Unfolder

Unfolding a mesh with Unfolder

The great Blender with it's lovely, simple, non-overlapping interface

Unfolder for Blender

  1. Run Unfolder from Blender's scripts window: mesh>unfold
  2. Select your mesh in a 3d view
  3. Click Unfold

Unfolder will try to unfold your mesh. Remember that some meshes can't be unfolded and some meshes unfold more easily than others. Your mesh may not unfold into a simple, non-overlapping net first time. If any overlaps were encountered during the unfolding attempt then the resulting net may be incomplete -- you can try again, or click search to tell Unfolder to search for a simple net. Beware, searching may take a long time, and it may never find a simple net.

Saving & loading nets

Unfolder saves its nets in SVG format with added metadata describing the relationships between the polygons in the net, so nets can be reloaded into unfolder and folded back to the original mesh. The exported SVG can also be edited in a vector graphics editor like Inkscape or Illustrator.

Saving

After unfolding a net choose save to export it. There's no need to select the net; the last unfolded net is the one exported. By default the filename is <name of mesh>_net.svg, but you can change it.

Loading

To load a previously saved net choose load. Click ani to fold the net back to the original mesh.

Other features

Overlaps

By default, Unfolder avoids placing any polygons that would overlap. If you want overlaps then select overlaps. You will never want overlaps.

Animation

Unfolder can animate your net folding and unfolding. Select ani to toggle animation. Beware that large nets (>100 polys) are slow to animate.

Animation of the net is controlled by an empty called FoldRate. This empty has a z-rotation IPO curve whos value at the current frame determines the unfolding of the net. 180 means fully folded, 0 means fully unfolded. If no empty called FoldRate exists when ani is enabled, then one is created along with a default z-rotation IPO. The z-rotation IPO can be edited to control the folding over time.

UV maps

Finally, Unfolder will create a UV map from the net of a mesh if you click uv.

Next tutorial

Chadwick 2005