Blog Post #002

With the current global financial climate the way it is right now (September 2020), this may not be the best time for new opportunities, but over the past few months I have been busy adding to my skill set in order to enhance and future-proof my career.

Using Computational Design with Grasshopper 3D, I was able to take an existing design of mine and produce a family of products from it within a few minutes
Using Computational Design with Grasshopper 3D, I was able to take an existing design of mine and produce a family of products from it within a few minutes

Covid-19 has had the most profound effect on our personal lives as well as the global economy, but not all of the disruption has been bad. It has had a huge impact on my career and design philosophy, in some ways for the better, by catapulting me towards goals and ambitions that I had sidelined (for various reasons) indefinitely.

Way back when I started out my career as a furniture Designer Maker, I purchased the first version of Rhino 3D. Then in 2007 the first version of Grasshopper 3D – a history based visual programming interface for Rhino 3D – was launched as an add-on to Rhino 3D. Being already very familiar with visual programming having professionally used Visual Jockey Gold / Karma (an interactive, live events, moving image software program) for many years, I tried to learn Grasshopper 3D, but I could only find a couple of basic tutorials online and I didn’t have the time to invest into learning it.

Grasshopper 3D UI

Fast forward 13 years to 2020 and I have finally had the chance to learn Grasshopper 3D. Having been using Catia v5 for Automotive Design Engineering on a daily basis for the past seven years, this is a refreshing change. I see learning Grasshopper 3D/Rhino as a very good complimentary tool to balance out the rigid structured engineering world that I have been inhabiting for the past few years. Both programs are very good, but for very different reasons and applications. I feel that learning both to a high level reflects my experience, skill set and aspirations. Life is all about balance after all right? But there are other very important and more measurable reasons why I have also chosen to learn Grasshopper 3D. These are my motivating reasons:

  • To implement Computational Design where appropriate, using Parametric Design, Algorithmic Design, Generative Design and Machine Learning.
  • To design for current and future advancements and opportunities with Additive Manufacturing.
  • To create Sustainable Design solutions.
  • To learn a Design / Design Engineering tool that is used for many different disciplines and in many different industries, such as Industrial Design, Automotive Design, Architecture, Interior, Furniture, Lighting, AR, VR and Gaming Design.
  • To be open to opportunities of working as a freelancer (affordable software cost).

As someone with a natural tendency for innovation, I am motivated to push the boundaries of design within grasshopper 3D. But in order to do that, it is important to also learn how to script within Grasshopper. This is a whole new world to me, and one that I have always been curious about from a distance. So I have also taken it upon myself to learn learn the programming language Python. I thought that as an Englishman living in Sweden, Swedish would be the only language that I have to learn, but no. I am also upping my game to improve my Swedish.

Learning Python will hopefully open up many doors of possibility, even in some that do not currently exist. I have an instinct shouting at me to learn it, and so I have already begun this journey, first with an introductory course in Python Programming by Programming Hub, to wet my toes. And Now with another online course called ‘Grasshopper and Rhino: Python Scripting’, that can be found on LinkedIn Learning.

My aim is to be in a position whereby I can apply these new Computational Design skills to any industry, whether it be through Industrial Design, Design Engineering or Visual Arts.

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