How to render a hand-drawn image into polygons

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How to render a hand-drawn image into polygons

Postby CharlesWallace » September 9th, 2018, 7:36 pm

At the outset, I invite anyone who responds (with my thanks) to write your responses in a manner that is helpful for someone wishing to start out on the following. That is to say, at a level no more technical or jargon-heavy (and no less) than is necessary.

I have been folding for decades, but have never tried to take a sketch of a model I wish to fold and use a computer to help breath life into it. I'd like to. For the sake of having to start somewhere, let's use a stylized rhinoceros for an example. A sketched-on-paper image that is all straight lines and angles (no curves), and looks identical on both sides. I would like to learn how to convert it into polygons that would permit me to create a crease pattern that, in turn, would enable me to try and actually fold a model resembling my drawing.

So, here we go with testing the waters...
1) Am I correct in assuming a 2D sketch would be a sufficient starting point, and that this can begin as a drawing on paper? If not, please educate me on what a proper process(es) would be? (I'd like to start relative simple in this new area of personal origami exploration.)

1a) Is it better (in any way you wish to define this word) to have rendered the sketch on a computer and in one or more specific formats?

2) If on paper, I imagine this shape would then need to be scanned into some kind of software program that translated the drawing into a series of conjoined polygons needed to, in aggregate, represent the model. Again, if I am incorrect, or you have a more practical workflow in mind, please share it.

3) If we're good so far, am I correct that a model that has been rendered to represent a collection of polygons can then be render but a program like Origamizer to produce a crease pattern within the confines of a square piece of paper? Is there more than Windows-compatible program that is relatively easy to use than can do this?

Apologies in advance if I have skipped numerous intermediate steps that are not immediately obvious to me!

Ideally, I would love to try this process without having to dig deep (or least not too deep) and purchase the requite software to be successful. What I have available: I am using Windows, do not have Photoshop, don't code; have used Inkscape a little; I have an old Wacom drawing tablet; own a scanner; and am an experienced folder. (I hope some of that helps!) I would be grateful for any suggestions regarding workflow, resources, software, tutorials, etc. fellow folders can provide to help bring me up to speed in this grand experiement. In return, one day I hope to pass on this kind of instruction to others with questions..and share some of my models!

Happy folding (wet or dry) to all,
CW
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Re: How to render a hand-drawn image into polygons

Postby Baltorigamist » September 9th, 2018, 8:05 pm

If I understand what you're saying, you'd like to convert a drawing into an origami base with the same (similar?) shape as the initial sketch. That's something that's crossed my mind before, actually, but I think it would take a LOT of skill to pull off.

My first piece of advice would be to decide whether you want it to be 22.5- or grid-based. That would give you guidelines for how to approximate the intended shape.
The second (much harder) step is to figure out how to stack the layers in order to give such a shape. This might be easier with a grid-based model since there are more hard-and-fast rules for interior layers (i.e. those for tessellations).
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Re: How to render a hand-drawn image into polygons

Postby HankSimon » September 9th, 2018, 9:25 pm

As a non-answer, I suggest that you send private emails to David Brill, Robert Lang, J.C. Nolan, and Sara Adams, attaching a sample page, and asking them how they would proceed, with as much brief detail in explanation that you want. I think you'll recognize that these are very different artists with broadly different areas of experience and expertise in creating diagrams.

If you respect that each one is very smart and very busy, and you present the question for a concise reply, I believe that they will point you to approaches or answers, which may be different, but will point you to a clear practicable approach.

Historically, I think that each one has addressed this situation in different ways, and their overlap in decades of experience may offer a simple, convergent recommendation.
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Re: How to render a hand-drawn image into polygons

Postby Brimstone » September 9th, 2018, 10:57 pm

CharlesWallace wrote:...I would like to learn how to convert it into polygons that would permit me to create a crease pattern that, in turn, would enable me to try and actually fold a model resembling my drawing...


I don't see how turning an image into polygons would help you to create a crease pattern. The stick figure which is a previous step to the CP would be easily made from the image without having to convert it to polygons. So maybe I didn't understand your question correctly or maybe you're taking the wrong path to it.
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Re: How to render a hand-drawn image into polygons

Postby Tankoda » September 9th, 2018, 11:32 pm

Do you want to create a 3-D model like the things origamizer produces or would you like to fold a model like you see in most books that resembles your sketch?
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Re: How to render a hand-drawn image into polygons

Postby origami_8 » September 10th, 2018, 9:09 am

Sorry to disappoint you, but designing a model is not as simple as loading a drawing into a computer program and receiving ready to fold diagrams.

The only way I know to let a software turn your drawing into a CP is using tree maker and feeding it with a stick figure. But it's not as easy as it may sound and you won't necessarily get a nice, clean, easy to fold CP with a good folding sequence and easy to find reference points. Even if you do everything right you just end up with a base that has the desired amount of flaps, that you then have to convert into the desired model.
There are several approaches to designing a model and tree maker is not necessarily the easiest of those.
If you want to go in depth into designing you should read Origami Design Secrets (2) by Robert J. Lang. It is a huge book with lots and lots of information on designing models. Still there is no shortcut, you can either read up on the techniques behind Origami design or you figure it out all on your own. Sure you can just doodle around and look if you come up with a model, but that takes a lot more time in the end.

Personally I'd like to have a book of various authors that includes a "How I came up with this model" section for each model. I did this once for my horse, see last page: http://www.origami.at/diagrams/horse.pdf
It is just a dream right now but I already spoke with Nicolas Terry about it and he seemed interested in producing such a book. Main problem is probably to get all the authors to collaborate.
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Re: How to render a hand-drawn image into polygons

Postby origami_8 » September 10th, 2018, 10:15 pm

Oh and something else. I think it is a pretty bad idea to contact David Brill, Robert Lang, J.C. Nolan, and Sara Adams to bother them with such a question. They are all very lovely people, but I doubt they would be happy about such an email.
Let's take Robert Lang for example. Surely a very knowledgeable person in this field, so knowledgeable, that he wrote a huge book about the subject. If I were him my answer would be that I wrote a 760 pages long book about Origami Design Secrets, read it!
Going on to Sara Adams. As far as I'm aware she got a total of one single model she ever designed herself. Not quite the best person to ask on advice for such a topic. Her proficiency is making really good instructional videos of other people's models. Furthermore she's pretty busy right now, with her third baby boy.
Dave Brill's design technique is surely not by using any computer program. Even his diagrams are hand drawn.
Not sure what design technique J.C. Nolan uses, I don't know him in person, but still, I don't think it's advisable to contact anyone in private to ask such a question.
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Re: How to render a hand-drawn image into polygons

Postby steingar » September 11th, 2018, 6:45 pm

I have to agree with Anna about this, indeed the OP did come here. Unfortunately the OP is asking probably the world's most difficult question, "how do you make art". By all means read Robert's book, perhaps even give it a go on Treemaker and see how you do. Perhaps that will work for you, perhaps not.

For what its worth I've been folding since the Nixon administration and I doubt I could do what you're proposing, so I wouldn't feel all that badly about it. Besides, most of the really artistically gifted people I know are utterly miserable.
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Re: How to render a hand-drawn image into polygons

Postby Folderp » September 11th, 2018, 10:51 pm

If I'm understanding you correctly, you want to have large, flat polygons as part of your crease pattern. Shuki Kato is a genius with that. In his bison crease pattern there are 2 large flat uncreased areas either side of the center that form the two parts of the body, along with some other smaller polygons for leg areas.
ImageAmerican Bison 2014 CP by Shuki Kato, on Flickr
ImageAmerican Bison by Shuki Kato, on Flickr
If you can't see the areas in the cp or where they are on the finished model (or both), I can annotate the pictures for you. But to make a crease pattern like that, you're going to have to do it by hand, and you'll need some practice. But if you can work out how it's done, you can use it on all sorts of things, like a rhino.
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Re: How to render a hand-drawn image into polygons

Postby CharlesWallace » September 12th, 2018, 12:19 am

What a remark (and somewhat curious collection of responses)!

In deference and respect for everyone who replied (or may yet), I will try a simpler approach.
Folding other origamists' models has been lost none of it joy and challenge for me over the decades. But i have been trying to create original models--and feel free to define "original" as you feel best. What I was trying to convey (with questionable success) in my earlier posting was how/if a computer application could help in some manner based, in part, on what I would like to fold. No, I am not expecting a push a button and out pops puts a nice diagram set of instructions...Yoishizawa symbol set and all. And frankly, even if such a thing existed, it would sap the magic away from what we now manage to beckon from paper with little more than a bone folder.

I'm just looking for something perhaps a little more practical and in use now as a strategy for moving beyond what I do many an evening: sit down with several squares of paper and head off in different directions using both established bases and even some asymmetrical approaches. Oddly, after a lot of late nights and a lot of profoundly abstract-looking shapes, these random forays sometimes reveal a hint of shape that has potential to be rendered into something more lifelike. Or at least recognizable. This process is remarkably (or perhaps inexplicably) fun for me, but I sense I may not be putting my folding skills to their best use in approaching the process based on a mixture of randomness, knowing what some kinds of folds can lead to, and hoping I've not folded/tucked away paper I should be using!

Okay, let's try this...

Let's use the "one hundred monkeys and 100 typewriters" scenario for those who know what I am referring to. (I'm willing to bet a least one reader will know, or Google the reference to death...) I'm bound to--and have--come up with something promising from time to time. But are there processes--and I am especially interested in computer applications for those lacking PhDs that could augment or enhance what I am doing now?

Does this long-winded response help those of you who were wondering what I was trying to convey? Fell free to share approaches that have worked for you as you have, systematically or not, tried to produce your own models.

Not that I mind experimenting with the topography of mountain and valley folds...and everything else that goes with it...but I sense there are other, perhaps less random directions to take in introducing a flat sheet of paper to something it never imagined before.

Happy (and clean) inside sinks to everyone!
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Re: How to render a hand-drawn image into polygons

Postby Tankoda » September 12th, 2018, 4:18 am

Thank you for clarifying. Read Origami Design Secrets Second Edition.
It explains all of the theory and technique behind technical designing, as well as how to use treemaker for designing origami. I have been able to adapt the knowledge from there into using other basic geometry programs for designing.
But start with ODS. Its a little pricey but ENTIRELY worth it.
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