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.
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.
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.