Virtual origami diagramming

This page is about a research project of mine from 2005. The report is Dissertation_v10_11. Here is the abstract:

The task of making origami diagrams is both difficult and time-consuming. It is now common for diagrammers to use computers but few authors use programs that are specifically written for origami diagramming.

This study evaluates different types of software for making origami diagrams. It draws on the field of Human-Computer Interaction (namely the Cognitive Dimensions framework) to determine the usability strengths and weaknesses of existing software. The study also seeks the opinions of both readers and authors of origami diagrams via a questionnaire, partly based on Lang’s ten principles for diagramming and QUIS ( Questionnaire for User Interaction Satisfaction.)

These usability findings inform the design of an improved interface for making origami diagrams. A prototype interface based on S. Miyazaki’s origami simulation is evaluated by the author and by nine participants in a usability study. This evaluation shows that whilst the subjects rated the prototype as “wonderful”, they criticised it for its inadequate power and being rigid. Respondents were mixed in their feelings of satisfaction, the prototype’s ease of use and the visual attractiveness of its diagrams.

The main improvement that the prototype needs is to extend its repertoire of fold types. It should be relatively easy to implement outside reverse folds, but other folds such as rabbit’s ears may cause problems in both specifying the user interface and the implementation.

There has been growth in the field since then. Here are some highlights:

  • Origami Player has impressive step-by-step animated instructions for several simple models. Unfortunately you cannot create your own models. Also, the site uses Flash which may trigger security warning in you web browser.
  • ORIPA lets you drawn crease patterns. It will calculate the folded shape from the CP.
  • takes a CP and animates the folding process in 3D. It has many examples built in, but you will need an external program to create your own CP.