What is Parametric Design?

Posted in parametric design by A. Benjasem on August 31, 2009

It is a process used to manipulate, regenerate and design objects based on a set of rules or parameters. Parametric design is now being widely used in the fields of architecture and product design. There are many concepts that appear regularly in parametric design projects. One important concept is repetition, which works best when it is used in parallel with rotation, scaling and movement. This simply means to copy an object multiple times while introducing a gradual change in its scale for example.


Another concept frequently used in parametric design is Mutation. What is meant by mutation is the progressive change in the form of an object along a process based on a few rules. This might completely transform the object to a new form, which makes animation and video logging a great tool to monitor the transformation.

In architecture, surface manipulation is used to perforate the façade of a building. In scripting, this requires two things. One is of course a surface or a plane, and the other is a system that can determine the degrees and directions of the manipulations taking place. Although randomness could easily be implemented in parametric design, following a system brings great aesthetic value to the result.

Computer visualization programs like Maya and Rhino are used to create 3D forms using a scripting language. Each program has its own language, which is relatively easy to learn. In this site we’ll be using MEL (Maya embedded language) to explore and demonstrate parametric design.

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