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Algorithmic modeling: startling futurism in CAD

What kind of products are possible to create by parametric/algorithmic modeling?

Algorithmic modeling from A to Z

Historical overview of parametric design
What is parametric design
Which fields mostly need parametric design and parametric/algorithmic modeling
What kind of products are possible to create by parametric/algorithmic modeling
How to find ready-to-use parametric models
How parameterization facilitates the modeling of common products
BeeGraphy, the fastest web-based parametric 3D modeling software

Algorithmic Modeling: a futuristic direction in CAD and industrial design

The first attempts of parametric/algorithmic modeling already predicted dramatic changes in the CAD industry. The revolutionary solution has evolved the engineering organizations for developing 3D models and the product’s behaviors by setting relationships between elements. Today, parametric features-based CAD tools are widely used to automate most engineering processes for product development. New daring details in design and architectural prototyping are now categorized as “parametric design,” the future of architecture.

What is Parametric Design? The historical overview

Parametric Design refers to a process that sets up the shape and geometry of a design through parametric modeling. To make it work, you set the geometrical parameters into a design tool that later uses computer processing to build relations between those parameters. The designer then uses multiple design variables to explore all the design possibilities.

As the core of parametric design, parametricism breaks the sharp corners and concepts of traditional designs. Today we see free-form architectural concepts with curves, irregular shapes, and sweeping lines. We still call it futuristic, not realizing that we already live in that future. Whether used in architecture or any other industry, parametric design draws inspiration from nature and its shapes. Because parametric modeling uses algorithms and provides the connection of elements, it is much easier to create and produce complicated designs.

The futuristic and abstract geometric forms existed long before parametric modeling and parametric design. Ancient Romans, Greeks, and Persians used non-standard architectural solutions. Part of them is preserved to our days for better visualization. Those non-standard forms were built on algorithmic methods and mathematical patterns. 

The most genuine and vivid example of parametric design is Antonio Gaudí’s complex structural forms on Colònia Güell Chapel. Gaudí created an inverted model of the building using string weighted down with birdshot. Strings settled into a shape and, when inverted, stood in compression.

Colonia Guell Chapel

Colonia Guell Chapel by Antoni Gaudi. Image by

The model had all the elements of a parametric equation with a set of independent parameters and a set of outcomes. Changing or modifying any of the independent parameters, Gaudí generated multiple versions of the chapel.

What is Parametric (algorithmic) Modeling?

Parametric modeling, also called parametric solid or algorithmic modeling, and parametric design explains a dimension’s ability to change the model geometry after modifying the dimension value. For non-tech geeks, this sounds quite difficult. So let’s try one more time. Parametric Modeling is the process of creating a digital model that is based on pre-programmed algorithms (parameters). The elements of models are automatically changed instead of being manually manipulated.

The history of Parametric Modeling is related to the term “parametric” originating in maths that was first used in 1988 when Parametric Technology Corporation released the first successful Parametric Modeling software. The first examples of parametric modeling were introduced in the ’80s with 2D and 3D models.

Moretti discussed parametric architecture and parametric design a few decades earlier, presenting the idea of a parametric design on a stadium model and explaining the dependency of parameters and their forms that changed the viewing angles.

As a computer-aided design (CAD) software tool, parametric/algorithmic modeling is a great time saver that eliminates the necessity of redrawing the same design any time one of the dimensions changes. Before parametric modeling, when modifying any of the elements of 3D solid, the designer had to change the other two parts. With parametric modeling, the adjustments are made automatically. Typically, a designer defines parametric rules that create relationships between different elements within the design. Parametric/algorithmic modeling focuses on those relationships between features changing them upon request.

Advantages of Parametric/algorithmic Modeling

  • The option to build flexible designs
  • Multiple ways to view 3D solid models, including rendering
  • Design efficiency
  • Quick design turnaround
  • Better visualization and approach
  • Better integration with downstream applications and manufacturing processes to decrease the development time
  • Reduced engineering time
  • The capability to reuse existing design data for creating new designs
  • A valuable tool for creating
  •  a model to be used in non-engineering functions
  • A clearer view of the future product
  • Automated drawing production provided by 3D systems

The algorithmic approach to design continues to grow in popularity, as it provides new possibilities for manufacturers, engineers and drafters. Learn more about advantages of parametric (algorithmic modeling here >

How to find ready-to-use parametric models

Try to search for “ready-to-use parametric models” in any search engine and find an option. So, how’s it going? We did extensive research and found nothing. In fact, there is a reason why there are no publicly available ready-to-use parametric modelsBuilding a parametric design is a rather complicated process that needs devotion, professionalism, and time.

Mostly, designers do parametric modeling in-demand, and the design initially has an owner. It is evident that models are private property hidden and shared with stakeholders. So is there no chance to get ready-made parametric models? BeeGraphy features the only source of ready-to-use parametric models available online for editing and downloading.

Get parametric models ready for production

BeeGraphy features the only source of ready-to-use parametric models available online for editing and downloading.

Why use BeeGraphy? Most of the professional CAD software is complicated for home users. They are paid and more suitable for an experienced 3D modeling for designers and programmers. For beginners and non-professionals, there is BeeGraphy, the first online platform offering ready-to-produce parametric 2D and 3D models. The users can easily change the 3D model’s parameters as many times as needed and download the ready model through the platform (with 2D cut). It is a lifesaving solution for cutting time on parameter modeling. As a popular tool among retailers and designers, BeeGraphy enables users to work on existing static models, make parametric changes and generate customized models.

Anush Bichakhchyan

Anush is a columnist in BeeGraphy 3D modeling blog covering topics on CAD industry, product modeling and parametric design.