Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Designing Sculpture on Desktop PCs: A CAD Program for Three-Dimensional Design

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Designing Sculpture on Desktop PCs: A CAD Program for Three-Dimensional Design

Article excerpt

When sculptor Frank McGuire tried using a personal computer to expand his creativity and productivity, he was disappointed. An associate professor at the Cleveland Institute of Art, McGuire discovered that existing computer-aided design software did not accommodate the way he and other creative artists work.

"Sculptors and designers develop three-dimensional designs by visualizing different alterations of a form," McGuire explains. "Most commercial CAD software is written for drafting and rendering, not spatial visualization or three-dimensional manipulation."

Yet McGuire knew that PCs harbored untapped potential to support and enhance the creative process of sculptors and designers of other three-dimensional forms such as automobiles and houses. He was sufficiently convinced, in fact, to develop his own application using Asymetrix ToolBook and Microsoft Windows 3.0 that now runs on a Zenith Data Systems Z-486/25E desktop PC.

* Principles of Genetics

Using McGuire's program, an artist designs a sculpture (or car or house) on the PC by repeatedly selecting from a series of computer-generated variations. This process is based on principles of genetics called "natural adaptive selection" or "cumulative selection," a field of research which also has applications in artificial intelligence.

McGuire's application has three components. A ToolBook introduction explains the theory and operation of the genetic design program to the beginner. The genetic design program itself generates a specified number of variations of a new object. A commercial rendering program, DesignCAD 3D, photo-renders each variation on the PC screen, allowing the artist to select the one he or she prefers. …

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