3D paper-cut modeling and animation

Yan Li, Jinhui Yu, Kwan-Liu Ma, Jiaoying Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Paper-cut is one of the most characteristic Chinese folk arts, often used during festivals and celebrations. Chinese artists have used paper-cut to make animations. Typical paper-cut artwork is made with 2D illustrations on paper, and making many frames necessary for an entire animation can be tedious and expensive. We present a system that allows a designer to directly annotate a 3D model with paper-cut patterns, while still allowing for adding an artistic touch to the design. We have designed special motifs coupled with templates, resulting in a parameterized set of decorative paper-cut patterns which give the artist flexible control and allow editing of the pattern size, orientation, and shape. The artist chooses a pattern and places the pattern on the model in the desired position. The system determines actual surface coverage and trims the object's surface geometry to simulate the cut-out effect we observe in traditional 2D paper-cut art. We demonstrate that our system allows faster and easier addition of paper-cut decoration to 3D models compared to general purpose modeling tools, such as Maya. Animations made with the 3D paper-cut models escape from the limitations of traditional 2D paper-cut animation on the movement in perspective, furthermore, our system allows for easy pattern animations on 3D models, which is very powerful but hard to do with traditional paper-cut animation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-403
Number of pages9
JournalComputer Animation and Virtual Worlds
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007


  • Animation
  • Modeling
  • Paper-cut
  • Pattern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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