Fantastic origami animals

Via Buzzfeed come these stunning origami insects made by artist Brian Chan, and they’re made from a single sheet of uncut paper.

I’ve never seen origami so detailed and realistic. Here are a few examples, and you can see more here (go have a look).

Flying grashopper:

Helmet beetle:

Fiddler crab:

Salamander:

And, for P.Z., despite his continual harassment via “Anti-Caturday” posts, here’s The Attack of the Kraken:

Finally, a mayfly:

And lest you think this is a hoax, here’s the single-sheet outline for the mayfly.  I’m told you can design things like this now on the computer:

21 Comments

  1. Lori Way
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    If you like origami, be sure to see the film, “Between the Folds.”

    http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/between-the-folds/

  2. Still learning
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Absolutely incredible! Beautiful work.

  3. Posted January 6, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Very nice!

    You might want to check out the work of Robert Lang, who was featured in the (excellent) film Between the Folds.

  4. Mixolydian
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    If you enjoy origami you should check out the work of Satoshi Kamiya, the undisputed modern master of the art.

    Watch him fold a phoenix (10 hours, 1361 folds), YouTube link: ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k64BDUir3_Y

    You can see his work at his homepage sorted by subject: http://www.folders.jp/g/s/index.html

  5. Jen
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Wow!!! These are great and the photos are well-made, too. The textural, colored backgrounds set off the paper creatures nicely.

  6. Posted January 6, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    The software is called TreeMaker

    http://www.langorigami.com/science/computational/treemaker/treemaker.php

  7. Michael Sternberg
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Wow. My first instict was: “uncut” – really?

    I cannot quite wrap my mind around on how to get the many protrusions for the legs and antennae of insects. But seeing the repeated assertions of “uncut” on the MIT page (not that this makes it true per se) and the numerous converging fold lines at the center of circles on the patterns I gather that those are the relevant vertices.

    I saw circle packing mentioned as well, and was reminded of the tremendous math of paperfolding.

  8. Michael
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Wow! Timelapse video of one of these being folded please!

  9. JBlilie
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Wow!

  10. NewEnglandBob
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    OK, I see the layout above. Where is the first fold? Which fold is next? …

  11. bugfolder
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    NewEnglandBob asked: “Where is the first fold? Which fold is next?”

    In Chan’s Mayfly design, and nowadays, many complex origami figures, there is NO “first fold.” Traditional origami designs had a step-by-step folding sequence because they tended to be developed incrementally from existing patterns, but the most complex origami figures are designed all at once, using techniques like the “circle packing” mentioned earlier. In these designs, all of the creases interact in such a way that you can’t fold them one at a time; you have to make them all (or a large number of them) come together at once.

    Brian Chan has a video up showing the construction of his MIT logo “in 3 easy steps”, where the second of those steps is what’s called the “collapse” — bringing all of those creases together at the same time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9h1Og9KdL08

    Given the name of this blog, it is hard to resist calling this property of modern origami “irreducible complexity.” But then, these works by Brian are, without question, intelligently designed!

    • bugfolder
      Posted January 6, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      “Given the name of this [dirty word deleted]”

      Sorry: “Given the name of this website, it is hard…”

      Apologies all around.

  12. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    “I’m told you can design things like this now on the computer”

    In fact you must design them on a computer. Foldings of this complexity simply weren’t possible prior to the invention of origami software.

    • bugfolder
      Posted January 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Gregory Kusnick said:

      “In fact you must design them on a computer. Foldings of this complexity simply weren’t possible prior to the invention of origami software.”

      Actually, the first part of that isn’t so, and all of the origami artists mentioned earlier in this comment thread provide the evidence: most of their designs are created using the equivalent of pencil-and-paper, with software used only to make nice drawings (and it’s not specific to origami, e.g., Adobe Illustrator). in Brian Chan’s case, many of his designs truly ARE pencil-and-paper. (His notebooks are impressive.)

      The second part is somewhat true, in that the development of complex origami design techniques evolved roughly in parallel with the development of origami-specific design software. But the design algorithms can still be applied by individuals working by hand (and there are good reasons for doing so), and for the type of complex origami highlighted above, even today, most designs do not require specialized origami software.

    • Mixolydian
      Posted January 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Not true. Follow the link to Robert Lang’s TreeMaker software provided by Rob #6.

      Lang writes:

      And that opens up another question: if you are an origami composer (or wish to be), do you need to use TreeMaker? The answer is: absolutely not. The vast majority of the world’s composers of technical origami don’t use it; in fact, I don’t use it for the majority of my own designs.

      • Gregory Kusnick
        Posted January 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        On the other hand, he also says this:

        In fact, version 4 of TreeMaker could solve for crease patterns that I couldn’t construct by any other way — by which I mean, using pencil and paper….

        TreeMaker allows one to set up quite elaborate relationships between flaps, their lengths, and their angles: far more complex relationships than are possible using pencil-and-paper origami design. Which meant that it was now possible, with TreeMaker, to solve for origami bases that truly were more complicated than anything a person could design by hand.

  13. bugfolder
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    “it was now possible, with TreeMaker, to solve for origami bases that truly were more complicated than anything a person could design by hand.”

    Yes, it was *possible*; but then, and now, most complex origami design doesn’t require it.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted January 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Fair enough; perhaps “must” was too strong a word. But I think the point remains that computerized design aids aren’t just incidental accessories (as Jerry seemed to imply) but in fact deserve much of the credit for pushing the art forward to new levels.

  14. NyankoSensei
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    I love origami, but have trouble with the more complex pieces. I bought a book about Hawaii themed origami. They had instructions for a gekko that looks like the salamander in the pictures. I just couldn’t get the toes right.
    Thanks for posting these fantastic pictures. I feel inspired to try the little gekko again.

  15. Posted January 7, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Astounding ingenuity and skill

  16. Posted January 8, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Jaw-dropping!


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