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trabajamos para ella !
sketches : shells and NURBS representations 
Friday, September 10, 2010, 12:39 PM - Geometry
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sketches towards understanding Shells , form-finding and geometric representations, et al .

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Autodesk idea studio residency , san fransisco 
Monday, July 26, 2010, 01:55 PM - Maya.c++.api., Geometry, Research, production pipeline
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Currently pursuing a 8-week residency called Idea Studio at the Autodesk offices in San Fransisco. Idea studio is run by Kimberly Whinna , senior brand manager at Autodesk and is "a residency program for designers, engineers, artists, and scholars who are pursuing innovative projects that push design technology to its limits to solve real-life problems."

ZHA | CODE and Autodesk have had various on-going conversations on research agendas related to contemporary architectural design, software technology and production pipelines. Hopefully this residency will cement the relationship further.

My experience thus far into the residency has been a real pleasure. I have to thank Kimberly Whinna and Brian Pene ( Research strategist , CTO group) , for their assistance, and advise in setting up the scope and prospects of the research thus far . It has been exciting to be advised by pioneering figures such as Jos Stam , Duncan Brinsmead , and Robert Aish and interact with experienced researchers including Eddy Kuo and Sualp Ozel .

The abstract of the proposal is presented below. Work in progress will be posted soon .

Solution Spaces.
Physically based simulations & form finding and geometric approximation for procedural architectural modelling.
This short term research proposal posits itself within the argument for parametric design research to focus its efforts on design methods that enable an operative pathway from design intent to its manifestation. The intention is to investigate the use of physically-based parameters as effective constraints in design development. Central to this proposal is the belief that design technologies should enable real-time interaction between designer and the computational model.

Images from visit to nervi's ( not candela as previously mentioned, thanks franco for correction) chruch in san fransisco , showing yet another articulation of the hyperbolic paraboloid .

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anything to add to fantastic mr.gaudi ? 
Sunday, October 11, 2009, 10:52 AM - Maya.c++.api., Maya.general.modelling, Geometry, Differentiation, algorithms
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maya-isoSurface node: wip 
Tuesday, June 16, 2009, 03:28 PM - Maya.c++.api., Geometry, algorithms
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Sunday, April 19, 2009, 09:44 AM - Maya.c++.api., Geometry
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Saturday, April 18, 2009, 04:15 AM - Maya.c++.api., Geometry
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video is in real-time

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Extending Maya 
Saturday, October 4, 2008, 12:10 PM - Maya.c++.api., Analytical, Geometry, algorithms
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Example Iso-surface from a CFD data. Using VTK within Maya.
Comparing the powerCrust surfaceReconstruction algorithm (cs.utexas) with marching-Cubes based reconstruction.
Data used : pointCloud from radioHead video_ house of cards.
Special thanks to Tim Hutton,of UCL for the VTK port of the algorithm.

Maya has, in the previous years , served an useful role in the production pipeline of many a team at AADRL, as also here in our office. Evidently, it not being a CAD application by purpose, presents its hurdles. It has however, proven sufficiently amenable towards extending/customising its capacities through,

Scripting (MEL and python)
Interfacing with command-line applications (qhull,isosurf, tetgen etc).
Making custom plug-ins (C++ and python) .
Incorporating external and openSource libraries/APIs ( CGAL,VTK, openNURBS )

Images here represent recent efforts to integrate Visualization ToolKit(C++ class library, and interpreted interface layers for Tcl/Tk, Java, and Python).
Thanks to Remik Ziemlinski for example source code related to converting internal VTK data representations to Maya representations.
See here for similar efforts to integrate blender and VTK.
See here for vtk-autocad and vtk-solidworks conversion plug-ins.
See here for vtk-inventor integration.

VTK is an extensive class library with a plethora of core graphic/geometric algorithms including Principal Component Ananlysis, tensor and vector feild visualizations, CFD, FEM visualizations etc.
A rudimentary but working pipeline between Maya and VTK, means I will be like a kid in a candy shop for a while to come!

Other open-source code libraries.(viva la open source!)
openDXfull-featured software package for the visualization of scientific, engineering and analytical data.Formerly of SGI.
openInventor:is an object-oriented 3D toolkit offering a comprehensive solution to interactive graphics programming problems.Formerly of IBM.

Using vtk classes to add iso-surfacing capacity to Maya.

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sproadic thoughts on CAD 'history' engines 
Saturday, September 13, 2008, 10:30 AM - Maya.c++.api., Tessellations, production pipeline
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McNeel's recent and exciting announcement of its plans to enable scripting within its grasshopper feature, caused a revisit of Maya's inherent 'history' engine and its associated graph(ical)-editor (hypergraph).

Images show a possible outcome of using the Maya history engine and the corresponding node-network / graph.

Thanks to celifan of noctua for writing the Delanuay Triangulation plug-in for maya and sharing the source code.

The videos also show a custom 'node' that divides a curve into equal direct-distance divisions. The node also outputs tangents and normal at these points. No rocket science here except for celifan's node that enables constrained DT. Our previous attempts in using qhull and tetgen with Maya were implemented as run-once MEL commands unlike Celifan's which is a 'dependency node' that enables history.

A cursory overview of various parametric (CAD) engines / platforms (Microstation GC, Catia /DP /Virtools, Grasshopper, Maya etc) highlights a few common features.Each platform has its strengths w.r.t items below and therefore a natural place in the production pipeline.
1. Number of in-built operational 'blocks' that deal with geometric operations, measurement and evaluation of CAD data.
Grasshopper, Catia and GC seem to offer very CAD relevant geometric operational blocks, as also precise measurement options. Maya suffers on this end.However, Maya features fairly extensive overall support including geometry types(NURBS,subDs,and meshes), algebraic operations, rendering operations, system I/O etc.
2. Mechanism construction of logical dependencies between operational blocks.
Grasshopper promises to add script operations to make and break logical connections between blocks. GC offers a robust debugging interface as also a C-style scripting language (GC script) to achieve this. Catia uses catScript and vbScript for the same. Maya offers MEL and python whilst Virtools is uses Java.
3. Mechanism of adding custom operational blocks.
A Scripting language is one such mechanism.
One can stick a custom GC script within the dependency chain in GC. 'Reactions' are similar mechanism in Catia to trigger custom vbScript. MEL scripts can be triggered within Maya graphs with some imagination.

However, one might quickly encounter the limits of such mechanisms and might need to explore lower-level languages whilst dealing with larger amounts of data.

GC apparently supports access to lower-level C-based kernel as explained in this article by Stylianos Dristas. My guess is grasshopper would expose a dotNet / c# sdk. Catia offers a c++ SDK, but is quite expensive and probably not an easy excursion. Maya features an extensively supported (documentation, community support and production proven) python and c++ access to its engine. This allows for a possible (and easier) integration of third party code such as academicians as also libraries such as CGAL, Boost etc.
4. Robustness of 'associavity'.
Catia and GC offer well formed geometric 'associavity' whilst Maya, can produce errant results and thus failure of the history chain.Grasshopper should potentially offer the same safeguards as rhino / openNurbs core, which is typically reliable.
5. Interactivity and time per evaluative cycle.
In seemingly inverse proportion to above, Maya produces a fairly fast cycle and thus allows for interactive manipulation of large history chains and geometric information. Grasshopper also seems to fair well in this regard.

It appears the choice of a poison and focus depends on nature of design endeavor , resource constraints, familiarity etc. Nonetheless, exciting times of computationally inclined architects!

Thanks to Chikara Inamura, Nils Fischer and Cristiano Ceccato for thoughts / inputs.
19 comments ( 71 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink   |   ( 2.9 / 1107 )

remembering high school algebra 
Monday, June 30, 2008, 03:22 PM - Maya.c++.api., Maya Embedded Language, Geometry, Research
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Recent events and past failures have forced a recollection of high school algebra including matrices, determinants, Kramer's rule, line / plane equations and their solutions et al. Below are two simple applications of the 'recollection'.

contouring tool for Maya:
A simple utility wrapper around existing Maya tools to enable 'contour' cutting. Maya's history & animation engine further enabling 'contouring' along a curve. Thanks to Fuuuuulvio Wirz for suggestion / tip. Previous attempts depending on NURBS intersection tended to clog-up the history chain, resulting in untold misery!

A free player from tradebit.com

tri-plane intersection node a la CATIA. supports history.
strange by product of exercise was realization that MEL's lack of support for 'double' variable type, can(?)cause loss of significant digits. In this simple application it was solved by multiplying all inputs by large numbers. c++ version doesn't seem to suffer from the same problem.

A free player from tradebit.com

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of units and aggregates 
Sunday, April 20, 2008, 08:49 PM - Geometry, Differentiation
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images of result of collaboration with Theodore Spyropoulos of minimaforms and part of the conceptual revisiting / reintepretation of project 19 by David Green, archigram. read more on L.A.W.u.N*project#20.

8 comments ( 38 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 1106 )

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