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Some of the different types of origami software are programs that 1) offer complete three dimensional (3D) modeling based on crease patterns, 2) assist with creating origami diagrams, 3) allow mobile phones to display creation instructions, and 4) provide instruction for children. 3D modeling origami software can be very useful for individuals who are interested in creating their own origami designs or who are interested in seeing what the final result of an origami project would look like if it were to be built with real paper. Origami software intended for children or beginners may also be useful for anyone who is new to origami folding. The cost of origami software can vary, ranging from completely free programs to more expensive software.
In origami terminology, the crease pattern refers to the pattern of folds which a piece of origami paper acquires after having been folded into its intended shape. Origami programs that offer full 3D modeling are generally capable of allowing the user to create a crease pattern of any type. The user can then use the software to test what the crease pattern would look like if a piece of paper was folded in the way displayed within the software. 3D origami applications of this type often have other features that allow the user to modify the size of the virtual paper, keep track of a particular folding pattern, and use color coding, if desired.
Origami software to suit a particular individual's skill level or budget can usually be found. There are mobile phone applications for origami. This kind of software can allow folders to have easy access to origami programs, without having to be near a computer. Open source releases of origami software are available as are completely free programs. Software with a large number of features does not always come with a high price tag, but more expensive applications often do have a wide array of functions that are suitable for origami experts.
As an alternative to books with origami folding instructions, there are origami software programs produced that offer simple folding instructions. This kind of software may come packaged with a preset number of designs and may also allow the user to create his or her own instructions. The instructions can usually then be printed out in a simple-to-follow format for the user to share or follow themselves. Much like origami instruction software, children's origami programs help the child to create simple origami crafts. These programs are usually easy to use and can serve as an introduction to origami folding.