Best way to create a paper model?

Question Modeling

I'd really like to create a rigged character like the image for an animation but 
I'm wondering what the best approach would be to create the paper look, considering how it might deform.image (7).png
Should I retopologize a human model (which I have), but the edge loops are going to be weird because it should deform like paper and not be too smooth. 
Should it be low poly with bump maps or is it relatively high poly to get the crumples (or a low poly mesh over a crumpled sculpt)?
I love the look but I know I'm in for a whole bunch of challenges!
Thank you!

2 loves
  • Martin Bergwerf replied

    Hi James,

    That is indeed a fantastic look!

    But I don't know of any 'shortcuts' to make something like that. Coincidentally, I have been playing with simple origami paper models:


    and this was already a huge challenge...and it doesn't even have the paper wrinkles and so (I tried, but couldn't get anywhere near a realistic look).

    I am sure, that it is possible and it will be worth the trouble, but you're probably in for a bumpy ride. That said, please go ahead and figure this out!

    Maybe you can use some shrinkwrapping using low poly Meshes, to get an initial, crude look of a head (or other model) wrapped in paper. Then use Sculpting to refine the shapes and add the wrinkle detail...

    3 loves
  • James Treweek(Smartassmusic) replied

    Hi Martin,
    Loving your origami :-)
    Thanks for your answer and at least I feel better about my growing knowledge that I can recognise this problem is not easy to solve!
    Looks like a lot of testing lies ahead.

    1 love
  • Omar Domenech replied

    This sounds like a super technical challenge for sure. @waylow Maybe Wayne can have better ideas or maybe this can be an inspiration for his next course. 

    2 loves
  • James Treweek(Smartassmusic) replied

    I love that idea Omar!

    1 love
  • Wayne Dixon replied

    HI James.
    Cool ref image.

    It will be a little tricky to rig but there would be a few approaches.

    I do think it should deform smoothly though as I think it will be near impossible to make something like that deform at the paper folds.
    But I can see it in my mind animated on 2s (hold every frame to 2 frames) and it looking beautiful.

    1. Cage deform modifier
    You could create a low poly cage around the model, bind the mesh to that, and then rig the cage.
    This will work really well for all parts of the model except the fine details (eyes, mouth, jaw, fingers etc)
    But it will be great for any of those bits that jut out like the hair.  If you don't need the model to talk - then you could limit the cage to everything except the fingers (use the armature modifier on the fingers and weight paint them accordingly)

    And for the face (blinks etc) you can do that with shape keys. 
    If the eyes are round, you can separate them from the model and rig them with bones.

    2. A lot of Weight painting.
    I think this will be the long way, but it will give you the best result.  Just rig it and weight paint it straight to an armature.
    Some bits will be really easy, and some bits will take a lot of patience.
    You could create a low poly mesh, weight paint that first, and then transfer the weights across.  But then you will still need to adjust things anyway. So it will probably be the same as just wight painting the hi res model anyway.

    Hope that helps.

    1 love
  • James Treweek(Smartassmusic) replied

    Hi Wayne and thank you for that detailed answer.
    I'd intended this model to be a dancer and actually the face wouldn't need to move much throughout the whole animation (1m 30s) - just subtle emotion and no that's a plus point! 
    I'm looking forward to a lot of testing. :-)