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Naming Origami Models (kosmulski.org)
50 points by mkosmul 47 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 11 comments

Good to see origami on the front page.

For those who are interested in the field - whether as art, for the fun of folding or the various potential practical applications - the best book on the subject by far is Robert Lang’s Origami Design Secrets[1], which is a fantastic read and covers all of these and more. Lang is a mathematician at heart but also a consummate artist. I certainly can’t recommend origami enough as a hobby.

[1] https://www.langorigami.com/publication/origami-design-secre...

My introduction to origami was via Robert Harbin and his four "Origami" books, which include a series of origami models, both simple and hard to fold.

More info on Robert Harbin: [1]

[1] https://britishorigami.info/academic/robert-harbin/

Erik Demaine (approx spelling) has a course on origami folding too. Mit opencourseware IIRC

I'd love to know if people blended origami, pepakura and mechanics

Yes, it's available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDcAOTaCXHs&list=PLUl4u3cNGP...

It takes quite a lot of time to watch (it's a full semester course) but definitely worth your time if you're into origami and mathematics.

Slight jump, his course on succinct / advanced data structures is brilliant too

This reminds me of the problem with naming knots. The Ashley Book of Knots (ABoK) has been the standard for quite some time, but it is still a difficult problem to index and search. As with this article, many knots, like many folds, have been "discovered" multiple times over the centuries, and naming & giving credit is clearly a challenge. I'm glad to see this article, but I don't see a solution any time soon. As the author explains, different countries claim credit, how would one go about proving provenance? I find it a fascinating problem.

It's an interesting subject, thanks for pointing it out. Knots can be compared to 1D origami in a way :)

This is a wonderfully detailed page.

It makes me wonder if a formal naming process is also possible, given that origami is a largely linear, and well defined process.

You'd start with a prefix which denotes the shape of the paper (square or aspect ratio). Then lists the required transforms in order. There would be some ambiguity as order of certain transformations might not be critical. Perhaps you could develop standard notation there.

I see that there appears to be some academic software for modeling origami structures. So I assume this problem must have been addressed to some extent:


A crease pattern [almost] defines an origami design so this is the closest to a formal description you can get. It's actually good enough for quite an advanced mathematical apparatus to have been developed which allows you to prove lots of things about origami in a strict, mathematical way. However, the crease pattern is still a 2D drawing, so while much simpler to describe than the final 3D shape, it's also too complex to be neatly described in words. You can, of course, spell out all the folds, their angles and lengths, but usually it will be too long to be called a name. For simplified cases with additional bounds, it is, however possible - in the post I list one such approach (by Goran Konjevod) which works for a certain type of tessellations.

A crease pattern can clearly be serialized, and the order of folding listed. What's wrong with a textual description that might take a couple of pages to print out? It seems to me that there's no real compression challenge here—the full description of any folding pattern can be expressed concisely.

Robby Kraft's Rabbit Ear software is very nice: https://rabbitear.org/

Origami models aren't always solely described by their crease pattern. Even the traditional crane has a step where it gets inflated in a way that creases alone wouldn't capture.

Not saying it's intractable, just more nuanced than it first appears.

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