Paper & Card – 3D maquettes pt 3


The three pieces above look at sketch modelling in 3D and covered three of the typical delineations of Concept Art work, i.e.: 1, Character. 2, Environment, and 3, Vehicle (an essential part of Props and Objects).

Two of those are dealt with below, whilst the Character model can be found back on the Clay Model Maquettes discussion page.

The racing car toy (an undamaged one can be seen hiding behind the rolls of tape above) was one of a pair I picked up from a pound store about five minutes walk from my office, the other materials were all found on the same street, double-sided sticky tape, a scalpel/craft knife, modelling clay, cocktail sticks, scissors, paper and card. The foam core I had laying around the office (I try to keep offcuts in a box just in case).

So, how about that Environment maquette? A curious little medieval-esque tower, built next to an ancient standing stone.


This was built from scratch using foam core, mount board (modelling card would do) and paper and double-sided tape. I did most of the cutting using a scalpel against a steel rule.


I used the foam core for the base and to add the wall detail and the standing stone.


It also helped to create the uneven floor or landscaping.


Most of the fixing was done using the double-sided tape, with the occasional “pinning” using the cocktail sticks, such as the “canvas” wood drying area.

The method I used for creating the wooden beams and other elements of the timber styled model can be found below. Just click the image to enlarge.


This “hack” is a quick and effective way of creating rapid models and prototypes, the process allowing you to create a great deal of material ahead of time rather than making each piece in a bespoke fashion.

(A colleague is currently looking at using this a starting point for a digital 3D environment – something I’m very much looking forward to seeing).

Next, lets take a look at using an existing or found object as part of the sketch modelling.


So dismantling the toy car mentioned at the start (simply removing the majority of the stickers and chassis with its wheels attached) left me with a simple plastic shell, the bulky nature of the vehicle made me think of a Fifth Element style NYC Taxi, so thats what I aimed for, I added a wider than usual trim around the base of the vehicle, giving it a slightly hovercraft feel, in-keeping with its anti-gravity vehicle nature.


But I also added a pair of wings to the front edges/fender areas of the cab, plus a “TAXI” style “for hire” light on the roof.


This I thought might add to or make for an interesting silhouette (see lit version below – For a light I simply stood the model on a colleagues upturned mobile phone, with his torch app turned on).


The modelling method I used saw me treating paper and card along with the double sided sticky tape as a “dry” and relatively mess free substitute for papier mâché. Click on the image below to see a step by step hack for attaching card and other items to your sketch models.


Finally, and without actually finishing the sketch model fully (sometimes just completing one side is enough) I took a series of photos of the maquette and then dropped it into Photoshop and spent a little time playing with the colour and adding a taxi style livery to the vehicle, ready for a design sheet, or perhaps even to add it into a piece of finished concept art.


Maybe even move it through into basic digital 3D (Sketchup) for further design development…

Previously (some years ago now) I’ve worked on projects that incorporate this type of working methods with my Level 3 Btec (Year 2) students on a “Drawing for 3D and Product Design” brief (see the rough draft below)

…a draft version of the brief in which I’ve highlighted the Mini-Project and also the checklist at the end, a useful item for the students as the contemporary FE level brief seems now laden with information not necessarily pertinent to the student, but included to prove that opportunities learning has been offered (no doubt a side effect of our wondrous litigation culture) by the institution; all of which in fact appears to further obfuscate the object of the brief.

Anyway… Part of the larger brief deals with a short, mini-project to give the students a portfolio piece (yes, it’s interview for Uni’ time already) that will show off their spacial awarenessSeveral Uni’s, looking for Games Design students specify that they want to see examples of traditional 3D work for just this reason...

With my students I’m looking for them to choose an object that they are familiar with, something no bigger than about 500mm x 500mm x 500mm, that they can recreate in simple corrugated/brown box card, without… and this is the thing that gets them without using glue, or sticky tape.

For example here’s a quick model (below) I knocked together showing how laminating on a curve can make strong (by this I mean rigid) shapes. No glue, no tape… nuts and bolts instead.

A former student of mine tackled this brief with success while going through the same prep’ for portfolio/interview last year, you can see her outcome below… including her quick paper maquette test.

Corrugated Card & Thread Boot Construction – by Shayleen Hulbert – Shay’s blog & portfolio.

I can pretty much guarantee that the “Boot” model (above) would not have looked half as good if it had been constructed using glue and tape. And it certainly would not have looked this good after all this time and being handled and dragged about with portfolios etc. The tape would have been peeling bit of card coming away from each other, glue dribbles down seams would have looked unseemly, and chemical fixings on paper or card always deteriorate.

I feel this is a great way to get he students to think and plan ahead a little with their designs, rather than just plod through a process, and eventually have a great looking and durable product to show at the end of it. The kind of thing that can be seen not just as part of a process, but as an end product too.

A retail window display in Manchester – Designer/Maker Unknown*

Hopefully I’ll be able to post the results from my current students in the near future… I’m looking forward to seeing them myself.

Of course this all relates to the post I made about 3D maquettes as part of the design process…

I found a couple more photos of maquettes and simple card models for working design projects, which I’ve scanned and uploaded below.

The images on the left are of a model, that I abandoned part way through the build as the problem I was looking for a solution to became apparent, which it wouldn’t have unless I started the model.

The images on the right are of a scrappy model using left over blue card, just exploring shapes and treatments for sculptural forms to be used on a roof, the canopy at the bottom is made from cocktail sticks, tracing paper and invisible (Scotch) tape.

Oh, and for those of you interested in more detailed model making, you may well be interested in this site suggested by one of my students: who Customize and create 3D printed products (apparently, they are “the future of stuff”…?!)

*If someone does know, I’d be glad to credit them and put a link to there website or blog – All Photos taken by G. Sleightholme.

~ by hesir on January 10, 2012.

2 Responses to “Paper & Card – 3D maquettes pt 3”

  1. […] CLICK HERE to go to this site. Share this:TwitterLinkedInEmailDiggFacebookRedditPrintStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  2. […] See also, Sculpting in Card 001. […]

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