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ShapeDiver, the Network for Sharing Grasshopper Parametric 3D Models

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ShapeDiver is a web service for publishing parametric 3D data. It is run by ShapeDiver GmbH, a limited liability company registered in Vienna, Austria. Alexander Schiftner, Mathias Höbinger and Mathieu Huard founded it in 2015.

The ShapeDiver team’s motivation is to bring parametric modelling to the web, and to make it a smooth, convenient and exciting experience for both designers and viewers. The intuitive website aims to offer the flexibility of mass customization to every company, big or small, in a simple web browser.

Much like for other design and 3D model networks and online databases, the biggest responsibility is to do it in a way that respects every designer’s needs and concerns, be it regarding intellectual property rights, data security, privacy or any other issue that concerns you when you think about the idea of uploading your precious work to the cloud.

“One of the things we would love to see it become is a tool that helps shape a future where design becomes global and manufacturing local. Where designers don’t need a big distributor to get their dynamic designs to their customers. Where I can sell my bookshelf to someone in Japan without wasting a thought on shipping,” said co-founder Alexander Schiftner. “We’re not there yet, we’re just getting started. For now we provide a safe harbour for parametric models and an online window for everyone to interact with them. So jump in, dive with us and we will explore the possibilities of this sea of parametric 3D together.

ShapeDiver lets you easily display your parametric 3D content created in Grasshopper. To use ShapeDiver as a designer, you will need some basic knowledge about parametric modeling as a concept and particularly the design tool Grasshopper, which is part of the versatile 3D modelling software Rhinoceros.

The online system will display everything that’s visible in your definition’s Grasshopper preview. That means you should deactivate the preview option on all components except the ones you actually want to show to your viewers. The tricky part here is that you might display objects several times without noticing. It’s very hard to spot duplicate geometry in Grasshopper’s preview mode. This would make your model unnecessarily large and slow when it’s transmitted through the web.

ShapeDiver will search your Grasshopper definition for any controls that influence geometry, like sliders, boolean toggles and the like. They will be presented to your viewers in a clean control widget next to your model, together with the nicknames you assigned to the controls in Grasshopper.

To make a model look great on the web, of course you’ll need lots of different colors and materials. You can use ShapeDiver’s material component to choose from a range of materials which have been optimized and combine them with any color you want. You can even let your viewers adjust colors and materials by connecting the material component to controls.



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