Logo Spendlik Paper Models

How to create paper model - Software part II.

Vector Editors

Vector editors are used to edit and create graphic, images, icons and clip arts. Vector images are created by lines (vectors) and fills. They are independent from zooming – images are always sharp even if you zoom very closely. That’s because images are created as a combination of mathematical functions. If you create a model in 3D editor and are able to unfold it and export in vector format, you can make basic coloring it in vector editor.

Adobe Illustrator vs Inkscape

Adobe Illustrator logoAdobe Illustrator is commercial software, for really high price you will get far the best vector editor in the market. But for most of the users, functions included in this software are not necessary. But if you own whole Creative Suite from Adobe, you can easily share assets from various programs. You can get more information on adobe.com.
Inkscape is open-source alternative to Illustrator with really nice interface. Lots of useful functions, lots of tutorials from community and great price – as every open-source software, it is for free. You can download it directly from inkscape.org.

Bitmap Editors

Bitmap editors are useful when you want to edit photos, erase an awful camel from your vacation photo or when you are creating webpage and you want to see it before you start to code it. Bitmap images store position and color of every single pixel – if you zoom in, you can see image raster and image is not that sharp.

Adobe Photoshop vs GIMP

Adobe Photoshop logoWhat’s Illustrator in the world of vector editing software, that’s Photoshop in bitmap world. Pricey, but really good software. There are several functions which I get used to and I am missing them in other programs. You can find more on adobe.com
GIMP is open source alternative to Photoshop. This software is one of the best things which came from open-source community and most of the users will be satisfied with its variety of functions. Lots of tutorials, possibility to use it on Windows, Mac or Linux and open-source price policy makes from this software number one when creating models. You can download GIMP directly from gimp.org

Other software - PDF printers

Pdf format is the best way how to handle documents, especially document like paper models. It is easy to print out paper model with the exact dimensions as it was designed. It can also handle vectors, so it can be very effective in terms of file size, when using only vectors. To be able to create a pdf, you will need to install software called pdf printer, which will create a virtual printer on your computer. It will appear as one of your printers, but will not print out the document on paper, but it will create a pdf file and save it to your hard drive.

Adobe Acrobat vs alternatives

Adobe Acrobat logoAdobe Acrobat is commercial and little bit expensive software. It is the best one in the market – however, price is a no-go factor. However, I am using Adobe Acrobat, which was pre-installed on my business notebook. You can find more on adobe.com.
For other software in this list I have included free alternatives. But it is not that easy for Adobe Acrobat. I’ve been using PDFcreator for a quite a long time. But after several updates it became only a “carrier” for adware. If you haven’t already done it, you should make a small test of various pdf printers available free on internet. If you found one, which is doing its job flawlessly and is not full of adware, leave a comment below and I will update this article.

Other software - Screengrabbing

As I mentioned in previous article, sometimes it is good to be able to grab some pictures from movies and TV shows and create additional documentation.


VLC is popular video player with ability to move movie forward and backward by one frame and also with ability to grab pictures from the movie. And it’s free. I am using this one and there is no need to find another alternative. You can download it from videolan.org.

Is this list definitive? No. This is only a list of software which I came along during the time I was learning how to create a paper model. There is nearly endless number of software you can use. It is choice of your preferences. In my tutorial I will be using three programs – Rhinoceros 3D (version 5), GIMP and Adobe Acrobat. If you read the whole article carefully, you can figure out, that we are not going to use vector editing software. We are going to edit our lines and fills in Rhino and simple coloring will be done together with weathering in GIMP. Also we are not going to use any screengrabbing software.

Spendlik Avatar

How to create paper model series