Generative design mimics nature’s evolutionary approach to design. Designers or engineers input design goals into generative design software, along with parameters such as materials, manufacturing methods, and cost constraints. Then, using cloud computing, the software explores all the possible permutations of a solution, quickly generating design alternatives. It tests and learns from each iteration what works and what doesn’t.
With generative design, there is no single solution; instead, there are potentially thousands of great solutions. You choose the design that best fits your needs.
In the time you can create one idea, a computer can generate thousands, along with the data to prove which designs perform best.
Make impossible designs possible
Generative design lets you create optimized complex shapes and internal lattices. Some of these forms are impossible to make with traditional manufacturing methods. Instead, they're built using new additive manufacturing methods.
Optimize for materials, manufacturing methods, and cost
Set goals and parameters, and the software will create high-performing design options based on those constraints. The software resolves conflicting design constraints so you can focus on innovating.
Types of generative design
Generative design is a broadly used term. Here are the four most common methods of generative design.
With this approach, designers or engineers input their goals and constraints, and the software runs artificial intelligence-based algorithms to produce a wide range of design alternatives.
Sportswear company creates the first dual-purpose 3D-printed performance training shoe for athletes. (video: 31 sec.)
Autodesk research teams explore ways to optimize the design of airplane seat frames to reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. (video 2:05 min.)
Generative design for architecture
Autodesk’s new Toronto office is the first example of a generatively designed office space. We started with high-level goals and constraints, and using the power of computation, generated thousands of design options. The concepts evolved to create a highly functional and novel space.
Using generative design software and 3D printing, Airbus created an airplane partition—which separates the crew from the passengers—that is 45 percent lighter than conventional partitions, resulting in huge savings in fuel and carbon footprint.