The Art of Bringing Paper to Life

The Art of Bringing Paper to Life
July 21, 2017 alexetienne

If you are the kind of person who loves making things – and I’m guessing you are, I mean you are reading this blog! – then Papercraft is for you!

What? Origami? Well, kind of…more like complex paper crafted models, built with your own hands, brought to life by projection mapping. Sounds good? Ok, stay with me.

Getting Started with PaperCraft

This is a very DIY activity. Papercraft can be very time consuming, but also very rewarding! You can get creative in all sorts of ways. You can build architectural projects, animals, all sorts of transportation models (ships, planes, trains…) all kinds of Pokemon, giant skulls, and much more!

Here is a practical guide for beginners, including super useful recommendations, like which kind of printer or glue to use, cutting and folding techniques, and the important fact that cardstock is better than regular paper!

If you have the designer and tech skills you can use any modelling/rendering software to develop your prototypes (Maya, Blender, 3d Studio Max…etc.) and then build them with paper and scissors. You can also download tools like Pepakura which are a great help for the design. Pepakura has a consolidated user community. Step by step tutorials and videos are available to help you start the creating experience.

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Iron Man helmet Pepakura tutorial Part 1 (software, scaling, printing and building)

Also, there are a lot of Papercraft online stores on Etsy where you can download templates like these:







So many models to choose from! These are some of our favorite Etsy shops: PaperWorlf shop, Pologonia, and LP Objects.

But wait… how does projection mapping come into this?

Well, I’ll leave it to the artists to show us how to create magic out of paper…

Paper Becomes Alive

Low Poly Models, Amazing Projections

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Paper Craft Projection Mapping

Daniel Bruning modelled these low poly animals in Autodesk Maya, and then using Pepakura he “flattened the models to make them printable.” His prototypes include a horse and two bears, and they are around 50cm wide and 40cm tall.

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«LOW POLY» Projection Mapping Installation

In the above video, we see how a low poly model can become a beautiful projection mapping installation. It’s a personal project homemade by Eugene Shestopalov. Imagine having this in the walls of your house or office. It will definitely draw attention!

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Papercraft Projection mapping sculpture from 3D model

Another interesting papercraft video, a quick tutorial by George Berlin. He built a heart-shaped projection sculpture from a 3d model designed using 3d Studio Max, Pepakura, plus “lot’s of cardboard and glue”

If you want to try low poly papercraft for yourself here is an easy to follow guide on how to build a wolf mask. Sweet!

Giant Skulls Sculptures

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AfterLife Projection 2017 by Angie Jones

Artist Angie Jones built this after-life projection for a contest held by HeavyM and it is simply marvellous! She used Maya and Pepakura for designing the prototype, HeavyM software for the effects and Artograph Digital Art Projector. You can see the behind the scenes of how she made it all work. Also, if you want to know more, we really recommend you read this great detailed post by Lumo Interactive where Angie says how “prototyping in paper helped identify some serious structural issues”.

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Shogyo Mujo @ Adobe MAX BASH

While not made out of paper (it’s actually made of wood, and it’s much larger!) we’d be remiss not to mention Bart Kresa‘s Shugyou Mugo as one of our favorite projection mapped skulls. His creations are always in the realm of the spectacular. This particular project is a traveling art installation that has “evolved into a 360 musically driven, interactive visual centerpiece that has been featured at festivals, creative conferences, and entertainment events.” Developed by BARTKRESA studio and sculptor Josh Harker, we can’t keep our eyes of it!

Magic onto PaperCraft Dioramas

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Alchimie de Courvoisier - Projected Paper Diorama

David and Kristin McGuire are amongst the most talented artists in the world of miniature paper dioramas. They are architects of magic! They have created amazing works of craft including the world’s first projection mapped pop-up book (and a more recent theatre book of Macbeth), other theatrical installations, a paper rendering of the Eiffel Tower, a beautiful Geppetto-like story performance, and this amazing homage to Hitchcock’s Psycho, which has a sellable version:

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Psycho - Homage to Hitchcock

I hope this has inspired you to start creating your own papercraft. Art can be anything that you want it to be. Give it a try! And don’t forget to share your awesome projects with us: [email protected]