Tools For Design
a digital toolbox
Tools For Design was a year-long funded research project by RIT that aimed at redefining the creative process for designers through new software tools. Through experimentation with technologies such as Generative AI, computer vision, augmented reality, and Three JS, we were able to develop four web-based tools. They are small, but mighty, and fill in gaps that exist within the designers’ current process.
Team: Chris Ference, Avinash Amudala
Type: Creative Technology, Software Development
🎨 Sample: Palettes from images
Sample transforms images into vibrant color palettes. By uploading an image, designers can instantly visualize a palette that represents the primary colors of the image in proportion to their prominence. With a simple click, users can download the entire color palette to integrate into their art-board or copy an individual color's hex code.
💈 Revolve: Sketch 3D forms
Revolve allows designers to sketch profiles of cylindrical objects, and immediately visualize them in 3D. While similar functionalities exist in other tools, the speed of Revolve allows designers to explore dozens of ideas in minutes, rather than only one or two. The tool offers control over the form's profile, material properties, and the shadow it casts. Upon completion, users can download their creation as a PNG or OBJ file, ready for further exploration or presentation.
✏️ Underlay: AI for design sketching
Underlay allows designers to get started sketching quicker by creating a dimensionally accurate reference. Simple type in the object you are designing, and Underlay generates primitive 3d geometry that you can sketch over. Users can then modify dimensions, lighting, and perspective to compose their sketch.
🎬 Director: Your portable studio
Current designer’s workflows involves analog sketching, digitial sketching, 3d modeling, and rendering. Switching between these various mediums slows down the process and inhibits creativity. We built Director as a tool that allows designers to sketch, 3d model, and visualize their ideas in minutes.
"I think it will be great for students who are increasingly nervous about sketching."
"Dig it, thank you! Especially that it just runs on a browswer!"
"Amazing tool! Great for the early stages of a project where I want to visualize hundreds of options instantaneously. Will be using this!"
As this was a year long initiative, there was a lot of other experiments and tools created along the way. Early on, I conducted interviews and learned about designer's workflows and the softwares they use to build their ideas and visualize them. This lead me to explore Projection Mapping & Augmented Reality, as tools for material visualization. I also researched the seemingly magical interactions that occur when using products. For example opening the case to your Airpods and a friendly message appearing on your device. How can current poor experiences with AR be resolved with surprising delightful moments.
Through various AR prototypes, I strived to create experiences that felt immersive but also functional with various interface elements to adjust the virtual content. I experimented with various transitions to prepare users to view virtual content.
After creating dozens ui mockups, I knew it was time to begin coding and building out some of the mockups. As I wanted to make the program accessible, it lead me to start learning Three JS which enabled 3d content on the web. This would allow for a mobile and desktop friendly experience.
Begining to develop for the web and prototypes with three js. Wireframes of site ideas.