This is the low res version of the e-Book, the high res version is a different submission in my gallery with the title: Free Paper Model Design eBook2.
New 1.1 edition! (Read text at bottom for list of changes)
This is a free e-book that I just finished writing about how to design paper models (card models). It is based mainly on the freely available open source program Blender 3D and an illustration program of your choice but it teaches a lot of the most important fundamentals of 3D paper model design that have the tendency to give a wee bit of trouble to new designers. It is 227 pages long and has hundreds of full color illustrations to help you understand the concepts of the e-book better.
You can download a zip file that contains the e-book in PDF format by clicking Download File at the right of this web page, it also includes some Blender 3D files that can be used for practice and an additional unfolding script to the one that Blender already includes that has other important capabilities.
The e-book also talks about the many different types of software that can be used to accomplish the task.
The most important thing that I discovered while researching the subject was that where new designers had the most confusion was not in some complex thing of the design process but in some fundamental principles that were not well understood and I set out to explain them carefully to give designers a head start, so here it is, free help for those that are trying to learn this art of paper model design.
I hope that this e-book really helps to make you understand the subject better.
Update: 1.1 Edition with the following changes:
Creation of a high resolution version for printing or higher quality with redone rendered images. All of the rendered images have been re-rendered at higher resolution (2048 x 1536 pixels - 3 megapixels instead of 640 x 480 pixels for the low resolution version) and the same for many other bitmap illustrations or photos with the exception of screenshots. High resolution version also have less compression for even better image quality.
Slight improvement of several images, photos or illustrations for more clarity.
Correction of many typos and other errors.
Several changes in different parts of the text, many of them reflecting changes or updates related to software but several other improvements too.
Changes to software programs information to reflect software updates and prices for such. Update to corresponding updated software screenshots.
I now indicate the software version number in the list of programs for all the commercial programs so you know what version the given prices correspond to. Even though I mentioned their versions sometimes in the text I didn't specify it in the list in some instances and now I did.
Elimination of the All Rights Reserved Message. This message doesn't belong cause in modern copyright law it is not necessary to state such when it is desired to use it (when you desire to reserve all rights) in copyrighted material and the information of which rights are reserved is clearly explained in the copyright page of the book and the message was contradictory to it.
Highlighting of menu items, commands, keyboard shortcuts, program functions, etc. Parts of the text that mention things like items from menus in software or labels of the functions of programs or commands in dialog boxes for example have been highlighted in bold letters for easier recognition.
Several of the names for functions or commands in software (in menus or other parts of the interface) have been corrected to be exactly as they are in their respective programs for easier identification in them.
Adding Homer Simpson like model picture and a few changes to corresponding text to explain better the concept of different orientations in the same model and/or part in page 84.
There is now a description and basic information on the usage of the new Blender 2.5 paper model unfolding script called Export Paper Model From Blender in page 54.
Corrected a few details of the Credits page and made some changes according to changes in some images.
Inclusion of a new cartoonish submarine 3D model in the IncludedModels.zip file and a rendering of this and a description of the model in the book in the A Submarine section in chapter 6 Designing Some Simple Models.
Changed page numbers to different sides on odd and even pages.
Corrected pictures and text of the circles with high nodes on pages 117 & 118. (It said 64 nodes and showed illustrations of 128 nodes and now it says 80 nodes and shows illustrations of 80 nodes.
Fix for the image on Surface Development on page 120. The bottom of the full oval had a center oval that didn't belong that was left there by mistake when I did the illustration (a leftover), also the color of that oval that was beneath that one is supposed to be gray not blue-green cause it is for the full oval cone and not the truncated one.
The Open Source software improvements section on page 206 has the new modified Blender 2.5 roadmap and corresponding changes to its accompanying text. It also mentions now the improvements to K3D in the newly released version 0.8 and the recently released illustration program sK1.
In page 120 in the second paragraph almost at the end in the sentence that says: "If you want your outline pattern to be cleaner with less lines you decrease the value of the slider to a lower angle number until you are happy with the result or you decrease it if you feel that some fold lines in particular should be included." The second decrease word (shown here in bold) should really had been increase instead and now it is fixed.
In page 132 in the second paragraph where it talks about paths and Bezier curves, there are improvements in the explanations cause it was a bit confusing between the use of Paths and/or Bezier curves.
In the first edition of the book the key combination given for the Loop Cut tool is incorrect. It says Ctrl+K when it should be Ctrl+R or K and then selecting Loop Cut and now this has been corrected. This same text is now on page 153, second paragraph.
Those parts of the text that mentioned CorelDraw's Dynamic Guides tool or its Illustrator equivalent (Smart Guides) now also reflect the addition of this tool to the program Serif DrawPlus which has recently added the tool to the program in version X4.
In chapter 7 A Bare Bones Way Of Creating Paper Models With A Computer I said in the previous edition of the book that I couldn't find a way to open the Cone Layout program generated patterns in Solid Edge 2D. I couldn't manage to open any AutoCAD files before in Solid Edge 2D and that is because there is a step that you have to do in the program before you are able to do this and this is explained now in the book in the section titled: The Confusion Between UV Texture Unfolders and Paper Modeling/Others Unfolder in chapter 2 Modern Paper Model Design (page 48 third paragraph).
An few hyperlinks have been updated.
Page 219 has a new paragraph (second paragraph) that talks about my new PDF tutorial called: Clearing The Confusion Between Total Image Resolution, Image Size And Dpi.
The definitions of texture baking and dithering have been added to the glossary.
A few more Blender keyboard commands or icons/menu functions are given in different parts of the text. This is still no substitute to learning Blender by standard means and it's intended as a courtesy to people that are learning it to make it a little easier for them.
The included 3D Blender models were fixed a little bit in some areas, some small quirks or errors were corrected (a few small ones). The sharp edges were marked and the Edge Split modifier was applied to all of them to all corresponding parts.
It is 238 pages long now but this is due mainly to the expansion of the text because of the bold highlighting.