Generative Design

The future of CAD

What’s driving Generative Design

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Adoption” is something that all new technologies struggle with. Adoption is what finally shapes the very technology that is being adopted.  It picks up what is most useful and puts the rest  in cold storage.

Generated Worlds

We now live in a world of generated designs. Our children play in procedurally generated worlds and we  enjoy movies that are not be possible if code did not create content. Generated digital content is all around us.

However, in the real world things are different. Many decades ago academics, first proposed,  discovered and dabble in these new possibilities, but  they have failed to make a dent in the practice of design which had been left safely  or unsafely in the hands of  CAD companies. CAD companies were tool builders for the design trade focused on profits and market share  by  creating  “efficiencies”  that could help justify the price tag.  The drop in design fees and the need to create geometric complexity (without additional cost)  has further fueled the drive for efficiency.

The changes in CAD systems are driven by the desire for higher efficiencies

Efficiencies however, cannot be improved purely by improving the tools.  Henry Ford proved that  great efficiencies can be gained purely by changing the work process with minor tweaks to the tools.  But CAD companies were not in the business of selling “Design Thinking”. Universities were. But then, universities were not in the business of “delivering the goods” – so there we are.

We now have a situation where CAD industry linked entities  like Autodesk University and Smart Geometry and other independent firms such as Mode are developing and leading the belated changes in work processes. This is a positive step and we are seeing some real progress.

Like it or not, Design is about the management of information.

But in the case of design, this information needs to be in a fluid state. It needs to be changed and altered all the time. As the complexity of the design increases this becomes a major burden. Every time a change is made a large number of other changes have to be made. If information is stored in a disconnected way (which is usually the case) this can become a nightmare. If it is structured appropriately and seamlessly connected, then changes can be made easily and new possibilities can be rapidly and painlessly explored. This is what generative design is helping us to do at this stage.

Its helping us manage changes in design – due to the intelligent structuring of  information

So this is what generative design is doing now creating efficiencies. What it can do is something else.


Written by Sivam Krish

January 14, 2010 at 12:16 pm

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