3. Rogerio Silva

    Rogerio Silva Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,530
    Likes Received:
    11
    If at first you don't succeed...

    Rhaven

    OK, Mentor, but... I'm working on Blender... Does Google Sketchup imports from it? I mean, Blender does export in some very well-know formats...:confused:
  4. Rhaven Blaack

    Rhaven Blaack ADMINISTRATOR Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Messages:
    7,417
    Likes Received:
    2,253
    To be totally honest, I really do not know, but it would be worth looking into, would it not?

    "NOTHING VENTURED IS NOTHING GAINED".
  5. Rogerio Silva

    Rogerio Silva Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,530
    Likes Received:
    11
    Darn right!

    You know what? I feel like a ten-year old kid:cry:. You're right! I'll man up and check it out.:mrgreen:
    Thanks!:thumb:
  6. Rogerio Silva

    Rogerio Silva Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,530
    Likes Received:
    11
    Hmmm...

    I found out that Blender DOES have an unfolding script. I use Belnder 2.65, and they say that it already comes with that, I just couldn't find it yet.
    NO SURRENDER!sign1
  7. Revell-Fan

    Revell-Fan Co-Administrator Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Messages:
    5,891
    Likes Received:
    3,535
    SketchUp is my main 3d application and I know it very well. When you work with Blender you have to export the model to .3ds format and then use the "import" function of SketchUp to load it.

    Pepakura does the job automatically but can't "think", meaning that the faces are unfolded to make them fit on the pages only. Sometimes the result consists of a zillion triangles scattered all over the place which have to be rejoined to make sense. An extensive amount of post-processing is required to make the unfold look good and buildable.

    The available unfold plugins for SketchUp give you full control of the unfold because you treat every face manually.

    There are two unfold tools, the unfold tool by Jim Foltz and the Flattery plugin. The Jim Foltz tool is explained here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcnyFolpVBg

    The Flattery plugin can be seen here:
    http://www.pumpkinpirate.info/flattery/

    I'm using the Flattery plugin because it allows you to export the unfolded result to .svg format which can be imported in CorelDRAW for further processing. It also allows you to export the faces in their original size. The unfold tool export is not consistent. The parts are not in the same scale when you unfold a model section by section. The size of the parts depends on either the size of the monitor (if you are making a screengrab) or the max possible size of the bitmap export.

    One disadvantage of the Flattery plugin is that textures are not exported. It is best suitable for surfaces with plain colours. The major advantage is that the unfold is exported in .svg format which means very small file sizes. All my models which come in vector format have been unfolded using the Flattery plugin and were textured in CorelDRAW (all blasters, Landram, Power Sled, Crichton, Hangar bay).
  8. Rogerio Silva

    Rogerio Silva Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,530
    Likes Received:
    11
    I think I've found it, it's the UV wrapping, the same one you can use to paste an image onto faces. I just have to learn how to use it, I mean, mark seams, and all that stuff.
    Any tutorials on that?
  9. Revell-Fan

    Revell-Fan Co-Administrator Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Messages:
    5,891
    Likes Received:
    3,535
    This is a VERY interesting free e-book which could be useful for you:
    http://pixeloz.deviantart.com/
    :thumb:
  10. Rogerio Silva

    Rogerio Silva Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,530
    Likes Received:
    11
    Howdy!

    Revell-Fan

    It's always a pleasure to hear from you, my friend. I did try to use Google Sketchup with my model from Blender, but the only thing I could do was to import it with the Collada format, and could not dissociate it (yet, I've got a lot to learn:cry:). I even installed the Flattery plugin (all this was today, I'm still coping with it).
    Soon after, I discovered that Blender does have this function, and I will see if it suits me better. Anyway, I already have in my computer Google Sketchup and Flattery plugin, and if I can't go by Blender, then I'll humbly ask you for some classes, OK? I hope you don't mind...:oops:
    Thanks a lot!
  11. Revell-Fan

    Revell-Fan Co-Administrator Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Messages:
    5,891
    Likes Received:
    3,535
    It's settled! :thumb:

    Quick tip: If you import a model in SketchUp it appears as a group. You have to ungroup it first to make it editable. Sometimes you have to ungroup it twice. You can find out if you are working with a group by clicking on the model. If a cage with blue lines appears, then it is a group. If a face is highlighted, then you have found an editable face.

    Attached Files:

  12. imcold

    imcold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    1
  13. Rogerio Silva

    Rogerio Silva Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,530
    Likes Received:
    11
    I see...

    Revell-Fan, I got up to the part of the groupped model. I couldn't ungroup it, and didn't have enough time, but I'll try it now (it's night time here...). But I still want to try to do everything in Blender, although I do not wish to "shut the Google Sketchup door", since you know it a lot and I would like to use your help, should Blender fail.
    Thanks!
    Imcold

    I've seen that, but... does it work adequately? It shows that it's still WIP...:confused: I thought that Blender had an script for unfolding (it's in the UV unwrapper), but I don't think it's what I want.
    Have you seen this? http://celeriac.net/unfolder/
  14. Rogerio Silva

    Rogerio Silva Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,530
    Likes Received:
    11
    What did I do wrong?

    Never mind the link, it's broken. I tried the one you've recommended, and followed the instructions, but nothing happened. Then I put the files in the Blender "script" directory and tried to install from there, but I got an error message, saying that the files could not be there.
    I know that I'm doing something wrong, I just can't put my finger on it... yet!wall1
  15. Rogerio Silva

    Rogerio Silva Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,530
    Likes Received:
    11
    Not yet...

    Revell-Fan

    Buddy, I have to tell you: I did try to ungroup the model, but Google Sketchup just "bailed itself out". It crashed and ended the program without the kindness of even giving me an error message:cry:...
    Then I went back to what you said: after importing the model, ungroup it. ONLY after doing exactly what you said it worked. I was saving the model as a sketchup one, and then trying to ungroup it. Of course, it DID NOT WORK!wall1
    Thanks to you, I've got an alternative to Blender, in case it doesn't work. Let's see!
    Cheers!
  16. imcold

    imcold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    1
    The most recent version should be on github. I can try it when I come back home and let you know. I'm sure it's an export plugin and isn't included in the most recent Blender version; it worked when I tried it last time. Unwrapping and unfolding aren't quite the same thing.
    The unfolder by celeriac is the one included in 2.49 (scripts - mesh - unfold), that's the one I prefer. I think that the ebook Revell-fan gave you link for contains some instructions how to work with it (or just follow the tutorial on celeriac's site).
  17. Rogerio Silva

    Rogerio Silva Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,530
    Likes Received:
    11
    Now we're talking...

    Imcold

    I don't know why, but all of a sudden, the script started to work. It really works fine, I must say that I'm impressed.:cool: Of course, it doesn't replace human intelligence, but it does a good job, though.
    I'm still working on how to unfold the parts and not losing all my materials and textures (the results are plain white...:cry:). But the great thing is that it generates a SVG file, which can then be edited in Inkscape (but you already knew that...:twisted:).
    BTW, I got the book. It comes with another script (B-Paperizer:confused:) from the author, but I couldn't make it work. At all.wall1
    But I'm getting there! Besides, I will try to learn how to use the Google Sketchup unfolding tool, so that I have a contingence plan.
    What can I do, I was in the military!!!sign1
    Thanks, and let's continue to exchange experiences!
  18. Revell-Fan

    Revell-Fan Co-Administrator Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Messages:
    5,891
    Likes Received:
    3,535
    :(:(:(

    Too bad. Well then, I'm glad that you have an alternative. I'm sorry I can't operate Blender so I can't help you there. But if you need any help with SketchUp, feel free to contact me. :wave:
  19. Rogerio Silva

    Rogerio Silva Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,530
    Likes Received:
    11
    Now I've got you!

    Revell-Fan

    HOHOHOHOHOHO...:mrgreen: Now I've got you!:twisted: It seems you didn't read the full post, so here goes the rest of it... It just shows that you were right, my friend, and all I had to do was follow your exact instructions. Please take a look...

    That may sound confusing, so the idea is as follows: I imported the model, and it came as group, EXACTLY LIKE YOU SAID. Then little old stupid me saved the model as a Sketchup file BEFORE ungrouping it. With the new Sketchup file open, I tried to ungroup it. WRONG!:eek::cry:
    So I tried ungrouping it BEFORE saving it to a Sketchup file, just after importing it, and the light shone brightly!:mrgreen::mrgreen: All I had to do, as I said before, was to follow your instructions...:rolleyes:
    Man, decades in the military, and I can't follow simple orders yet! GEEE!!!:p:p

    Thanks again!
  20. imcold

    imcold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    1
    Rogerio: good for you :) I expect no intelligence from an unfolder - I design my models with a way of unfolding of individual parts already in my mind, so for me, it's really just an unfolder - I mark the faces that form an individual part, separate them from the rest, mark edges, unfold.
    I can't help you with the texture (assuming this is about the paper export plugin for Blender 2.6x); but ask on the blender forum, the guys there are helpful.
    B-Paperizer is for some old versions of Blender, if I remember correctly; you'd have to find the correct one.

    And Inkscape is cool - just wait for the 0.49 version ;)