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There's a clip in the Blender 2013 demo reel that consists of a fly-through of a paper cut-out model. (32 seconds in)

I'd like to have a go at recreating that look. Does anybody have any tips? What are the characteristics that make it instantly recognizable as paper? Is it a subtle texture on the paper itself? Is it the hand-drawn outlines on the edges? Or is it something else, such as the indoor lighting or the focal length?

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    $\begingroup$ I would say it is a combination of all those things. Are you looking for tips on how to create those effects? $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 18:38
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    $\begingroup$ Related - blender.stackexchange.com/questions/362/… $\endgroup$
    – iKlsR
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 18:46
  • $\begingroup$ @gandalf3 I'm an ambitious (almost) beginner, so I'll absorb any tips you have on any of that. $\endgroup$
    – Isvara
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 22:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Derecho For tips on how to create those individual effects, you will probably be best off asking about each one in an individual question. $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 2:56

2 Answers 2

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My thoughts:

  • Every surface must contain a paper texture, even of only slightly visible.
  • Make the paper look a little used (dirt, coffee stains, bit crumbled up, more hints)
  • Light the place as if it was miniature (soft shadows, big lights)
  • Focus as if it was macro (blurry background)
  • When drawing on the paper, use near-real pencil.
  • Cycles - definitely use cycles for this.
  • Freestyle is not a must, but can help.
  • Extra help is small dust particles on the ground and flying around.

I think the strong point of that video is realistic lighting: very varied sources and realistic bouncing, warm temperature. Also it doesn't stay on too long, I bet you can get a better result if you try!

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    $\begingroup$ maybe some translucency for the material as well? $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ @krivar Thanks -- that sounds like really useful stuff. $\endgroup$
    – Isvara
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with all that, maybe add a bunch of "look-at" constraints for the character and the things on the desk. $\endgroup$
    – Kirbinator
    Commented Aug 22, 2013 at 14:17
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It seems that the look is mostly influenced by the outlines, you could achieve something similar by using freestyle.

You can enable freestyle in the render tab:

enter image description here

In the render layer tab you find several options to control freestyle

enter image description here

A nice blog post on freestyle

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