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Paper Kaleidocycles effect plugin

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This plugin allows the digital image editor "Paint.NET" to create nets for kaleidocycles.
A kaleidocycle is a ring of pyramids which can be twisted inwards and outwards to show
different sides of the pyramids. See the simple example of an animated kaleidocycle:

PaperKaleidocycleRYGB.gif    PaperKaleidocycleRYGBSteps.jpg

In Paint.NET you are able to fill the visible sides of the models with your own images.

Then save and print the net. Cut out the model, fold it, glue it together, and play with the result.

Or do a 3D visualization of your kaleidocycle.


Find the latest version >>  PaperKaleidocycles 1.3 (24.1.2013)

Unzip "PaperKaleidocycles vX.X.zip" and copy the plugin (.dll file) into the "Effects" folder
of your Paint.NET installation. A typical location is "C:\Program Files\Paint.NET\Effects".
After a restart of Paint.NET you will find the plugin under Menu->Effects->Tools.


Language support

  • English
  • Deutsch: Ist in Paint.NET als Sprache 'Deutsch' ausgewählt, dann sind auch die Dialogtexte und die Texte auf der erzeugten Seite in deutscher Sprache.

Package content

  • The effect dll
  • PaintDotNET.DinA4Landscape300dpi.pdn and PaintDotNET.LetterLandscape300dpi.pdn are empty template files for Paint.NET
  • PaperKaleidocycleDinA4Example.pdf and PaperKaleidocycleLetterExample.pdf are examples to skip the process of generating a kaleidocycle net in Paint.NET. So if you just like to test printing, cutting, folding, and glueing then use an example.
  • PaperKaleidocycleDinA4Smileys.pdf and PaperKaleidocycleLetterSmileys.pdf are examples
  • PaperKaleidocycleRYGB.gif is an animated GIF file to demonstrate the cycling.


  1. Create a new image in the size of the paper you like to use (here Din A4)
    Open the Paint.NET 'New' dialog
    Set 'Resolution' to 300 dpi (pixels/inch)
    Set 'Pixel size.Width' to 3508
    Set 'Pixel size.Height' to 2480
    This will create a landscape A4 page (29.7cm x 21cm)
    You may save this empty image in Paint.NET file format (.pdn) and set it to read only. This way you can double click the file to open it in Paint.NET as a paper template.
  2. Open plugin (Menu->Effects->Tools->Paper Kaleidocycles)


    Because effect plugins are not able to figure out unit and resolution of the image you have to set both values first. Now set the mode to 'Design' and choose your model.

    If you selected 'Hexagonal kaleidocycle' then you will see the shape of four hexagons in the selected size in the main window. The content of the shape is the previous layer data.


    Instead of 'Keep layer data in template' you may choose one of the examples. The image above shows the 'Letter & numbers' example in the top views.

    Click OK to finish this step.
  3. Fill in the hexagons with your own images. It doesn't matter if you are overpainting the area outside of the hexagons. The plugin will ignore these areas later. An other way is to do step 2. on a new transparent layer. Then you can place your images on the layer below, move them to the right position and merge the layers.
  4. Open plugin (Menu->Effects->Tools->Paper Kaleidocycles) again.
    Now set the mode to 'Output' (don't change the other parameters).
    The plugin will render the net. If you used the 'Leters & numbers' example before then you will get the following result in the main window:PaperKaleidocyclesOutput.jpgClick OK to finish this step.
  5. Print the image. OK this sounds easier than it is because the build-in printing is limited.

    You will get better result by saving the image as PDF using the ImPDF plugin (with the default settings). Then print the PDF with a PDF viewer (Set 'Page Scaling' to 'None' in the print dialog).

    But as long as the aspect ratio of the printed page is not destroyed and you do not care about the exact size of the kaleidocycle you can still go on.
  6. Follow the instructions on the paper.
  7. Take the model in both hands so that top view 'A' is visible. Now twist the model to see top view 'B', 'C', and 'D'.



There is an additional mode called 'Visualization'. It renders top, front, right, and bottom view

of the model to the main window. By changing the cycle state property you can see your model in different states. Here is an example of an star kaleidocycle:





More options


  • Instead of 'Design based on top views' you may choose 'Design based on mirroring/rotating a triangle'. This way it is easier to fill the faces with a pattern.
  • 'Model orientation and rotation': Allows you to adapt the 'Rotatable view' in visualization mode.
Edited by Ego Eram Reputo
Added link to zipped DLL
  • Upvote 1
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Ah. Now I understand! Great use of animation to explain what the plugin does.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ah. Now I understand! Great use of animation to explain what the plugin does.

I know for this kind of plugin you have to spend a little bit more time for documentation.

Great to see that it makes some sense.

I have to say, the animation is not generated by the plugin. I hope there will be time to do this in the future.

The next version will contain a simple 3D visualization mode to see the effect of cycling.

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v1.2 (12.1.2013)
- New models: Star kaleidocycles (decagonal .. icosagonal)
- New mode: 'Visualization': To show the effect of cycling (Top, front, right, and bottom side view)
- Renamed 'Print' mode to 'Output' mode
- Renamed 'Square' kaleidocycle to 'Octagonal' kaleidocycle
- Changed property 'Outer diameter' to 'Outer radius'

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does that animation remind anyone else of hexaflexagons?

Looks like a cool plugin! <downloads>

Edited by pdnnoob


what I do all summer Emote Cursor Pack 'noob gallery

No, Paint.NET is not spyware...but, installing it is an IQ test. ~BoltBait

Blend modes are like the filling in your sandwich. It's the filling that can change your experience of the sandwich. ~Ego Eram Reputo

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v1.3 (24.1.2013)
- Added some examples which can be used in the different modes
- Output mode: Added folding markers to the net and removed the inner lines of the net
- Output mode: Added 3D view of the folded model
- Visualization mode: Added 3D rotation controls
- Design mode: Added design based on a single triangle (mirroring or rotating of the triangle)
- Design mode: Added information about the number of pyramids, faces, edges, and vertices
- Design mode: Added the uncolered 3D model
- Design & Example mode: Removed but added an template or example choice selector to design mode

All the examples are based on stock images free for non-commercial usage. I.e.





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I finally got around to trying this...

This will probably keep me occupied for a few weeks. I'm not the greatist origami artist, but its simple enough that even I can figure it out.

Very nicely done!


what I do all summer Emote Cursor Pack 'noob gallery

No, Paint.NET is not spyware...but, installing it is an IQ test. ~BoltBait

Blend modes are like the filling in your sandwich. It's the filling that can change your experience of the sandwich. ~Ego Eram Reputo

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  • 4 months later...

Added link to zipped DLL.

  • Like 1
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