Turn die-line into 3D mock-up


If I have a 2D die-line of a product. What's the quickest way to turn it into a 3D mock-up? Preferably it should output to a popular 3D format like 3ds Max.

Here's an example of the kind of dieline I'd like to fold into a 3D image.


Sketchup looks good, but it costs several hundred dollars for commercial use. Is there a cheaper (or preferably free) package for converting the die-line into a 3D image?


5/29/2014 9:30:00 PM

Accepted Answer

Thanks for all your suggestions. I've narrowed down the software to the following -

Origami is an illustrator plugin that automatically folds the 2D shape into an 3D file for further editing.

I'll still need to import the file into 3d software for rendering it properly. I've looked at several and I'll probably end up using blender. It has the least intuitive interface of all the 3D editors I've looked at, but it seems to be the most powerful of the free and cheap options. Depending on how productive I am with it I might skip Origami altogether.


joojaa mentioned CAD software called Creo, that some people may prefer. You can get a free version of Creo that allows you to use a maximum of 60 unique parts here -

6/1/2014 2:36:00 PM

3ds Max is perfect for this. And has a 30 day FREE trial, with full functionality.

Draw it out in 2D inside 3ds Max. Then simply move the Transform Gizmo to the creases and fold it as you need until you have the desired result. And you can even animate these folds, for added fun.

By "folding" you'll be ROTATING, the currently selected sub selection (those bits you want to fold) around the position of the Transform Gizmo at the crease.

Should be a lot of fun to do, once you figure out all the terminology and techniques of 3ds Max.

3ds Max is probably one of the hardest design apps in the world to learn, but also the most rewarding. And they have some of the best documentation. If you need any particular help coming to terms with it, invest time watching guys use it for polygon modelling on youtube.

And, ironically, 3ds Max is about 10x better for doing 2D design with splines than the specialised 2D software. So that's an added bonus that makes learning how to use it well worthwhile.


Here's the magic feature of 3ds Max. This alone will get you addicted to its way of doing things:

Think of it like an anchor point, but it's MUCH more powerful and freeform than that.

Here's an introduction to Transform Gizmos:,topicNumber=d30e604064

And here's a brief overview of the concept of a Gizmo in 3ds Max:,topicNumber=d30e604064

These things will forever change how you can think of moving things around to create new and interesting shapes.

R is the shortcut key you want most, it's Rotate. Once in this mode, anything currently selected can be rotated around the current position of its transform gizmo.