Browser-based tools for Parametric Modeling & Generative Design

Issue #09

I’m Vignesh Kaushik. I curate and write articles on Thank God It’s Computational to help architects, designers, and urban planners leverage cutting-edge technologies on AEC projects.

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3D Modelling

Vectary: 3D Subdivision Modeling in your Browser

Vectary aims to combine mesh modeling, subdivision modeling and parametric design–all apparent from the interface layout and initial features and toolset. At it’s core is a polygonal modeler, but It’s also incredible easy to get started with modeling organic shapes and modifying them. It also has repository of parametric plugins and useful tools that makes creating complex shapes much simpler.

Parametric Design

Mobius: Parametric Modeling in your Browser

Möbius is a visual programming environment for creating parametric models on the browser. Unlike other tools that lets you only visualize a parametric model, Mobius allows you to create complex parametric procedures (with encapsulation, looping etc.) in the browser itself. This makes a man like me very happy since I don’t have to deal with the Spaghetti code of Grasshopper. Mobius is being developed by Dr.Patrick Janssen & Team in NUS, Singapore.

The geometry you see in the image is generated using only 4 nodes!

The geometry you see in the image is generated using only 4 nodes!

Speckle: Explore Grasshopper Models in your Browser

Speckle aims to allow users to share, display, and explore parametric models in a web browser. Their beta release allows users to export design spaces from Grasshopper and to share those spaces with collaborators. Both slider and parallel coordinates modes are available with Speckle.

Fractal: Explore Dynamo Models in your Browser

Like Speckle, Fractal uses sliders and parallel coordinate plot to navigate within a design space that was authored in Dynamo. However instead of exporting entire design spaces, Fractal runs Dynamo graphs on the cloud in real time, and stores computed iterations in a database. This is a good example of using a horizontally-scaling web application to generate design spaces.

Generative Design

Design Explorer: Multi-Dimensional Parametric Studies in your Browser

Design Explorer is an interface that lets you visualize and filter design iterations scattered across a vast, high-dimensional possibility space. The design space data is generated by traversing the parametric model in an automated fashion – either with a brute force solver or an optimization algorithm such as Galapagos.. After all of the data has been generated, it is hosted somewhere on the web (Google Drive, Amazon S3, or your own server). Users can then investigate individual design iteration by clicking on a thumbnail and reviewing a full size image and a 3D model.

Cubes: 3D Cellular Automata in your Browser

Cellular automata are systems consisting of a lattice (grid) of cells and a rule governing the cells’ evolution. As the system steps forward (evolves), the rule governing each cells’ on-off state is applied to determine the new configuration of cells. This is one of the most comprehensive tool to explore cellular automata in 3D.