General technique discussion

General discussion about Origami, Papers, Diagramming, ...

General technique discussion

Postby Morgan » October 22nd, 2008, 5:23 pm

when i got into origami, i would always make sure that all the corners were aligned and that the raw edges were perfect. this very often led to unevenness, because the perfect square is hard to obtain without the proper equipment. so one must develop ways to work with the materials given etc. the thing is that you can still make resonably decent model without the perfection of the material... this i would like to get into more with you all here. for example:

you try to fold a preliminary base, and make the corners all align and you think you got it, then you collapse this simple base, and your resulting eges are wonky. the key here is that the edges arent so much what you want to align i think. its more... you want to make sure that your "folds" are aligned.

start with which ever you feel would be the most acurate crease..most of the time for me it is a horizontal crease, because almost never can i get my diagonal creases to be perfect.so you make your two creases,horizontal and verticle. instead of eyeballing the diagonal based on the corners of the paper, try to align the folds you just made. the vertical crease should lie in reference to the horizontal one you just made...on both sides..so when you collapse the base, the flaps might not be perfect, but at least the base sides are even.

well this is one thing i have come up with and i was curious if anyone else has any basic techniques or critisism for working with their materials. i mean as we all know, paper creep is a reality, and you just simply have to work with what you have. :)

i have heard once before on this forum, about when you have to reverse a fold...make it into a mountain crease when it was a valley, to make sure to smooth out that crease before you attempt it. this was some incredibly valuable advise! many times have new creases been created when i novicely tried to just reverse the fold, and ended up with a new uneven crease. anyway, hoping to open up some discussion about these things...
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Postby qtrollip » October 22nd, 2008, 5:37 pm

Interesting discussion.

Ja, I've found that the horizontal and vertical creases are more accurate to follow.
When folding a horizontal crease, double up the existing vertical crease on itself instead of aligning the raw edges. This will ensure 90 degrees between the creases, whereas aligning the raw edges could result in a discrepency.
Anyway, it's hard to explain in words, but I hope you get what I mean.

Maybe drawn examples will be more effective for this discussion.

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Postby Visionary » October 22nd, 2008, 6:10 pm

Actually, I found that I can often get very exact preliminary bases. I am making my own paper which I have to cut into square size first. For this I use a method for folding a roughly square-sized paper into a triangle similar to the preliminary base and then cutting the remaining paper off (a video of this process - I believe from Sara Adams - can be found on youtube). Using this approach the preliminary base folds end up being so exact, that I cannot make out any discrepancies on the corners or edges.

However, this is a kind of cheating, as I am basically cutting off the inadequant(sp?) parts of the paper. Hence, the original problem of paper creep occurs again when continuing from the preliminary base.

I found paper creep especially problematic with the selfmade tissue-foil-tissue papers. For one thing the three layers do give the paper a considerable height, such that a single layer fold edge can take away something between ~0.1-0.5mm of paper. And the other problem with the foil in-between is that it is very bad for valley/mountain reversing which significantly contributes to paper creep.

As I'm just an origami beginner I cannot really add any great techniques to this discussion, but just wanted to point out that you can pretty much avoid paper creep for the preliminary base, and that it's much worse with aluminium foil between the tissue layers. I'm experimenting these days with double tissue paper without the foil and so far found it much better in terms of paper creep, although still significantly worse than a single sheet. I guess the more layers of paper the worse.
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Postby howtoorigami » October 23rd, 2008, 3:48 am

I was just watching a video of Kamiya Satoshi folding the Phoenix. He seems to use a kind of paper very different from the regular japanese origami paper. I was wondering if anybody knows why he uses this kind of paper (that according to that show he makes himself)? I have also noticed that in the most complex models, the authors tend to use "softer" paper, which usually is harder to use for folding, at least in my experience. I am guessing that the incredible amount of folds this models require make it impossible to do on a harder medium and would eventually lead to the paper ripping at some points.

Maybe the last part was a little offtopic, but this other question might not be so much. On this same show with Kamiya Satoshi, the paper does not seem to be so perfectly square, yet after all the pre-creasing is done, the base and the subsequent model come out nicely. If anybody else has seen the video, maybe you can have an insight on this. If you haven't, just search Kamiya Satoshi Phoenix in youtube.
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Postby angrydemon » October 23rd, 2008, 4:49 am

I think it's Origamido paper. Kamiya uses it to fold a lot of his models.

Maybe the last part was a little offtopic, but this other question might not be so much. On this same show with Kamiya Satoshi, the paper does not seem to be so perfectly square, yet after all the pre-creasing is done, the base and the subsequent model come out nicely.

In reality, it is nearly impossible to cut a perfect square. All squares have slight defects. It's just that in a very large sheet like the one used to fold the phoenix, the defects are more noticeable. But when you finish folding it, the model should look perfectly fine.
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Postby Max » October 23rd, 2008, 7:19 am

I would recommend everybody to spend far more time in shaping the model then in overaccurate folding. Yes, you need to be precise, at some models you need to be very precise, but do not forget to spend enough time in shaping.

For me, the shaping of a model is always the critical step. When dry-wet-folding you can easyly ruin everything with applying too much water at the wrong parts. So i am always a bit scared to take the model over that final hill *g*
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Postby ahudson » October 23rd, 2008, 7:54 am

I remember somebody (LaFosse maybe?) saying that most folders spend 70% of their time folding the base, and 30% shaping... but that it should be the other way around, 30% folding the base and 70% shaping.

If you fold Chris Palmer's Flower Tower (or any related model) you'll start to realize how flawed most paper is-- across four or five iterations, the inaccuracies increase exponentially.
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Postby floopate » October 23rd, 2008, 8:37 am

i noticed that the larger the square the more noticeable the deficiencies in the square are. (i get so stressed about non-perfect squares that i used to cut out again and again.)

Thanks for the tips about not letting a little discrepancy in the supposedly perfect square throw me off. it used to and still kinda does sometimes.

and yeah, i totally agree about the shaping folds... i spend almost twice the time it takes me to fold the model to do the shaping folds! but thats cuz im not very used to (nor very good at) shaping folds i guess. Lol!

Thanks for the advice again!
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Postby origamimasterjared » October 23rd, 2008, 7:25 pm

For the most part, when it comes to complex origami, regular Japanese origami paper is a pretty poor medium. There are a number of reasons for this:

    In general, big pieces look better than small ones. Origami paper tends to come small (I've seen no larger than 35 cm squares).

    And when it comes to folding some of the details in these complex works, large paper is a must. Satoshi uses squares of 1-2 meters often.

    Also, origami paper isn't all that strong. A few too many sharp creases, and you'll find yourself with a hole in your paper.

    While origami paper is pretty good at holding a crease (and allowing you to reverse it), it can't handle an excessive number of layers (thickness) very well.

    Origami paper is cheap. This is good as far as price goes, but it is also very cheaply made. The reason it was colored on only one side was not so that origami folders could make use of color changes, but because only one side really needed to be seen, so the factories would just dye that side to save costs. This is still the case, but now we often use the reverse side for color-changes. Also, the paper is not pH-balanced, meaning that over time it will fade/disintegrate.

    As far as realism is concerned, the colors are awful. They're usually a very harsh, flat solid color, unlike any found in nature. Looks great for geometric stuff, but looks nothing like an animal typically. (White often looks good still)

Those are just a few reasons I thought of.

Satoshi predominantly uses Origamido paper. This is handmade at Michael LaFosse and Richard Alexander's Origamido Studio. As this is designed by a nature-realism origami artist, this is supposed to be the ultimate in paper for origami art. It's not just one kind of paper though. You choose some fibers from which to make the paper, and then make it from scratch. You can choose harder fibers for say insects, and softer for birds. They do have some already made though. Satoshi studied papermaking there [for I think a year] and made a ton of the stuff. It's not cheap, at around $10 a sheet, but it's some of the best money can buy.

As far as it being not perfectly square when he folds it, I doubt it. It's probably just the angle in the video.

Origamido is not the only super paper around, but it is the only one manufactured by an origami artist for other origami artists. Other high quality papers we use range from unryu and lokta to kozo and gampi.

Of course using these high quality papers requires a lot more work than origami paper. Usually this means adding methyl-cellulose (MC) to the paper, (search the forum for plenty of information on how and why we do this), and often many hours of wet-finishing.

Another readily available low-end paper is Japanese foil. It's nice for folding, allows you to position/shape your model quite well, but it is (typically) just dreadful to look at. It is great for practice if you can get it in large enough sizes (preferably larger than the typical 15 cm)

Then there are the decent halfway papers, such as tissue foil (a sheet of aluminum foil glued between two sheets of tissue paper) and the more recent and far superior double tissue paper, which is two sheets of tissue back-coated to each other with MC (Again, search the forum to read all about both of these).

Some people also like to fold large heavy paper. This is typically done by dampening the paper and then folding (wet-folding). You can also fold it dry, but due to its springiness, tension-folding is your best bet.


As for me, I fold with various kinds of paper. I mainly use origami paper, since it's so cheap and available, but when I have display in mind, unless it's geometric, I go for something else. I've never used origamido, but I look forward to the opportunity to do so.

Also, check out this topic on paper: viewtopic.php?t=49

Hope all this helps!
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Postby origami_8 » October 23rd, 2008, 8:35 pm

I've had the opportunity to fold with one kind of Origamido paper once but haven't found it so mind blowing. I suppose it depends a lot on what kind of Origamido paper you use, but for the moment I prefer two layers of tissue paper glued together with MC.
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Postby origami_8 » October 24th, 2008, 8:15 pm

Subject folding tips: If you make a mistake repeat it on the other side. No one will notice if it looks the same from both sides (on symmetrical models) but everybody will know that you made something wrong if something appears on only one side of the model.
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