Scripting and Drawing: Specific Questions

Okay, because my previous post was turning into a multi-headed rant, I thought I would try again to extract useful knowledge from any clever readers. So, questions:

1. theory/content: If you had 45 minutes to give an introductory lecture on scripting to students who mostly have never tried it but have seen some fruits of scripted work (i.e. “think it’s cool”), what would you say? Keep in mind that this is a lecture in a drawing class (“2D Representation”) where the students have learned AutoCAD and how to construct perspectives, cut sections, etc. using projective geometry.

2. technical: If you had 15 minutes for a quick demo as part of your lecture, and then the students probably had half-an-hour on their own to fiddle with something, what kind of sample scripts would you feed them? What tool would you use (though I’ve basically already settled on Processing)?

3. Script precedents: What examples of work that relates somehow to the drawing/scripting relationship (be it “divide”, “transition”, “singularity”, etc.) would you want to show these students?  I’m interested, I think, in scripts that are extremely clear in their workings, and that highlight fundamental concepts.

4. Drawing precedents: What examples of systematic (e.g. projective) drawing would you show as a way to highlight drawing’s parametric potential and the richness of the information it can manipulate?

5. tone: How would you prevent the lecture turning into a “gee-whiz” fest? How to leave the students with the notion that scripting is to be taken very seriously as a mode of thought, not just as pipeline for ‘finding form’ or ‘growing answers’, etc….

What questions am I not asking? See my last post for more background information and some silly brainstorming.  Yes, I realize I’m using my blog as a forum post.  Sorry.

4 comments to Scripting and Drawing: Specific Questions

  • The difficulty with scripting is of course the steep learning curve, and even parsing out the kinds of things that are extraordinarily easy to do from the things that are extraordinarily difficult. I feel that in promoting scripting, their is an attitude that anything can be done, which is of course not true, but also sidesteps the fact that scripting applies a system of economy on all decision processes.

    I feel that, as much as we would want to promote the intelligence of the computer, we have to spend equal time on how idiotic it can be, at least in the context of an introduction. Building complex tree structures, populating surfaces, easy! Looking around, discovering, making decisions based on visual information, topological problems (don’t double back, don’t cross yourself, don’t self intersect), hard!

  • George

    Thanks for your comment, Mark. This sounds like sage advice — to temper any ‘gee whiz’ moments with some notion of how difficult it is to engage reality at particular scales with scripting. Also, the emphasis on *seeing*, on training the eye, could not be more appropriate to a first-year class.

  • We also like to show work from Cecil Balmonds monograph, especially the Serpentine pavilion with Toyo Ito, as a nice example of algorithm (recursive) -> 2D drawing -> 3D architecture. But there are many examples in the book

  • George


    After a fairly hectic evening pulling things together, I could not flesh out the talk quite as I had wished, but I think it went very well all things considered. I ended up discussing scripting along the four axes below, and showed the examples listed:

    1. Efficiency (repetition):
    Neil Katz’s work on the Lotte tower for SOM.
    + AutoLISP example scripts

    2. Parametric design / algorithmic exploration:
    A couple of images from TheVeryMany’s work.
    + Balmond/Ito’s Serpentine pavilion (thanks Mark!)
    + AutoLISP example scripts
    + Processing example scripts

    3. Navigating/articulating complex geometry:
    Kokkugia’s FEIDAD entry from 2005

    4. Limitations when encountering the real world (scale, detail, changing project requirements):
    Che-Wei’s Oblik project

    I also interspersed these with examples of projective drawing, showing its connections to parametrics, but also (and crucially) how projective drawing gives you a very clear ‘problem space’ in which you can see which operations make sense and which are absurd (i.e. boundary conditions are explicit within the logic of the drawing!) while in scripting these things are usually found through trial and error (and experience, natch).

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