GENiE, which stands for GENerator of Inspirational Environments is the latest of our projects to go live. The idea for the app along with its name was created by our client, Hardscape Products Ltd. Hardscape works with landscape architects to find the perfect paving designs. They use computer aided design tools to be able to display different types of products in various scene types. They wanted a solution that would allow their customers to be able to easily generate different paving blends and display their products in a 3D environment. GENiE is a completely bespoke online web application which provides the solution to do just that.
How to use GENiE.
GENiE had to be easy to use. We wanted a friendly interface that would allow the users to easily generate custom blends. We designed a simple form which gives customers the option to select a variety of materials and colours along with a tile size, a pattern and a grout colour. The user can add up to seven different materials and colours and can specify how much of each material they would like.
When users have made their selection the app then intelligently selects all the tiles and randomly places them in the pattern chosen making sure to only use the amounts that have been requested.
The blended image can then be viewed either in a birds-eye, top down view which allows them to see the most detail or it can be viewed in perspective in a 3D scene. The blend can be even be rotated at 45 degree intervals to find the best fit.
GENiE was developed using Ruby on Rails, a web application framework that allowed us to focus on developing sound, clear code, leaving the configuration to take care of itself. We then used Image Magick to manipulate the images and produce a single blended image. The app was created to allow easy data management by an administrator via an admin panel. The only option that cannot be amended by an administrator is the patterns. At initial release the available patterns are stacked, staggered and herringbone. Each pattern is programmed to align the tiles in specific configuration and outputs an image that can replicated side by side seamlessly allowing a 10×10 paving block to become a 50×50 or 100×100 block. The app is hosted on one of our web servers described here using Phusion Passenger and Apache and is under version control for easy maintenance in the future.
What do Hardscape think about the finished product?
Click the link below to take a look at the app for yourself.