- Unfold, Edit, Change Tabs, and Refine
The first part of making a papercraft is defining the pieces. In order to do this, you will possibly have to spend hours depending on the size of your model. This is why one button will seem very tempting: "Auto-Unfold". However, if you learn one thing from this guide it should be this: NEVER, EVER, PUSH AUTO-UNFOLD! It will only make the later processes harder.
However, if you find manually unfolding a bit tough, you can hit auto-unfold. However, you must be willing to use a lot of the zipper tool and switch many tabs.(Discussed later.) Thanks, Xenonray, for the tip!
Now, how do you actually define the pieces? You click the knife button. Notice how each edge of the model that you mouse over changes a different color. If you click an edge, it will turn red. This means that that edge will be separated from other pieces, and will be connected by tabs(which we will discuss later.)
In order to create a neat unfold, think about the basic shapes of pieces that you have seen while building. As an example, let's think of a sphere. It starts with a flat circle on top. You would use the knife to make all of the edges around the circle red. This defines the circle as its own piece. Next, you would trace along the edge of the following strip of the sphere. By doing this to all of the pieces, you create more pieces than you would have without manually unfolding. This makes it much easier to build. When you are done, click "Unfold".
Never use auto-unfold!
Use the knife tool to define open edges, creating pieces as you go.
The more pieces, the better! However, make it logical. Why would you split a strip of a sphere in half, when it can be one piece?
Making logical pieces makes the model easier to build. However, you can always refine this when...
What is editing? Well, it's just as it sounds: You use the left side of your screen and the zipper tool to edit your papercraft pieces.
When you unfold, the pieces will be scattered randomly. First, group them together with the pieces they connect to using the select tool. For example, put all of the head pieces on one page, and all of the feet pieces on another. This will make it easier to edit.
You may notice that some pieces didn't turn out how you wanted too. The tabs will look weird,(Which we will talk about later,) and some of your pieces may be too big or small. If all of the pieces are too big/small, click "2D menu>Change Scale>_______ by 10%." Keep doing this until all of your pieces are of the desired size.
However, that is not all. Some of your pieces may not be too physically large, but they may be too large of a piece itself. To fix this, use the zipper tool and double click a spot on the piece. This will split it in two. You can also double click the edge of a smaller piece to connect it with a larger piece. Continue using this tool until all of your pieces look OK.
If you want to double check, use click the box with a red side. Then, click a piece. Your 3D Model will spin around, and the faces your pieces represent will be highlighted red.
Editing is using the zipper and selection tools to change and position your pieces.
Double click with the zipper tool to attach or detach pieces from each other.
Use the box with the red side to see which faces your pieces correspond to.
Click "2D Menu>Change Scale" to make your overall craft bigger.
Now that you have your pieces unfolded and in the preferred shapes, you may have noticed that the tabs are in less than okay positions. There are many good positions, and many bad positions for tabs. In order to see this, you must study the pieces next to the pieces they connect to. Here are some tab positions:
Good: (Usually manually made. Use these!)
Rows: The piece is cover in tabs on one side, creating a clean, complete connection with the next piece. This works will with spheres and segmented pieces, like antennae and fingers.
Round: Each piece has tabs on one side, but not the other. This allows for a simple connection as you place the tabs from one piece onto the blank side of the next piece. This works well for cubes, cones, and other shapes that are too wide for one piece to cover the area.
Bad: (Often made when initially unzipping. Avoid these!)
Zipper: Tabs alternate from one piece to another. This is harder to connect, and can get very messy.
Split: A simpler version of Zipper, the tabs that should be in a simple row stop at one point. The other tabs are on the other piece. This is bad, as it can still be messy and hard to connect.
However, changing tab positions isn't everything. It can still look messy. The tips of tabs may be poking through other tabs. This is easy to fix. Simply click
change size on the tab window, select a size from the drop-down menu, and the tab should be smaller when you click on it. You can also use this to make small tabs bigger.
Change the position of tabs for cleaner, easier building.
You will always need to change tabs after unfolding. Don't be lazy!
Change the size of tabs to make your template look nicer.
Once you have finished the past steps, you aren't done yet. You still need to refine! Move your pieces around to make the page cleaner. Don't group random pieces together. Instead, put corresponding parts near each other to make building easier. Also, reduce the number of pages. Move your pieces around to make room for more. More pages can make your craft seem more complex or messy. Finally, labeling each group of parts using the text tool can make it easier to understand.
Reduce pages by making use of all your space.
Label each group of parts.
Make your layout clean.
I hope this guide helps some people with Pepakura designer. If you have anything to contribute, feel free to post it. I may add it to the guide.
(I'll be adding pictures soon)