DreamSketch (UIST 2017)

Oscar Niemeyer sketches

This is Cathedral of Brasilia, designed by famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (left). On the right, is one of Oscar’s first sketches. Unlike CAD models, the sketch is rough, ambiguous, and there are plenty of rooms for imagination. This is how an idea looks like in its inception!

To get the the most out of a sketch, you need to leave big enough holes. Ambiguity creates these holes” – Bill Buxton


The overarching idea behind the project is – in computer aided design (CAD) tools, to get the most of sketches, we need to accommodate the qualities of sketches – incompleteness, ambiguity, and fluidity.

In this project, we intend to develop a hybrid design medium that combines the free-form and expressive qualities of sketching with the computational power of generative design algorithms. In DreamSketch, a user coarsely defines the problem by sketching the design context. Then, a generative design algorithm produces multiple solutions that are augmented as 3D objects in the sketched context. The user can interact with the scene to navigate through the generated solutions. The combination of sketching and generative algorithms enables designers to explore multiple ideas and make better informed design decisions during the early stages of design. DreamSketch enables designers to think more like engineers, and engineers to think more like designers, thus bridging the form and functional aspects of design.

DreamSketch was presented to UIST 2017. Below are some workflow figures and 3D printed artifacts designed with DreamSketch. Read the full paper here.






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