Rethinking Origami: A Generative Specification of Origami Patterns with Shape Grammars

Ying Yu, Tzu Chieh Kurt Hong, Athanassios Economou, Glaucio H. Paulino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


As a ubiquitous paper folding art, origami has promising applications in science and engineering. Many software and parameterized methods have been proposed to draw, analyze and design origami patterns. Here we focus on the shape grammar formalism and the Shape Machine, a shape grammar interpreter that has managed to automate the seamless shape calculations that the shape grammar formalism advocates. Different from other origami pattern generation methods, shape grammars generate origami patterns through recursive applications of shape rewriting rules using lines and curves. Based on this concept, the transformations between some common origami patterns are reorganized following visual cues and reasoning. Four examples of generating origami pattern are presented to show the capability of Shape Machine in origami design, including construction, modification and programming of an origami pattern. The new origami designs inspired by this work prove that shape grammars and Shape Machine provide a perspective and modeling technique for creating origami tessellation patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103029
JournalCAD Computer Aided Design
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


  • Origami
  • Pattern Design
  • Shape grammar


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