Trying to create a stack of paper a mile high


I’m working on my first blender effect. I’m doing a still composite in FCP. My camera angle is really low looking up at the sky and I want to create a 3D model of a super high stack of paper.

So far I’ve extruded a nurbs curve (it’s the shape of a paper with rounded corners) to make the stack “shape”. I also have a picture of a stack of paper I’d like to use for the texture, and I’m wondering how I can repeat this texture along the stack (it’s really long). Right now I just mapped it on and it stretched it like crazy.

any advice?



UnPro (my) method: Make small, higher poly, detailed model.
Create normal map,ao’s etc from it. Apply/bake NOR map to big model with repeats along length.
Map Textures and done.

Now for a better method…

In the texture properties, under Image Mapping, there’s an option for repeating along the X and/or Y directions.

Steve S

Thanks! (un pro) response. I’m still not sure how to male a high poly model, it’s just a nurbs curve extrusion so really only one big face right now. I don’t know anything about normal maps will look up!

Start by positioning your camera in the final position for the shot. If the camera’s going to move, work out all of the moves in advance. Choose the focal-lengths you’re going to use for the lenses; decide what the depth-of-field might be, what changes of color-saturation and so on you might use. This is what’s ultimately going to determine what is “good enough.” You don’t have to create a mapping, etc. that is beautiful when viewed from every possible angle: you simply need one that is good enough for its actual contemplated uses in the show. It might be “a mile long” in real life … but … what’s “real life” got to do with computer graphics, anyway? :slight_smile:

If the stack-of-paper is going to appear in several shots, then consider that each one of them might in fact be different … the only strict technical requirement is that they must look consistent (when subjected to whatever casual degree of scrutiny the user can be expected to give it). Only those faces which will actually be seen need any attention whatsoever.

The single, so-called “establishing shot,” which gives the viewer his first and most-clear good look at the object, is going to create a short-term visual expectation in the viewer’s mind. The object can in fact differ slightly in subsequent shots and the difference (if not too severe) will not be perceived. If that establishing shot is, say, a pan-shot that tilts upward to a forced-perspective where most of the far-away stuff is blurry … what’s directly in front of the square-on camera before it starts to tilt is going to tell the viewer what the entire stack must look like – even though (as you alone know or care) it doesn’t.

Actually, it is quite simple to create convincing paper stack.

Just create a cube. Edit mode / loop cut at least 20 along Z axis. Hit Z to see through geometry. Make sure you are in Vertex select mode and menu pick Select > Random. Pull or rotate randomly selected Vertex along Z axis in varying amounts until you get the paper stack look. Now use Array modifier to array it up a mile high!

I added few planes along the stack to make it look like peaces of paper hanging out. Also you can add Simple Deform modifier on the stack to twist the whole thing as it go up.

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Wow that looks exactly like what I need. I’m going to start playing around and re-creating what you did now…It would also be cool if it swayed back and fourth ever so slightly. This is an effect for an upcoming episode I’m working on which was kickstarter funded. It’s on the history of cryptography ( If you could help me a bit I’d be happy to credit you in the final episode

thanks! I’m aware of all the focal aspects of how to do composites, just not sure how to create the model as I’m a noob to blender, first time using it. so I really do need a walk through of the paper stack…working on it now to try 2nd run…

here is what I have so far…almost there I think but needs tweaking still. I’m wondering, how could I animate this so the stack “piles up” really fast?..some sort of compress, expand option?

then added dof and some fake shadows…


You’re going to need to give some careful thought to, for example, your camera position and lens f-stops. Right now it looks like you’re using an extreme wide-angle (“fish-eye”) point of view. The stack of paper turns into a pyramid and the surrounding forest scene turns into a bowl. You might well get away with that for a few frames, but that’s only one camera setup out of many.

Realistically, what’s going to happen during the course of the scene is that there’s going to have to be a series of cut-shots … an establishing shot, close-ups of a stack of paper “magically growing,” longer shots, maybe a boom-shot where the camera follows the paper from a side-on view, rising upward along with the paper, and so on. Each of those shots is going to have to be shot and handled separately, then edited together to make the final.

What I’d do next, then, is to try to block-out the entire sequence. Figure out what shots and camera-setups you’re going to use, and try to put together a series of animatic-style shots that seems and feels reasonable. Then go back and start working out the details of each camera-setup. Don’t invest time in building “serious geometry” at a point where you’re simply trying to decide where everything’s going to fit within the frame. Try to decide exactly “where everything’s going to fit” before actually constructing any serious geometry.

The general process of “actual” modeling is going to be things like, yeah, random selections and lots of use of modifiers. But every setup, every individual shot, is probably going to require a little different treatment. (“Looks” consistent, but “is” different…) You want to invest the time to figure out how to do each shot, only after you’ve first established (a) that you actually need the shot, and (b) exactly what range of frames you’re going to need to produce for each one.

This isn’t a case where you build a marvelous set and then go back and figure out how you want to photograph it. Figure out what you want to photograph, then build “no more and no less than” what you therefore must have to shoot.

Reminds me of this image

may be try to use the rule of three here

don’t put your stack in middle more like 1/3 along X axis !

it should look better i guess and may be add some birds at different level to give a better perspective effect

nice work

ahah so cool!!

Hey thanks for your process.

This shot is actually just a single shot, starts with an establishing shot, then cuts to a panned down angle at the ground and there is a girl stacking paper, then it pans up and the stack just fades in (or grows) against a static frame…no other shots in the scene.

This is a single static frame, that’s it…but I’d like it to grow

I agree about the birds that would be awesome!! you know where I could get a free animation of a bird with alpha channel?

Thanks for this, I fixed the perspective and contrast:

try on blenderswap might find something interesting

just what the doctor prescribed … :thinking: