One in a million bird
16 Ⅹ 2013
In recent times I have been involved in more and more “generative design” projects. In generative design you teach the computer to make things for you according to a series of rules and design choices. And with 3D printing technology we can make as many variations come to life as we wish. I was really excited when Michiel Cornelissenasked me to help him create just such a product. He brought his One In A Million Bird design to me (already in a 3D file), and his ideas on what the extremes of the variations should be. For instance how far the bird was allowed to turn his head left, or how small or large a bird could be. I then set up a system using thepython programming language inside Blender 3D that could generate as many birds as Cornelissen wanted. To create all the shapes and poses of the birds the same sort of technology was used as for characters in animated movies (for instance Sintel). Not only that, but every version got a unique code on the inside of the ring. Every bird was stored in a database to make sure they were all indeed absolutely unique.
Having computers generate things for us is nothing new… we have let them create entire forests, swarms of animals and all sorts of phenomenon in animated movies and computer games. Architects have been using computers to create whole buildings, but I think this project was the first time this technology was used for a collection of unique physical objects. I’m very proud to have been a part of it!