The new Line/Shape/Space site has an interesting read by Autodesk CTO, Jeff Kowalski. It is, of course, to promote Autodesk’s Dreamcatcher project, a parameter-based, generative design project, but the headline is nice and controversial, just the way we like’em.

“CAD Is a Lie”

In the article, Jeff describes how the computer really doesn’t ‘aid your design.’ True enough, it’s just a tool that helps you along, you know, helps as in aids and assists, but who really cares about the meaning of words? The point is, computers can be used for more, like come up with ideas on their own.

“Computers that creatively come up with ideas on their own are the heart of generative design. In generative design, you share your goal with the computer, tell it what you want to achieve, as well as the constraints involved, and the computer actually explores the solution space to find and create ideas that you would never think of on your own.”

I agree, except for one point. The strength of generative design, isn’t only in entering the set of parameters, sitting back and letting the computer do all the work, but in being able to explore different forms yourself.

The article, while making a good point, is talking about a specific type of generative design, in that Autodesk Dreamcatcher (from my understanding) is optimizing for a designs structural integrity, looking more at the function than the form, whereas something like Grasshopper for Rhino is focused more on exploring the form.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.