Portable attention-focusing TGN rigs create a DATA FABRIC for CLEAR INTERPRETATION of models – improving over data siloes and unfocused obscurity

THIS is a TGN rig:


The rig is expressed visually within a modeled environment in a modeling app. Getting this expressed with adequate visual fidelity in a cross-app, cross-platform network is easier said than done, because it requires developer care in different organizations. But there is no rocket science here, and no new invention from scratch. All of the components of a TGN rig are existing known entities. But they’re packaged together in a coherent and exceptionally useful way. And they’re envisioned (see the developer specification below) with portability designed in from the beginning.

A comment assessing the utility of the TGN concept in construction workflows:

LinkedIn comment at a post to this page: https://tangerinefocus.com/2022/02/14/im-looking-for-a-few-good-software-companies/

There is an interesting short book with some Picasso drawings and the following remark:

plain-bullPicasso’s work – just plain bull.”

In 1945 through 1946, Pablo Picasso produced a powerful series of drawings of bulls. When you arrange his bulls in order of detail the most detailed is a realistic drawing of a bull. All the features are there. Then, in a series of 18 drawings, Picasso step by step simplifies the previous image. The shading of the hide vanishes. The details of the muscle disappear. The texture is gone. The three-dimensionality evaporates. By the 18th bull, we see a line drawing – a simple image consisting of 10 curves and 2 ovals. But those 12 marks distill the essence of that bull – its strength and masculinity. The clutter is gone; the essence remains.

This final image was the only one in the series that Picasso entitled the bull. By systematically cutting peripheral parts (being careful not to turn the bull into a cow), we force ourselves to appreciate what’s important. Isolating those elements can give a great deal of focus…” – Edward B. Burger / Michael Starbird

There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.” – Pablo Picasso

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 4.14.19 PM
the bull

Recall Spencer Frederick Gore (1878 – 1914):

‘By drawing, man has extended his ability to see and comprehend what he sees.’


If you still doubt that, have a look at this:

The opinions above (Huff, Borges) contrast with the rather contagious slogan/mantra, which has circulated already some 20 years or so:

5 (or 10, or 25) years from now, there will be no drawings on any infrastructure project.”

– an oft repeated (IN SOME CIRCLES) slogan

It’s a mesmerizing chant. But it’s unfounded. It’s also extremely counterproductive to model utility and utilization, and software development.

I’ve been attempting to smash the chant on the rocks for quite a long time. I continue trying.

In AECO digital twins (or models of any kind), comprised of myriad inputs, users have to be able to say to each other:

“hey, look here, at this,

and over here, at this.”, etc.

– an engineer, architect, and other construction professionals


“I looked here at this and declare this fit”, (or unfit, etc.)

That activity, calling to focused attention within models either mental or digital, …IS “drawing”.

Marketing mantra, though, still compels people to kick drawing down the back stair and stomp on it.

Drawing’s archaic! It’s going to disappear!

– software companies’ marketing mantra


The statement “there will be no drawings in 5 (or 25) years” is based on the idea that models are the successor to drawings. The impact of that idea is colossal in the history of errors.

Mental modeling is the predecessor of digital modeling. Digital modeling the successor of mental modeling (and its companion).

That’s as related to drawing as “world” is to “focused attention”. Different things. Interrelated fundamentally.

TGN is (should be, eventually will be) the successor to traditional technical drawing. TGN rigs should be shareable/portable to all modeling apps/platforms.

In this post is a collection of examples of focused attention and failures of attention, of difficulties in achieving attention, and then, significant risks of communication failure even when attention is achieved, the built-in limitations of human attention, and the necessity of attention nonetheless. If you read this post to the end, I think you’ll appreciate attention in ways that may not have occurred to you before:

Automating drawing is not enough. Abandoning it is self-defeating and counterproductive (in every way, for everyone). Replacing it with half-measures gives credit to the chant “drawing is dead” but does little to help users interpret extremely complex models.

Drawing must evolve. IN A SERIOUS WAY.

Here’s framework for developing attention-focusing rigs for professional use in all modeling apps and platforms, with the rigs shareable from one app to another: 

TGN rigs will increase model utilization, build better collaboration, better relationships, and more effective communication. TGN is about shareable interpretive devices, authored and shared within models. TGN should be everywhere, not siloed. TGN standard core functions should be built into all modeling apps and platforms. Shareable TGN rigs help bring apps and platforms together and build better design and construction collaboration, better relationships, more effective communication.

a data fabric for model understanding

People talk now about “data fabric” replacing data silos. TGN is intended in that spirit.

Note the BCF column in the table below. The requirement, for clarifying focus, is so fundamental that BCF so far has not gone far enough. TGN is a roadmap for developing the attention-focusing concept further:

TGN Rig Standard Core Features (minimum):



TGN Rigs, rigging models for insight, clarity, interpretive power, communication

Download the TGN developer specification, a roadmap for the evolution of the expression of focused attention within digital models of all kinds (all apps, all platforms). In other words, the evolution and future of technical drawing. TGN Rigs are rigging for insight. They empower users to rig their models for clarity. Rigging for interpretive power, putting real FORCE behind thinking while modeling, while building. 

Use TGN Rigs as an engine of interpretation, a vehicle of communication. TGN is your vehicle, baby. A machine of insight. An algorithm of understanding. Maybe you want to hear Tom Jones’ version.

The TGN developer spec is for free to anyone who wants it. A free book. Download

TGN: a digital model INTERACTIONS format standard (Apple Book)

TGN: a digital model INTERACTIONS format standard (ePub)

TGN: a digital model INTERACTIONS format standard (iCloud)



0 1 TGN: rigging for insight https://youtu.be/CGXrk9nGj0Y  (2:16)

image credit: (background image): https://polymachine.com/

02 TGN: what is TGN exactly? https://youtu.be/byIW0T8MCsk  (5:35)

03 TGN: demonstration https://youtu.be/wTh2AozTHDc  (3:40)

Self critique of this demo is here:

04 TGN: portability https://youtu.be/Je859_cNvhQ  (5:17)

05 TGN: industry value https://youtu.be/Ka0o1EnGtK4  (9:27)

(the dev platform I mention in the videos is iTwins.js, but TGN can be developed on every platform where TGN is useful and desired)

I’m a firm believer in BIM and digitisation, but a 2D representation is still very common and very helpful. To me, a 2D drawing is all about focus and clarification, by showing only what is relevant with added annotation to make the drawing self-contained. The same way that a perspective view from a model with a cutout can be so valuable. The model may be the source, but in itself, without any focus or filtering, it may not be the most efficient way to explain something. 2D drawings and 3D models to me are not mutually exclusive.

Stefan Boeykens on linkedin

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