Generative Cellular Growth

This is experiment was developed using Genr8, a surface design tool based on cellular growth models that interact with a defined environment. Genr8 blends universal growth patterns and evolutionary search to evolve adaptively surfaces with features the user has specified.

The software works as a plugin for Alias|WaveFront Maya 4.0, combine 3D map L-System as a grammar language to evolve the surfaces. The generative process use a digital seed designed to react in a virtual nature and gives some control to the user during the evolutionary adaptation. Genr8 software don't consider structural behaviors or material criteria, therefore, most of the times the results are closer to chaos.

Genr8 software is divided in 5 categories: Scaffold, Environment, Grammar, Genetic Engine and Fitness, each of this categories control and specific part of the evolutionary growth.

  • It's possible to use polylines and surfaces as seeds (scaffolding).
  • Attractors, "attract" the surface growth (Environment).
  • Repellors, "repels" the surface growth (Environment).
  • Gravity act in an uniform way based on global coordinates (Environment).
  • Boundaries, define a a volume to evolve the surfaces (Environment).
  • The seed by default is a regular polygon and it is possible to modify the initial geometry and position. It's also possible to create different seeds based on intial models or the Genr8 Grammar (Grammar).

    Edge0 + ~ Edge1 + ~ Edge0 + Edge1
    Edge0 -> Edge0 [ [ + Edge1 ] – ~ Edge1 ] Edge0
    Edge1 -> Edge1 [ [ + Edge0 ] – ~ Edge0 ] Edge1
    Angle 90


The repellor parameter affect the growth in relation to the proximity with the surface instead of the parameters defined.

The start length parameter, does not look like connected to the seed surface. The tile parameter only exist in 2 and 4 values, out of these parameters the result is a triangle.

The gravity parameter has 3 labels: X, Y and Z. Nevertheless if the value of one of the values is 10 or above the growth is vertical.

Attractors and repellors work as magnetic fields. The attractor affect stronger the surface than a repellor at same distance and values. It's possible to combine both magnetic fields to create convex shapes. Nevertheless the control is only partial.

The random parameter make the results more "noisy". The growth process is affected by a random perturbation. The branch angle affect the angle edges in the surface and the control is only partial.

The seed surfaces react partially to boundaries and other solid constraints

Genr8 is an interesting software to explore as a theoretical framework, although not as a creative surface design tool.

Genr8 was Developed by Martin Hemberg with advisory services provided by Una-May O'Reilly and Peter Testa.


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