Tissue, a tool for Computational Design in Blender

Blender is a tool that can be really useful in architecture and computational design, not only as a visualization software, but also as software for explore new design solutions thanks to its various mesh modelling tools. In particular, in computational-design, often the design is result of the exploration of the digital tool that allow the designer to evaluate possible solutions that sometimes are really far from his starting idea. Thanks to its powerful modifier system it’s quite easy to use Blender as an extension of the designer’s creativity.

Enjoying my Blender experience for almost ten years, at some point I start seeing some lacks, some specific process that could have been really useful in computational design and that were forcing designers to approach commercial software that are much more complicated, like Grasshopper (a visual programming plug-in for Rhino). For that reason, after years of taking from the Blender community, I decided to start giving something back. Starting from simple scripts, after few years I collected a set of tools that are now packed and shipped with Blender 2.80 known as Tissue add-on: https://github.com/alessandro-zomparell…

Those tools were developed in different directions, but the most famous part is probably Tessellate, an operator that allows to create complex tessellation of a generic component along the topology of another object. Initially developed for architectural design, this tool has been appreciated also in other fields, like fashion design and medical field.
Reducing the design to a small element, a cell, and controlling how it is multiplied along a surface’s topology, it is possible to generate extremely complex geometries with different qualities, like in a biological Tissue.
During several workshops I had the opportunity to test the tool combining it with 3D printing technology exploring extremely different behaviors according to the different connections between each elements, sometimes rigidly connected, some other times with spring-like connections, in other cases, with no connection at all, but interlocked, or just shape for behaving as a stereotomic system. It is also possible to set a desired number of iterations in order to create loop behaviors and create fractal geometries of branching systems.
Another really important part of Tissue is his “Weight Tools” panel. A set of tools aimed to extend the features connected to vertex groups. “Weight formula” allow to generate weight values according to math, using variables like vertices, positions or normals, or combining other vertex groups. Also thanks to the “Weight Contours” tools it is possible to extract curves representing the iso-value of a vertex group, or trim a mesh according to it’s weight values (a more neat version of the Mask modifier), or even add edges to the mesh according to those values in order to have a more accurate displacement.

I personally can’t wait to see what it will be possible to do in Blender with everything nodes, until that moment I’m collaborating with the Sverchok team, developing components for 3D printing thanks to the direct generation of Gcode files in Blender: https://www.facebook.com/claycodedesign
Eventually for Computational Designers that still really need to use the wide range of Grasshopper extensions, I recently shared on Github MeshSync. It’s a really simple add-on with the aim to make interoperability between the two software easier, thanks to an easy to trigger Import/Export system that allow to share mesh data and vertex groups from Blender to Grasshopper and the other way round: https://github.com/alessandro-zomparell…

Portrait of Alessandro Zomparelli
Alessandro Zomparelli
MHOX / Co-de-iT