Working on the interactive origami simulator at D’origami I find current origami diagrams and D’origami lack features that can make origami much more joyful and engaging. Here is my idea about hyper-diagram - a new kind of origami diagram.

TL;DR: Hyper-diagram is an interactive, dynamic origami diagram recreated for the digital age.

Music Notes and Origami Diagrams

(or the importance of origami diagrams)

I often find a close analogy between the origami diagrams and music notes.

Music note is lingua franca for music. Essentially a common notation system that makes it a dominant medium for conveying music. It's getting even more valuable when you enjoy or learn by yourself without a teacher. Diagrams are lingua franca for origami. Essentially a common notation system that makes it a dominant medium for conveying origami. It's getting even more valuable when you enjoy or learn by yourself without a teacher. Human interaction is great and actually one of the best parts of origami-related activities. Nothing can be better than learning directly from and sharing the joy of creation with real people but still, the value of quality medium is huge.

Origami Diagrams: Good Parts

Crease patterns and videos are also used in modern origami community. And yet origami diagrams are by far the most used format for learning and sharing origami because they faithfully reflect the essential characteristics of origami.

Characteristics of Origami

  • It's 3D, a spatial representational form of art, just like sculpture or architecture.
  • It's the folding process that gives us the joy of creation, discovery, and sharing. We usually enjoy beautiful sculptures but less likely the creation process, often a lonely and painstaking process. But in origami, we appreciate the folding process as well as the finished art. Often even more than the finished origami itself.
  • It's easy. Very cheap and easy to start, even for kids.

Features of Origami Diagrams

  • Intuitive, easy to understand (for the most time)
  • Common, simple notation (thanks to Akira Yoshizawa, the grandmaster of origami)
  • Sequential yet in full timeline context

Origami Diagrams: Wanted Improvements

But I think the origami diagrams have the following problems to be fixed or can be improved:

  • It’s 2D since they’re drawn on paper no matter how they try to depict a 3D representation of origami sheets.
  • It’s static. The dynamic and magical transforming process of paper sheets along with the timeline is barely expressed.
  • It’s not always easy to understand. Sometimes very difficult to interpret the intention of instructions especially for tricky folds. I often get stuck while trying hard to properly understand those instructions. I’m sure others have similar experiences.
  • It’s difficult to create. Creating diagrams is not what many people do (usually artists and publishers do) but still are too difficult than it should be. Quite similar to architectural drawings and unlike fine arts, origami diagrams has both artistic and engineering aspect and engineering parts like geometric shapes correctness can be fully automated.
Traditional architecture drawings have been fully digitized nowadays being benefit from CAD systems and simulations. Origami diagrams can have a similar transition by taking a ride on the digital revolution and engineering correctness can be obtained with zero effort from the creator.

Hyper-Diagrams - New Kind of Origami Diagrams

I believe origami diagrams can be something much more dynamic, fun, and easier to enjoy, and create than they are now if they have the following features:

  • Full 3D - ready for VR/AR/XR technology
    • D’origami already showed the possibility
  • Fully Interactive - something we can act on, even directly editable
    • sheet and instruction in each step is fully engaged with the user interactions such as zooming, rotation, etc.
    • modifying sheet materials, background decorations, on-sheet paintings in-place
  • Animated - something dynamic, alive, and living creature-like
  • Hyperlinked - something smart eg. references to used bases or similar works or other media such as books or videos. Not anything new but seen enough from the web pages and ebooks nowadays.
  • Self-generated - automatically created from the user’s recorded folding steps. As more features are added artistic touch can also improve.

Now What

I’m starting to build a prototype of hyper-diagrams for showing how they work and get feedback from the users. Maybe I need another dedicated article for a detailed feature list of hyper-diagrams. Also working prototype itself is accessible to D’origami users.

Your feedback is highly wanted and appreciated. Leave comments or send a message to me “ at gmail dot com”.

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