Desktop origami in your browser: Paper Critters
They're cute. They're cuddly. They're made out of...paper?
For DIY nuts out there, the Web is a source of plentiful project ideas and guides. It's also the home of a handful of paper craft projects, the kind you can print out and put together with a little bit of glue and ingenuity. A new, and really neat one got sent our way this weekend. It's called Paper Critters, and it's a Web-based creation tool for making your own desk art in the form of a boxlike creature. You can edit all five sides of it using a simple drag-and-drop editor with a variety of stamps and drawing tools. There's also a custom stamp that lets you use an image from your hard drive.
When finished putting everything together, there are several ways to share you work, including a printout feature that comes complete with step-by-step instructions. There's an e-mail tool and a permalink to send to others on your usual e-mail client, or via IM. My favorite is the embed code, which lets you drop it into a blog or Web site.
Once a critter has been shared, it goes into a group collective called "The Colony." From there, anyone can give it a look and add it to their favorites list. There's also a section for user comments. The real killer application is being able to edit other peoples' work and customize it. While this won't be reflected on their original, if you see something someone else has made, you can print it out yourself, or make alterations.
I've embedded an example of a 3-D Paper Critter. I've also been told by creator JR Fabito that a Facebook Application could be on the way. If you're into these kinds of projects, there are countless blogs dedicated to chronicling Web-syndicated paper crafts. Two of my favorites are Paper Forest and PaperKraft.net--both offer some serious eye candy and links to other projects.
Disclosure: Paper Critters creator JR Fabito is an ex-CNET employee and one of the designers of Webware.com.