ParaCloud takes generative architecture beyond gearheads

New GEM 5 extends the ability to generate complex 3D models without scripting or complicated diagrams. The output can be read by most CAD and 3D modeling products.

ParaCloud has released an update to its GEM software for 3D pattern modeling. The new release includes a completely new components population system, allowing for better control over the scaling, positioning and orientation of components.

A 3D model created in ParaCloud GEM. (Source: ParaCloud)

Since the introduction of Generative Components by Bentley in 2003 (commercially released in 2007), technologically savvy architects and other designers have been experimenting with the ability to apply rules to the creation of geometric forms, instead of having to model them directly. The annual SmartGeometry conference is devoted to exploring the software and design issues that arise from having more direct control over design through computation. (See also, “SmartGeometry conference explores new approaches to design.”)

ParaCloud GEM is a 3D pattern modeler, initially created by ParaCloud founder Eyal Nir, Ph.D. to provide a simple approach for generating complex 3D models without resorting to scripting of any kind, including the “spaghetti wiring” approach of visually linking parameters to geometry. It works by applying design meshes over existing geometry. The 3D pattern can then be controlled parametrically to match design intent.

ParaCloud GEM 5 provides new tools for advanced control over a design model. Users can edit the design meshes to the level of an individual face or sets created with smart mapping tools. Other features allow users to manage offsets, buildups, parametric transformations and component proliferation. There are also tools for exploring expected performative aspects of a design. A user can specify point of interests and relationships to explore variations of the design mesh and components. The product comes in both Windows and Mac OS X versions.

City model by GroundLab, UK; created in ParaCloud GEM. (Source: ParaCloud)

Models created using ParaCloud GEM can generate 3D printable output; the software includes unfold layout tools for placing the components of a model in the fabrication plane. The same features can be used to document components for shop drawings. ParaCloud GEM supports multi-layered materials for designing digital materials.

Models created in ParaCloud GEM 5 can be used in SketchUp (Free and Pro), Maya, 3ds max, Rhino 3D, and any CAD software supporting OBJ, STL, DXF or COLLADA. The price is $795 for a full version for professional use or $295 for academic use. Upgrades are available.

More information: or [email protected].

Geometric design in ParaCloud GEM by Stephen Nieto, USA. (Source: ParaCloud)