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I'm unfamiliar with 3d models but I may consider using one for some real-life crafts.

What I'd like to do is have a flat shape (let's say a star) that I can apply transformations to (like a fold or ripple). In addition, I'd like to be able to view and modify the original flat star and also see the resulting folded or rippled version. As if I'm applying a 3d transformations layer to an editable flat element.

By doing this I can see a simulation of a real life paper cutout folded up but export the desired flat shape.

What process would you use to accomplish this? Is there other software better suited for something like this?

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Yes, this is possible:

For manual control:

  • Rigging (use bones to bend and fold the shape)
  • Shape key (manually make some edits - while keeping the base shape) - the shapes can be mixed together and their influences animated.
  • Check on other deform modifiers too, shrink-wrap. lattice... all of them really, could come in handy for deforming a flat shape.

For effects:

  • Wave modifier
  • Warp modifier
  • Displace (consider using texture to displace, it can be animated too).

  • Physics: (also worth looking into)

    • Soft body
    • Cloth

Note, vertex groups can be used to influence many of the distortion methods described above.


This question is quite general (thats OK), but means my answer is generalized too.

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  • $\begingroup$ Another more obscure option is the Lattice object and modifier: wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.6/Tutorials/Modifiers/Lattice/… $\endgroup$ – Mutant Bob Jun 4 '15 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Mutant Bob, I got the impression the user wanted more direct control (mentions folding), but of course - MeshDeform, Lattice, ShrinkWrap - nearly all deform modifiers could apply. - Edited answer. $\endgroup$ – ideasman42 Jun 4 '15 at 17:04

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