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How do you start designing abstractly and spatially to avoid conventions?  Start by abandoning the box.




Rhino / Grasshopper

Adobe Suite


Agisoft Metashape




Operative Design

A Catalogue of Spatial Verbs

Free PDF
































Public Space


Single Surface




Area/ DimArea: Report and objects area/dimension


Array: Copies objects spaced in columns, rows, and levels in the x-, y-, and z-directions.

Array Polar:  copies objects around a central location


Bend: Deform object along an arc

Blend Surface: Create a blend surface between two surfaces with continuity control.


Block: links repeating objects


Block edit: Allow selecting a block instance to change the block geometry and update the block definition.


Block Manager: add, remove, and update block definitions


Boolean Solid(Union/Difference/Intersection): Works best on closed surfaces and polysurfaces to join, subtract, or intersect a solid shape from another solid to form a new solid.


Bounding Box: creates a box that encloses selected objects or sub-objects.


Cage: Create a control cage object used by the CageEdit command to deform other objects.


Cap: closes an object that you’ve split or extruded to form a solid – not only works when the surfaces are planar


Chamfer: Create a line segment between two curves and trims or extends the curves to meet it.

Change Degree: Change the degree of the polynomial that defines the curve or surface by adding or subtracting control points between knot spans, while maintaining the knot structure.


ClippingPlane: shows you a cut through of a particular part of an object without actually splitting it in the model; for a specific viewport, click on the plane and use “EnableClippingPlane” to turn it on and “DisableClippingPlane” to turn it off in that viewport


CloseCrv: Close open curves.


Copy: Duplicate objects.


Connect Surface: Extend surface edges to meet and trims the surfaces to each other.


Contour: Create a spaced series of planar curves and points through objects.


Curve Boolean: Trim, split, and join curves based on their overlapping regions.


Curvature Analysis: Evaluate surface curvature using false-color analysis.


Devloft: Creates a single developable surface between two rails.


DimCurveLength: Dimension the length of a curve.


Distance: measures the distance between two points


Divide: Create point objects along a curve by the number of equal length segments or segments of a specified length.


Dot:  Draws an annotation dot that stays parallel to and sizes with the view.


Drape: Create a surface through the intersections of objects and points projected toward the construction plane.


DrapePt: Create a grid of points at the intersections of objects and points projected toward the construction plane.


DupEdge/ Dupborder/ Dupface: duplicates the edge of an object.


Emap: Visually evaluate surface smoothness using an image bitmap reflected in the surface.


Extend/ ExtendSrf: Lengthen a curve/surface by a value.


ExtractPt/ srf: Duplicate curve control or edit points, surface control points, and mesh vertices.

ExtrudeCrv: extrude closed planar curves in a straight line

ExtrudeCrvToPnt: Drive closed planar curves tapering to a point.

ExtrudeSrf: Drive surface edges in a straight line to create a solid.

Explode: breaks objects down into components curves, surfaces, meshes, text, blocks, etc

Fillet: Add an arc between two curves and trims or extends the curves to the arc.

Flip: Reverse the normal direction of a curve, surface, or mesh.

FlowAlongSurface: Re-align objects from a source surface to a target surface.


Foldface: Rotate polysurface faces around an axis


Group/Ungroup: groups multiple objects or curves


Gumballalignment: Reset the gumball widget alignment.


Gumballrelocate: Changes the Gumball widget location and orientation of on an object.


Hatch: (hatchscale/hatchbase) Create a pattern of lines to fill bounding curves.


Heightfield: Create a surface based on gray-scale color values in an image file.

Hide/Show: Conceal objects from view.       

Invert select and hide:

Insertknot: Add knots to curves or surfaces.


Intersect: Create point objects or curves at the intersections of curves and surfaces.


Isolate: Hide all but the currently selected objects.


Join: Connect curves, surface edges, or surfaces to form a single object.


Loft: Fit a surface through profile curves that define the surface shape.


Make2D: Project geometry to the construction plane.

MergeAllFaces: Merge all faces into a single surface


Mirror: Create a mirror-image copy of objects.


Move / MoveFace/ MoveEdge:


Network Surface: Fit a surface through a network of crossing curves.


Nurb to Mesh:

Offset: Copy a curve parallel to the original.


Offset Surface: Copy a surface parallel to the original.


Patch: Fit a surface through curves and point objects.


Picture: places a picture in your model


PointsOn/ PointsOff: allows you to edit a curve or shape that you’ve already made

PlanarSrf: gives a surface to a closed planar curve

Project: projects curves or surfaces along an irregular surface; make sure that the curve/surface is directly above or below the surface to which you want to project; “

Project to cplane: flattens objects on different planes onto construction plane

Rotate: rotates an object


Rotate3d: rotates an object in 3d


Scale: Change the size of objects uniformly in the x, y, and z directions.


Scale1D/Scale2D: Change the size of objects in one/ two directions.

Section: creates section cuts through an object – great for laser cutting topographies


SelBoundary: Select objects within an existing closed curve.


SelDup: selects duplicate objects in the model.

Show/Hide: show makes objects visible, hide makes them invisible

Shell: Remove the selected surfaces from a polysurface, and then offset the remaining surfaces to create a solid with a specified thickness.

ShrinkTrimmedSrf: Contract the underlying untrimmed surface close to trimming boundaries.

Smash: Flatten a surface without restriction to single-directional curvature.

Split: splits apart surfaces, lines

Sweep (1 & 2): creates a thickness by “sweeping”  a shape along a curve

Text: creates text

Trim: allows you to trim intersecting lines

Turntable: automatically rotates your object

Tweencurves: Create curves between two open or closed input curves.

Units: changes the units that you work in (Imperial/Metric)

Unrollsrf: explodes a closed object into multiple planes – great for making laser cutting files!

Untrim: removes trim curves from trimmed surfaces


Zoom: zooms to selected area or object

Force an Axo view for object

! _Select _Pause _SetActiveViewport Top _Rotate 0 30 _SetActiveViewport Right _Shear w0 w0,0,1 -45 _SetActiveViewport Top _Zoom _All _Extents

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Design / Theory


Design / Theory

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