PotScript: A Visual Grammar for Sculpting with Functions presented at ACM SCF Conference in NYC

Photo by Lingdong Huang 

by Lingdong Huang

Oct. 17, 2023


PotScript was a project that started back in July at Haystack Labs by independent researcher Leo McElroy and Future Sketches researcher Lingdong Huang. The authors went on to write a paper about it, which was accepted to the 2023 ACM SCF conference. The project was presented both as a demo and a talk during the conference from October 8–10 in New York City.

The team presented a playful 3D modeling tool that integrates a visual grammar with shaping curves to model forms as parametric functions, which can be created and manipulated by novice users. They created a web-based, open source, end-to-end design environment for 3D printable forms which were fabricated on clay 3D printers. Users can manipulate forms by directly editing curves, which drive transformations to the form's profile as it grows in the z-direction. These transformations can be stacked and composed in a visual postfix language that allows for the creation of parametric designs driven by directly manipulable curves. The team pilot tested their program with a small group of ceramicists, artists, and digital fabrication practitioners, which suggested applications in education and art making. PotScript demonstrates an approach to integrating direct manipulation into parametric design that allowed users to create complex forms in small sets of user actions. The team aims to make modeling complex 3D forms as approachable as stacking a handful of blocks.

The demo can be tried online here:

The source code can be found here:

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