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P Retondo

The problem with parametric objects


Don't get me wrong, I love parametric objects.  But as the name implies - "parametric object" is a term straight out of coding - it is a software design concept, not an architectural (or engineering or theater design, etc,) design concept.  The danger is that as designers we can be steered and nudged by the assumptions of the code engineer.  At what point do the design professions become captives of categories and limitations imposed by engineers with a different set of experiences?  CAD should expand our creative capability, not limit it!  CAD saves enormous amounts of time and creates great efficiency, but it should not limit those economic incentives to a standardized design palette.


Speaking for myself - I know others might differ - I find the mind-body connection in design works best when I have a pencil or pen in hand, and I have complete freedom to engage with abstract form without the intervention of more mechanical concept containers.  On the other hand, I want to go to 3d CAD as soon as possible to lock in precision and to look at things as they truly appear in 3d, as opposed to my hand-mind guesstimates.  My ideal parametric object, to get to the point, would be one with a graphical interface.  Take a stairs, for example.  I really don't want to design from a window with pre-selected options and a tabular, sequential arrangement requiring the input of numbers & checkboxes.  What I want is to draw the stairs in plan, then have the parametric take over to generate a 3d object that can then be edited with precision, allowing revision & further input as to tread thickness, tread overhang, construction type, etc.  I can do that manually, so I reckon there is no reason a parametric object couldn't be designed which would do the same thing but way faster and with greater power with respect to revisions.


Another example: door and window sills.  We shouldn't be limited to the sill assumptions of the VW window object, which are based on windows from the 19th century.  The sill could be an extrude, defined graphically by the user and saved as a type, instead of by a sill input window with 7 or 8 confusing parameters.  Same with window jambs, which almost never are rectangular prisms these days.  I'm sure I could go on, including the limitations of door types, the fact that "overhead" doors are incorrectly modeled not to overlap with the jambs, etc., etc.

Edited by P Retondo
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@P Retondomind if I move this over to wishlist so we can get some votes going? This is a big complex one but I think it belongs there.

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to all above.


It is just that I got totally excited about what developed in this thread starting with the idea of a

new workflow by P Retondo. Can't stop thinking further about such graphical interface,

without caring about any technical constraints.

As I think that would be something that would fit perfectly into a VW as I understand it.

There are a lot other options outside that are about ahead in case of their BIM workflow

in a technical way. VW had strengths in 2D and design approach with will more and more

lose importance nowadays.

Such a graphical workflow could be again a unique selling proposition for VW and a great

value for the users. Not realistic in the short term but at least a clear vision.


And I also thought about the Curtain Wall Tool and take it as an example.



"It is better to tell them what you want to be able to do rather than how you want to do it. Usually, they have better ideas."


Yes, I often heard this and all developers say that.

I think that is absolutely true in 97%.

There are a few rare cases where I insist on not asking for a solution for a needed result only or

an even "better" workflow, but ask exactly for a special workflow as a function itself.


Edited by zoomer

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2 hours ago, Pat Stanford said:

but how does this work when you are doing something like a window with triple glazing , multiple moving sashes, muntins, all with very different scales. The ability to display what you need when you need it could be overwhelming for both the programmer and user.




Well beside that you will use Window Tool in Settings Mode for you selection or OIP as always,

I think when you click on a Jamb, something like this will open beside your cursor :





You should of course still be able to throw in your complete detailed Manufacturer Style Presets Windows

from resource manager or apply Stiles directly.


My main points are :


a) the intuitive graphical editability of Plugin Objects


b) workflow starts by a reduced essence of objects with useful presets and add data and information details later.

(Means no more need to draw some dead 2D or SketchUp Sketches as it is as easy and fast, but these

are already intelligent objects that will give full reports from the beginning and can grow over time in detail)


c) some intelligence in interaction that will bring your designed proportions back into the Presets

for this project.

(Like I think my adjusted upper and lower Window boundaries are cool now, please make these my new

Window Default Level Presets)



Edited by zoomer

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5 hours ago, JimW said:

@P Retondomind if I move this over to wishlist so we can get some votes going? This is a big complex one but I think it belongs there.


Sure, Jim, by all means.  

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Still on my "make things more simple " trip I had an abstruse BIM idea about reducing complexity of the 3D Geometry.

As an alternative to a better the quality of generated drawings by separating all BIM intelligence and complexity

from 3D geometry into intelligent plan generation in a simpler 2D environment only.

I decided to not present here, as being too abstruse and thinking the detailed 3D Model would be mandatory for IFC.


But recently I watched some of Bricscad 2016 BMW Welt Summit videos again.

Where their CEO said something interesting. By analogy :

"No we don't have all that intelligence in our 3D Modell. The information is in the database. We have better ways to do this"


That means that the 3D Geometry of the BIM is still done by simple Acis Solids.

Meaning low complexity and access to all joining and interaction options by boolean operations and such to allow

high flexibility and quality in Modelling. So a multi Component Wall is still a simple Box. It just knows by its

database entry that it is more complex in reality.

You will only see the appearance of the outer faces of outer components in your model. Hatches or differences

in components will appear at first in sections. All BIM complexity and joining of different Components and Materials

happens, based on database information, at the 2D level of their (Life) Sections or Calculations only.

(And maybe at times of an IFC export)


But for the reduced 3D Model, if you need to (graphically) edit parts in complete BIM complexity,

like changing the hight of a single Wall Cladding Component for adding a new ceiling, as they showed in an example,

You go into a special editing Mode of that BIM Object, which "temporarily" adds that BIM Complexity into that

special 3D Object, just to allow to do the changes.

On the other hand, this way allows the binding of the cladding to the ceiling, if you later change its height level,

the cladding will follow.


As they started very late from scratch just a few years ago and take BIM very serious, they haven no legacy

problems. They build on temporary BIM needs. So there are a few interesting features that I really like.

A Physical Material Manager, which will be defined one time and used over multiple Components.

A Structural Manager that can be customized to sort your Model or Data in any configuration you currently

need, like by Materials or BIM structure or Space types or ...

So I think there are a few ideas worth looking at it if similar features could be added in VW to improve or

rethink the direction of future VW's BIM workflow or tools.





Edited by zoomer

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