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Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby Travisimo » May 18th, 2010, 6:34 am

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the generative designer.. 12:50, press return

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Seriously though, to get a computer to spit out 10 quality concepts, or to even pick 10 good ones from your 1000s of generative iterations... you are still going to have to understand the design problem and customer, input all the key variables in careful ways, and spend the time to refine whatever get's spit out. It's going to take just as much time to do it (with the target consumer in mind), and I still don't think you would be able to capture all the critical information needed to generate the best solution - the human brain mixes variables in ways computers cannot

Fractal patterns is one thing, but I don't believe your system will be spitting out iPhone killers any time soon

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby NURB » May 18th, 2010, 7:11 am

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Travisimo wrote:Fractal patterns is one thing, but I don't believe your system will be spitting out iPhone killers any time soon


Exactly.
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Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby lyfk » May 18th, 2010, 9:14 am


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I'm just curious, but has anyone here actually read anything about or related to this subject? Anything that has been published anyways.

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby SK » May 18th, 2010, 9:36 am

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Travisimo wrote:Fractal patterns is one thing, but I don't believe your system will be spitting out iPhone killers any time soon


Babies don't run as soon as they are born. Generative Design is still in its early stages. In it's late stages those who do not use it will not be in the business of design.

Chess Masters once thought that they were unbeatable, not very long ago.
Last edited by SK on May 18th, 2010, 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby Travisimo » May 18th, 2010, 9:53 am

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SK wrote:
Travisimo wrote:Fractal patterns is one thing, but I don't believe your system will be spitting out iPhone killers any time soon


Babies don't run as soon as they are born. Generative Design is still in its early stages. In it's late stages those who do not use it will not be in the business of design.


Maybe for engineering type challenges this is a perfect approach... evaluate designs for certain constraints, kill off the bad ideas, and mutate the good ideas, ie. finding the optimal shape for a fuel injector in an engine.

Design that resonates with people is much more than just product geometry. Who exactly is going to be setting the criteria that this program would use to judge and evolve the products? Who is going to judge the resulting designs, and to what criteria?

To know the right criteria to input is like the wicked problem that can happen in design, which is to figure out exactly what the problem is in the first place. Afterwards the answer is more straightforward to solve.

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby SK » May 18th, 2010, 10:19 am

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Travisimo wrote:Design that resonates with people is much more than just product geometry. Who exactly is going to be setting the criteria that this program would use to judge and evolve the products? Who is going to judge the resulting designs, and to what criteria?


that's obviously the designers job. I was reminded by an old professor - that there was similar reaction, when CAD was first introduced. Generative Design is a powerful design/search tool. Designers should not be threatened by it.

Good writers are not threatened by word processors.

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby cg » May 18th, 2010, 1:45 pm

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SK wrote:
cg wrote:
The 1000's of meaningless designs were likely done without any kind of design process. They were done with a "shotgun" approach which is common in the East where manufacturing is cheap. The theory is that you flood the market first with as many inexpensive variations of a product as possible and see what sells. In the West, it's more common to have a "rifle" approach, which utilizes a lot of research, strategy and design process to ensure the product hit's it's mark, reducing risk.

Generative software is great for the meaningless "shotgun" approach, but designers strive for the meaning-full "rifle" approach.



Now, this is a serious point of difference. In the early days, flint lock guns were as dangerous to the user as the enemy. Shot guns do scatter and target a larger area. But it all depends what you are shooting at. If you are going for ducks then shot guns will do, as ducks fly in a group (products too are similar and belong to groups). So they are many satisfactory solutions (its ok if your bring one of those flying fellows down). With a rifle, if you get the target wrong it is a miss. Not so with a shot gun. Its wrong to assume that you know exactly what will succeed, so a rifle approach is a gambling approach. But gamblers always believe they will win - else they won't gamble. But companies have less and less use for gamblers. This is a reality that few would argue with.

The description of your own design process is useful, but it is the best ? You don't seem to be using any of the capabilities that computers can provide you.

cg wrote:
Here's why that process beats generative design:

1) You want physical models not renderings, and today's rapid prototyping software just isn't as efficient as a designer carving a bunch of concepts out of for a few hours.



Often you need a combination. Desktop printers are going to be sub 1K in a few years. So if you want to prototype a lot of designs then you will find generative to be most useful.

cg wrote:
2) You want to separate your research variables, and progressively-disclose choices to the user. In your MP3 example, you've created a bunch of renderings, but you'd really need to create thousands more to cover all the variations. That's just not practical for the research participant. Rather than give them 10x10 choices, you want to give them 2 choices of 10: pick your shape, pick your controls.



The range of designs that you can generate are in the billions. So you will never cover the entire range of possibilities - even if you wanted to. It is up to you, to narrow it down to a few that you like to show your clients.

cg wrote:
3) You want your subject to co-create with you. Give them a bunch of controls and have them choose what they are and where they go, and tell you why. This is cheaper, faster and gives you more meaning.



Agreed. Generative design is perfect for this. Because genetic model can also be driven by consumers (replacing random inputs). Pls take a look at the workshop on allowing consumers to co-create.http://www.genometri.com/DIY/
another example in mass customization http://no-retro.com/home/2009/11/01/from-configuration-to-design-capturing-the-intent-of-user-designers-part-2/

I hope I have convinced you of the merits of generative design.


You've got the shotgun/rifle thing backwards. The shotgun approach is the gambling approach since most of the shots will fail to hit the target. This won't work for western companies that have brands to protect--they need to ensure the products they create hit the mark and build positive brand equity. Western retailers won't allow it either: Wal-Mart will only sell one or two of your coffeemakers, not fifty.

Desktop printers: not only will they have to get cheap, they'll have to get really fast to beat the typical Industrial Designer in carving foam. Let's not forget that there is some upfront time programming the generative model to create all those variations. In a timed side-by-side comparison, I guarantee the Industrial Designer will get to a preferred solution much faster and with less waste.

Creating billions of options: it's just not practical to weed through that many concepts. A progressive approach to both creation and down-select is more efficient.

Co-creation: I'm a believer in this but sitting a participant in front of a computer and letting them find their ideal design is really just user-friendly CAD, not generative-design.

Being convinced: I'm not. I still want a case study that shows that Generative Design adds value to the design process.

From what I'm hearing, generative design is about automating the process of creating "meaningless designs" like spoons. This may be useful to someone, but not me. I'm looking for tools that help me put more meaning into my designs. If I was designing a spoon, my approach would be to spend a lot of time with people using spoons. To look at their style choices. To look at their cultural standards. To look at the use-cases. To understand their priorities when buying a spoon. From that information, I would design.

Can generative design process all that input and arrive at a better spoon? If not, then it's just a distraction.

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby NURB » May 18th, 2010, 1:56 pm

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9 photoshopped blue-tooth headsets on 9 different heads doesn't convince me either.
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Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby Travisimo » May 18th, 2010, 2:45 pm

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SK wrote:
Travisimo wrote:Design that resonates with people is much more than just product geometry. Who exactly is going to be setting the criteria that this program would use to judge and evolve the products? Who is going to judge the resulting designs, and to what criteria?


that's obviously the designers job. I was reminded by an old professor - that there was similar reaction, when CAD was first introduced. Generative Design is a powerful design/search tool. Designers should not be threatened by it.

Good writers are not threatened by word processors.


You just made my point.

Of course it's the designers job - he has done the groundwork, has the experience, and spent the research time to know what the ideal solution would be. If he's worth his salt, he could sketch 10 focused concepts without ever needing to sift through the generative designs, making the whole system needless.

Designers do a lot more than just sketch and pump CAD - experience and creative problem solving is our value

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I love how people still don't know what GD is actually for. That's great.

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Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby Brook » May 18th, 2010, 3:37 pm

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Are the moderators taking my and possibly other's comments off this topic?

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby rkuchinsky » May 18th, 2010, 3:41 pm

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Brook wrote:Are the moderators taking my and possibly other's comments off this topic?


no, not that I am aware of. Why something missing?

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Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby cdaisy » May 18th, 2010, 4:42 pm

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cg wrote:
From what I'm hearing, generative design is about automating the process of creating "meaningless designs" like spoons. This may be useful to someone, but not me. I'm looking for tools that help me put more meaning into my designs. If I was designing a spoon, my approach would be to spend a lot of time with people using spoons. To look at their style choices. To look at their cultural standards. To look at the use-cases. To understand their priorities when buying a spoon. From that information, I would design.

Can generative design process all that input and arrive at a better spoon? If not, then it's just a distraction.


So the higher ups in your company will let you spend that much time and money on a spoon design? I want to work where you work! :D

Spending a lot of time with people using spoons? C'mon man. The sad reality is that it comes down to whether or not the buyer at a retail store or big box chain likes the shape and quality of your spoon. All that research time and money can be flushed right down the toilet if the buyer looks at it and says "meh". Research is important, but sometimes all you really need is a s3xy shape that utilizes your taste and skill as a designer. Consumers don't always know what they want until they see it. Same goes for buyers and bosses. Design isn't ALWAYS about solving problems. Sometimes it just has to be functional mass produced art that people want to buy. Are we not supposed to set the trends? Does everything you design need to be inspired by focus groups? Isn't that the reason terrestrial radio stations suck?

That's not to say your points aren't valid, but there are situations where this TOOL would come in handy. Lets say a glassware company for example. Set the parameters for a martini glass and let it rip! Worst case scenario is that it sparks an idea you didn't have before. What's so wrong with that?

I think it would be a fun to have a generative design option available to me. Set certain parameters, look at the results, pick a few of the best ones, tweak the parameters a bit, look at more results, pick out a few more, narrow it down to three, show the boss, make some tweaks if you need it. Done.

IT IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR THE ENTIRE DESIGN PROCESS. It is a very cool option you can have ready in your tool box if you need it.

sheesh!

Re: Any one into Generative Design ?

Postby SK » May 18th, 2010, 6:55 pm

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cg wrote:You've got the shotgun/rifle thing backwards. The shotgun approach is the gambling approach since most of the shots will fail to hit the target. This won't work for western companies that have brands to protect--they need to ensure the products they create hit the mark and build positive brand equity. Western retailers won't allow it either: Wal-Mart will only sell one or two of your coffeemakers, not fifty.


What matters here is bringing them ducks down. Thats what designers are paid for. The reality is that, multiple rifle shots (as the consumer-ducks see it) is very similar to a volley of shot gun shots. In the past, Western companies hired a whole lot of rifelist - which they do not now, because shotgunist closer to manufacturing centers can produce the same volley faster and cheaper - aimed at the general direction of the ducks, which are brought down profitably. You may not fancy their methods, but most ducks nowadays are brought down this way.

I am informed by reliable duck anthropologists, that ducks in advanced consumer economies not only breed less (bringing duck population down) but are reportedly getting very selective , fussy and fickle. Worse still, these ducks seem to want to now get invovled in creating stuff. Important thing to note is that in advanced consumer economies it is the ducks that are in charge. They get to choose how they want to get shot.

So it ain't easy for western companies to deal with these ducks. Hiring out more rifilist, or making more accurate rifles is no longer working for them. They need to focus on smaller fussier segments of duck populations and seek ways of engaging them. More about this http://mass-customization.blogs.com/mass_customization_open_i/ . Soon these companies will will be hiring people who can help them in this approach - Rifilist (not shot gunnist) - with specialized skills as it has already happened in architecture.

cg wrote:Desktop printers: not only will they have to get cheap, they'll have to get really fast to beat the typical Industrial Designer in carving foam. Let's not forget that there is some upfront time programming the generative model to create all those variations. In a timed side-by-side comparison, I guarantee the Industrial Designer will get to a preferred solution much faster and with less waste.


ZCorp printing is now down to couple of $ per cubic cm. Check out http://www.shapeways.com if you wish to study the trend. I am beginning to sense a general skepticism on the potential of any technology here. Some relief to note, that it is not reserved for generative design.

cg wrote:Creating billions of options: it's just not practical to weed through that many concepts. A progressive approach to both creation and down-select is more efficient.


You make a good point here. Current research and effort is to improve this capability. There are ways to pick out distinctively different designs automatically out of billions of designs. I am also aware of some research that helps designers select by studying how they select, using neural networks.

cg wrote:Co-creation: I'm a believer in this but sitting a participant in front of a computer and letting them find their ideal design is really just user-friendly CAD, not generative-design.


True, this is not the classic use of generative design. If you put a consumer in front of a CAD machine, perhaps with scroll bars. They will scroll it out of cost, maneuverability and usability. Generative design is not only about creating generic models but also about constraint it within these limits - so as to limit the creative freedom to make it viable. This is called by engineers as constrained parametric modeling. So such web deployed constrained models are great for mass customization and consumer engagement.

cg wrote:Being convinced: I'm not. I still want a case study that shows that Generative Design adds value to the design process.


I am not giving up on you Chris.

cg wrote:From what I'm hearing, generative design is about automating the process of creating "meaningless designs" like spoons. This may be useful to someone, but not me. I'm looking for tools that help me put more meaning into my designs. If I was designing a spoon, my approach would be to spend a lot of time with people using spoons. To look at their style choices. To look at their cultural standards. To look at the use-cases. To understand their priorities when buying a spoon. From that information, I would design.


That's the problem with designers - wanting to put in meaning. Ask your boss if he wants meaning or money ?

cg wrote:Can generative design process all that input and arrive at a better spoon? If not, then it's just a distraction.


Generative Design has been a total distraction for me. I hope that it will be the same for you. :evil: So that you start talking in a language that only a few understand - not for long, but till they catchup.

I hope you will thank this discussion when you find the herd behind you :D
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