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Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby bennybtl » May 27th, 2010, 8:30 am

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SK wrote:So perhaps human designers fag out after hand full of designs ?


I don't think you meant what you said, but I'm totally using that line. "Yeah, I was generating concepts, and then, well, I just fagged out, whatever" 8)

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby jzeng » May 27th, 2010, 8:48 am


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sanjy009 wrote:Wow, I just read through 206 replies. :!:

It appears from this thread (and the similarly entertaining "designers vs. engineers" thread http://boards.core77.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=20894&hilit=designers+engineers#p141631) that the industrial design process is not understood. Industrial Design is about human and technological interactions.

I see Generative Design, based on the examples in this thread, as Generative Styling.

All the examples of GD shown earlier do not show any consideration between the human/ technology interface. Using the mp3 example they have the same five buttons moved around a bit, hundreds of times. The value of design is observing how people use mp3 players, in what context, and working out solutions based on what people want/need. Do they use it in the left-hand or right-hand? one-handed with their thumb or in both hands like a game controller? where do they listen to mp3 players? what do they listen to? and a million other possible questions based on observation, intuition, personal experience, book smarts and so on. This is what determines where the buttons go, how many, what they do, what they are made of - not a SolidWorks design table.

Styling is important too, people like beautiful things and beautiful things work better (see Donald Norman).

I can see a role for GD, but at a superficial level. For industrial design GD is the Bat-computer, you ask it an obvious question and it spits out the correct answer:

Image


I'm interested in the posts on this thread so far. Having researched a while into this area doing my university thesis, I happened to stumble upon tools, such as generative design based on evolutionary algorithms, in many industrial engineering research papers of late. Other similar tools include shape morphing and shape grammer. For a while, I was sucked into the potential of these tools. Having a bunch of forms that are automatically generated and from which you can pick from and develop into potential products was incredibly appealing.

However, after researching deeper into this, I eventually came to a similar conclusion as sanjyoo9. Basically lets break down what we as designers are always trying to do - add value by creating meaning in products we design. What do we mean by meaning? Meaning is created on many levels - the visceral, the behavioural and the reflective (as termed by Norman). If we closely examine generative design tools, we find that these do indeed help us design better, but only in the visceral level of emotional design. If we drilled down even further, I would say that it is specifically aided in the visual aspect of design.

At the end of the day, what I would like to say is this. I don't think generative design should be dismissed as a tool, but do see it as a tool that aids the type of product we are designing. Generative design would probably be an excellent tool if we were to design say a mature product, where the behavioural aspect of it is not going to be redesigned and the reflective aspect is probably non-existent. An example, a computer mouse. Funtionally, we're all used to just putting our hands over it and we aren't going to be philosophisizing over the mouse. So, satisfying the visceral aspect is suffiicient to succeed in the market I guess.

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby bennybtl » May 27th, 2010, 9:10 am

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jzeng wrote: Generative design would probably be an excellent tool if we were to design say a mature product, where the behavioural aspect of it is not going to be redesigned and the reflective aspect is probably non-existent. An example, a computer mouse. Funtionally, we're all used to just putting our hands over it and we aren't going to be philosophisizing over the mouse. So, satisfying the visceral aspect is suffiicient to succeed in the market I guess.


I agree with you, and I don't think anyone here is discounting generative design as a tool. But, is "reskinning" a mature product without many fuzzy factors (such as a mouse) the sustainable future of design? I would say it is not.

(BTW, the mouse is reaching the end of it's life, though it may never go away completely. Touch screens and track pads and other things are replacing it. I use a pen/cintiq at a desk, and a trackpad on the go, even in 3D apps )

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby mrtwills » May 27th, 2010, 9:13 am

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nxakt wrote:SK, As yo has asked several times, I just read through again and do not find a response from you.

yo wrote:Have you ever brought a product to production? And if so, in what area? Have you gone through a full design process as outlined?

SK, you're argument for GD would go a long way if you could answer Yo's question. The fact that you have avoided it leaves us all to believe you can't answer it and thus it really kills your argument. From what I have read, designers are not against GD they are against using it exclusively as an answer to design. It seems to me it's only one step in the entire process of design.

Then again maybe you can't answer the question because you work for Skynet.
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Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby jzeng » May 27th, 2010, 9:29 am


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I agree with you, and I don't think anyone here is discounting generative design as a tool. But, is "reskinning" a mature product without many fuzzy factors (such as a mouse) the sustainable future of design? I would say it is not.


I think we may simply conclude that generative design is not a universal design tool for all product categories then.

It is true that reskinning doesnt really seem much, but consider the fact that many subsequent product development within a product line are essentially reskinning processes coupled with minor technical upgrades, no? These are the products that generate the most profit for companies. The breakthrough products, that are gonna 'change the world' are one in a million?

I would like to clarify that I'm not a adamant proponent of GD. I have enormous respect for the work of you as designers. It's just that I've been through this entire argument doing my thesis and this was what I wanted to highlight.

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby Greenman » May 27th, 2010, 10:24 am

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SK wrote:I suggest that we retain "medieval methods" as it symbolizes a period in design history where design was though to be purely a result of designers mental deliberation; " curious tools" because, its an equally silly concept.


Uh, periods of human history that embraced mental deliberation tended to be a transition away from medieval methods, often spanning periods of centuries before reformation occurred, so I don't think medieval is a good definition as much as "accepted" or "traditional" methods might be because ID is a relatively new process of design compared to something like blacksmithing or roof thatching, ID is hardly a perfected, established process, if it was we would have much more credibility that other established professions enjoy.

Calling it medieval is insulting because it suggests that, as a whole, Industrial Designers are resistant to new tools, processes, or ways of designing. Generalizing, criticizing, and mocking people is hardly a way to inspire them to experiment and change, no matter how empirical your data or how right you may actually be. This may be why your entrepreneurial foray into generative design tools was not a huge commercial success.
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Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby SK » May 27th, 2010, 10:31 am

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Ok I do not intend to mock nor insult, though I find many insulting nature's design process, which was not understood in medieval days. The monkey + typewriter story is an example. I have deep respect for both nature and science and I would appreciate some respect for those.

Let's replace medieval design with manual design.

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby Greenman » May 27th, 2010, 11:24 am

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I'm not sure how my Typewriting Monkey Theorem would have offended anyone, I used that as an example in the context of handing a generative design tool to a non-designer, something that some people hear fear. I was also making a point about intent and it's influence in using any tool. Earlier in the discussion some were talking about design tools in the hands of non-designers and I agree; garbage in, garbage out. Just like a typewriter in the hands of a monkey, but maybe that species will be able to write soliloquy's someday, maybe not, evolution will tell.
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Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby wods » May 27th, 2010, 2:18 pm


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SK Wrote
The answerer is simple. You don't even try. The complexity of it is beyond the reach of current computational process. Generative processes is a dumb assed process but an immensely powerful one. It can create great results, as nature does; provided the initial models are built sensibly (with some design intent) and selection is made intelligently. So, finally its about choice. It's designing by selection.


In your above reply, what stands out are this words,....selection is made intelligently. So, finally its about choice. It's designing by selection. This words suit gamblers, non creative people and to those grey market manufacturers(Duplicate product manufacturers). Industrial Design is a serious field and so is the work of designer's, where design or designing is not on the basis of intelligent selection, choice and design by selection. Creativity, imagination and vision is what designer's ingenuity, compared to any other field or people.

SK Wrote
I certainly seem more interest 5 years latter. I guess, man have heard about it now. But the ship has left the port for IDers.


This is what alienated most of the people including myself. Industrial Design and IDers role is very different which people need to look much closely.
Yes, I have mentioned before and many others have also said, Generative design(Curious tool) will be useful to designer's in every aspect and vice versa, but it will be only designer's ingenuity that can find meaning in those hundreds of design generated by generative design. Ship will never leave port for IDers or maybe people have become too curious :D

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby rkuchinsky » May 27th, 2010, 6:09 pm

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I've been following this for a while and really surprised what I'm hearing. To me, it's pretty simple.

1. I wouldn't call "Generative Design", Design. Engineering, perhaps. What it is in fact, is just the solving of a Linear Dynamical System of an n x m matrix, where the columns are n, and the rows are m, each column relating to an input and the rows relating to an outcome. I've been listening to a Stanford lecture on the subject recently, and while I'm no expert, this is exactly what it sound like to me. This method is very common in engineering, where you know the variables (ie. figuring out a launch trajectory for a rocket where you can control several factors - thrust, angle, weight, trim, etc.).

Design is about solving those problems where you don't have all the variables or can't quantify them.

2. As such, in real-world design, I can't see much use for this method. Very often, as has been mentioned, there are not only intangible factors (prettiness, style, modernism, etc.) but also the plain fact that even with the tangibles, not all solutions are optimal as in engineering (though in engineering, there is a way to weight the value/cost of each input and calculate more desirable outcome, for example if weight has a cost X in fuel, or size has a cost in materials).

3. In most real-world design, even if you were doing something basic, such as the garbage can or toy figure previously mentioned, by the sounds of it, even inputing these things is a slow, complex process. If as the previous posted mentioned, it takes two weeks to input such variables into a program, to me it sounds like a huge waste.

This is of course not to mention that for a good design, there are likely 1000s of individual variables that should be taken into account. A good designer can do so, placing different emphasis on different variables through experience and judgement.

4. Not to mention a good designer will not be creating all the useless variations that someone needs to weed through to find something decent. A real challenge would be having the generative method create 20 random designs and put those against 20 designs from a designer. I can pretty much guarantee that if scored (by a designer or consumer) that the designer's solutions would taken at a sum far outweigh the random.

It would take you 2 weeks to program and create CAD variations? I can sketch 1000 concepts before you even start generating one.

4. Bottom line, apart from perhaps some random patterns and such, I see no value in this method. Still, this is not really design, and even being compared to CAD is not fair. CAD is a tool, generative methods are a process. Big difference and obviously since the OP is not a designer, something I can see how it could be confused. Same way so many students think CAD is a process, rather than a tool and make pretty renderings of bad designs.

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Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby SK » May 29th, 2010, 3:21 am

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wods wrote:
,....selection is made intelligently. So, finally its about choice. It's designing by selection. This words suit gamblers.....


Selection is not gambling. It is a critical part of the manual design process. Designers always come out with multiple design possibilities before they narrow down to one. This happens thorough the design process at every level of detail and the final outcome is very much depended on these selections. Don't see the gambling element here.

wods wrote:
.... non creative people and to those grey market manufacturers(Duplicate product manufacturers). Industrial Design is a serious field and so is the work of designer's, where design or designing is not on the basis of intelligent selection, choice and design by selection. Creativity, imagination and vision is what designer's ingenuity, compared to any other field or people.


As far as companies are concerned, they pay designers to come up with designs that people are likely to buy. Their own existence depends on it. How the designers come up with the solution, they do not really care. They would certainly welcome the opportunity to select possibly through consumer testing designs that are likely to succeed, without shooting in the dark according to the hunches of the designer - which is exceedingly risky.


rkuchinsky wrote:
1. I wouldn't call "Generative Design", Design. Engineering, perhaps. What it is in fact, is just the solving of a Linear Dynamical System of an n x m matrix, where the columns are n, and the rows are m, each column relating to an input and the rows relating to an outcome..


This stuff that you describe happens more than 10,000 times every second in your PC and has no connection to curious tools.

rkuchinsky wrote:
Design is about solving those problems where you don't have all the variables or can't quantify them.

2. As such, in real-world design, I can't see much use for this method. Very often, as has been mentioned, there are not only intangible factors (prettiness, style, modernism, etc.) but also the plain fact that even with the tangibles, not all solutions are optimal as in engineering (though in engineering, there is a way to weight the value/cost of each input and calculate more desirable outcome, for example if weight has a cost X in fuel, or size has a cost in materials).


Curious tools are primarily for intangible complex issues that are beyond the capability of computational processes. There is plenty of other software to deal with the rest. No software that I know of is written to give human being a chance to calculate because it can do some calculations too. If a human being is involved, its primarily because that involvement is necessary.

rkuchinsky wrote:
3. In most real-world design, even if you were doing something basic, such as the garbage can or toy figure previously mentioned, by the sounds of it, even inputting these things is a slow, complex process. If as the previous posted mentioned, it takes two weeks to input such variables into a program, to me it sounds like a huge waste.


Did not say it takes weeks. Depends very much on the complexity. Running or the program takes less than 10 minutes. But then you need a properly structured CAD model. So this model building time is related to the CAD model building time. What you need to create is nothing more than a CAD model, but structured in way that it can be parametrically varied. I see that you design shoes. Once basic model is built, parts of it (that are common to all shoes) can be re-used many times allowing you to create many different designs. In a way this method forces efficiency on you as you need to build variable models instead of static models. So, the overall time that you spent on design will significantly reduce specially in cases where the product type remains the same.

rkuchinsky wrote:
4. Not to mention a good designer will not be creating all the useless variations that someone needs to weed through to find something decent. A real challenge would be having the generative method create 20 random designs and put those against 20 designs from a designer. I can pretty much guarantee that if scored (by a designer or consumer) that the designer's solutions would taken at a sum far outweigh the random.


It would be best to verify this. Would you like to participate in the planned "Manual method vs Curios Tools" contest ?

Else, you can try using Curious tools yourself and make your own conclusion. I would be happy to help you try it out, I am sure that you will be able to create some interesting shoe designs.

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby mrtwills » May 29th, 2010, 12:59 pm

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SK, do you have any complete concept to market case studies using GD for product design?

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby SK » May 30th, 2010, 7:53 am

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I have mentioned before IDers are not using Curious Tools for designing mass manufactured consumer products. There are some examples in light fitting and jewelery manufactured by rapid prototyping technologies. They are many years (I have estimated 5) behind Architects who are increasingly using Curious Tools. There are quite a few case studies in architecture.

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby yo » May 30th, 2010, 11:19 am

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Some one told me the other day that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results... this thread is starting to feel like that.

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby bennybtl » May 30th, 2010, 12:41 pm

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