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I want to make an animation of folding origami, so I want to know how to animate the rotation of a plane around an axis.

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Very good question. I've wondered the same thing before. – Keavon Feb 5 '14 at 5:43
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I remember making an animation folding a crane in the past.

It involved making a real crane, unfolding it then cutting a plane mesh where the folds are in the real one. You have to double up on each cut as real paper folds have a little thickness.

Then add an armature with a bone for each plane, joined at the doubled hinges, then animate the armature.

I'll see if I can dig up the blend file and provide a clearer explanation. The thing I remember most it's that it is not trivial! Don't expect it to be done in an hour.

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Thank you!! I realized your helpful advice and I decided to make origami with your method. I tried to fold a plane in half with armature, but I couldn't do it well. This is result. result, Mesh How do I set a bone to plane to fold? You said folding Origami wasn't trivial, but I wanna never give up it, so I really appreciate your help! – Momoko Feb 6 '14 at 4:29
I'm sorry, I could only fold in half. this is result. I didn't select vertex groups! – Momoko Feb 6 '14 at 5:59
Could you provide stack.imgur-Links? These are unavailable any more. – Samoth Jan 21 at 10:02

There is an addon called AnimAll that you may want to activate. watch this tutorial

You may find that custom transform orientations can be helpful to define the centre of rotation.

Another tip is to select two vertices and then ShiftS Cursor to selected and set pivot point to 3dCursor. This really only helps if the line is parallel to an axis.

enter image description here

enter image description here

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Thank you for your advice!! I didn't know this addon at all, so I try it! thank you. – Momoko Feb 6 '14 at 3:45

Interesting question. I am not really sure what the best approach is. So I did some experimentation and this seems like one way to do it:

  1. Start with a plane. Subdivide/Knife where you want to fold the sheet. Create a basis shape key.
  2. Use a separate shape key to record each folding step. Subdivide/Knife the geometry as necessary as you go. Set Pivot Point to 3D cursor.
  3. Throw in a Bevel modifier to create the 'crease' in the paper.
  4. Animate the shape keys.

enter image description here

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Thank you for your advice!! I tried same way as yours the other day and rotation was success, but animation was failed. In shape key animation, a rotating point passes through the shortest distance to a rotated point. – Momoko Feb 6 '14 at 4:42

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