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Guest 0-maze-inc

computerized design:boon or bust

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Guest 0-maze-inc

During my brief experience with formalized design, I have had an ongoing conversation over the usefullness of computer aided design, and also had my own experiences with trying to create using the computer both good and bad.

 

It seems like many older designers seem to hate the @#$@#$ things. Hand work, sketching, and blue foam models are the "norm" to them to get their ideas across to a client. In this age of heightened environmental awareness, using materials such as blue foam, which is toxic and really environmentally unsound seem to be counterproductive to the image that we are moving towards an age of enlightenment. On the other hand things created in the computer have an inherent problem with becoming as good in real life as in the cad model.

 

I like the computer to create shapes, and studies in mass and relationships between elements, as well as to study color and the effect on the whole. I can do this without creating a mess and get to a point where I can develop a "hard copy" of an object using "real" materials. My relationship with what I create in the computer and what I eventually wind up with are fairly good, but they usually still need some tweaking in the real world.

 

I also had the experience of creating a complex object using Alias and trying to get it onto a rpt machine. By the time I was finally able to get it "out" the form was eroded, and really not at all as nice as the picture I first had created in the computer (even with the aid and expert user with 10 years plus of experience)

 

I have to wonder if many of the forms that are created by computer suffer this same fate, that we become a slave to the machine which is supposed to set us free, ruining our idea in the process. It could also be argued that not every designer is able to create the objects they draw in real materials, that every design becomes a compromise of ideation vs. ability or even reality.

 

At this point I think it should be said that computers are in their infancy, if they were cars we would be barely past the model T. The problems I encountered had to do with the resolution available to make the model, limited by the machine and ultimately the software (and I am sure by my and others ability or time available)

 

So what do you think? Should we be pursuing, learning and relearning computer software, or that traditional "art" methods are more suited. It seems that production has become computercentric, that sooner or later in the process it will be turned over to our electronic slave to create, whether it be molds, machining or what have you, and in doing so compromise some intent for ease of manufacture.

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Guest molested_cow

I think computer helps you to quicken the process, but it does not replace the process. Hand made models are still citical. You think of the form differently, a lot deeper than just thinking about surfaces and solids. You feel it, a realistic sense of size and proportion, which can never be represented accurately by any form of 2D, including the 3D cad model that appears on your monitor. Rapid prototype is useful, but for ergonomics reason, you got to start by hand.

 

They should go side by side. 3D modeling was not created to replace anything.

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I <3 my computers, I grew up with them, and for me they're certainly a part of the whole process of product design.

 

However, I realize they're not THE tool out there. Quick computer models to visualize form are often picked by a client and mistaken for the final design (because computer models always look very slick and smooth.. I learned it's a good idea to use a sketch renderer for example for these form explorations.. to prevent mistakes like that from happening).

And of course, 3d models on the screen are hard to judge.. there are VR solutions out there, but that's expensive and a proper affordable alternative isn't here yet (correct me if I'm wrong please).

 

I know that in the automotive industry models are made on computers, milled and then manually shaped further, then scanned and further cleaned up on the computer.. and then some more iterations like that.

 

I think it's important to know where computers can be of benefit and where you need to rely on good old fashioned handywork. (of course, wish I could speak more from experience here.. so far I've only used 3d models for visualising the final design. quick shape explorations have been faster to do in foam so far for me.)

 

edit: wow, just saw I already have 106 posts on this board.. caraaazzy!

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My quick thoughts about 'Computer VS Traditional hand work'

 

I think its all about the way of communication. The question is 'What do you want to communicate? To whom?' It depends on the situation (which step of the design process?). If you feel good with showing sketches to the client, then do it. If cg renderings suit better, present them. Idea generation? just make fast sketches or quick foam models, cause they communicate with you and your colleagues. In other words... Computer and Traditional hand work go hand in hand

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Guest Kunkler

cad has been around since at least 1980! Thats 25 years, of experience in the field of design with computers. To complain about computers now would mean that you are close to retirement. Since 1998 (dodge intrepid...etc...) companies have used computers exclusivly for product design.

 

Schools will use pen and paper and solid model design as coriculum because thats how schools work. When I went to school for computer electronics they were teaching me about 8086's (cpu) when P2's were available. You may find after graduating that the company you go to work for does not require you to use these methods. They may be used by the majority of companies at present but I'm willing to bet that in the near future they will begin to rely on the computer for all aspects of design and production.

 

The argument then becomes redundant because you will all be expected to use a cad program at some point and soon won't have a choice at all. While you argue to your design team leader that the relationship between your solid models and your cad models aren't meshing he'll be sayng "what solid model?".

 

this is how far we are past the Model-T

Ford_33_Blue_3-window_coupe.jpg

 

 

or you cn go here and get a brief history of cad in company design:

Computer Graphics World

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Guest Marlamuth

There are at least three good reasons for making hand models and marker renderings instead of cad or any other 3D-visualization software (at least in the first few stages of a project): first the reason molested_cow talked about – you get a better feel of the product. This is not just for the designer himself, but for colleagues and customers. In a meeting you can pass the model or rendering around or you could even test it with a focus group or something.

 

The second is “an add-on†to the first – it is much easier making changes to a foam model or a marker sketch than to a cad model. Not just physically, changing a sketch with your pen or a model with a knife, but also psychologically. It can be very hard to make changes when you know you have to go back more than just a few steps in the model tree.

 

The last reason is that it is all too easy to do “- just one more detail†when using cad. Clients doesn’t always appreciate when you spend your time (= their money) on things you don’t really have to. Some tools are better than others at some things. Use the quickest/simplest way for each part and put it all together.

 

In different stages of the design process you need different means of visualization. You have to adjust the feeling of a finished product so that the client doesn’t think you have already finished when you’ve just made a few suggestions. And don’t forget the impact a good model or rendering made by hand can make on a person who doesn’t have those abilities.

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Guest dylandavis

An instructor of mine summarized this topic very well: Computers do only what you tell them to do. They do not let you discover the happy mistakes and flaws of real materials. As designer, you suddenly become bounded by the limits of the machine and your thinking. Physical discoveries and exploration are a core part of good design.

 

That said, my personal take is that the computer is a tool. Just like a hammer, a pencil or a piece of sandpaper. You wouldn't design a product using solely a piece of sandpaper. I think that's where this debate often gets misinterpreted. No one tool alone will ever get a job done. If a designer can use the computer as a tool in this way, he/she is truly using it to his/her advantage.

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Guest kari

i'm not going to argue whether one method is better than another.

Computers are great- but i see too many people rely on them to come up with solutions.

Time and money make this hard to avoid but the increased dependance on mathematics means we take steps further away from art and closer to engineering.

It would be fantastic to have technology where the inputs and outputs are far more organic and intuitive ie like musical instruments. Imagine if a drum kit was a practical design tool, pour emotion and energy in and design (instead of sound) comes out? If a CAD machine could be played like a trumpet could you obtain a more distinctive end product?

does this makes any sense?

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Guest El Ente

To me, computed-aided Design it's just another tool in order to reach the concept we all pursue since the beginning of our projects... I think we should take it just as another part of the project. Sometimes essential and sometimes not.

 

 

As Designers, we are supposed to find "the" answer to a particular problem... and I think our answer can fit the expectations no matter what techniques we use in our process: handcraft, drawing, or just computer aided design.

 

For mass-produced-industrial products, like... let's say a FM Radio-clock (electric core+systhetic skin), Computer aided design may be essential in order to fit the gap between our concept and the producing machines... but there are other products that allow some crafty-tricks in their mass-production that due their characteristics they can be done by thousands without a single computer being used on the process.

 

 

Apart from that I find interesting some new design products that contain a strong computer essence like some Mark Newson's chairs...

 

Sometimes we find objects with a strong hand-made influence, sometimes we find artificial-computer-influenced objects... to me what it's important if the concept behind the product, no matter if it is high or low tech

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