Engagement with models has form. TGN is a proposal for engagement’s further development

There are two things: models, and engagements with models. It is necessary to distinguish between these fundamentally different things, and to recognize their interdependence.

2 things:

We have no problem differentiating:

(1) the world (or universe)


(2) engagements with the world, or, also known as:

  • ways of looking at the world and the technique and equipment for doing this.

The technique includes, do not forget, the interpretive generative frameworks of our minds, and the equipment enabling and amplifying this: our ocular equipment and their extension: microscopes, telescopes, etc., as well as, the “media” in which visual observations are recorded and studied.

Here’s a telescope:

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/otis_emerged_engineers_posing.jpg Engineers posed by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope shortly after it emerged from Chamber A at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on Dec. 1, 2017.
Credits: NASA/Chris Gunn https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/webb/observatory/index.html

You won’t confuse a telescope with the universe it looks at.

Will you?

A telescope is part of an apparatus for the act of looking at (an important form of engagement with) the world/universe.

Would you confuse a model with the “lens”1 for looking at it?

Would you be interested in a better lens?

Let’s elaborate

  1. 2 things:
  2. Let’s elaborate
    1. 1. Models
    2. 2. Engagement with models
  3. Engagement has form
  4. Engagement has purpose
  5. Comparing TGN to other forms of engagement
  6. What is TGN?
    1. TGN: AFR’s Standardized Open Source Core Features
      1. 1. Admin Features of TGN rigs
      2. 2. TGN rig volume/scope box
      3. 3. Cinematic camera rigging, built-in (resolving to parallel projection at center)
      4. 4. Rig UI
      5. 5. Filter Pegs
      6. 6. Style Pegs
      7. 7. Facility for extra graphics (via in-rig direct authoring or via link to any external app)
      8. 8. Rig sharing – TGN rigs are portable from one modeling app to another
  7. What’s possible?
    1. Implementation path possibilities
    2. The broader attention-focusing rigs AFR concept
    3. TGN Standards “Sink”
      1. Note the obvious:
      2. Standardized graphics fidelity
      3. A “sinking” strategy
        1. TGN feature 7: extra graphics
        2. TGN feature 5: model filtering
        3. 04 TGN: portability https://youtu.be/Je859_cNvhQ  (5:17)
        4. 05 TGN: managed environment https://youtu.be/Ka0o1EnGtK4  (9:27)
  8. Upcoming TGN developer webinar
    1. If you’d like an invitation to the webinar, please fill out and send the form.
  9. A builder’s call for better drawings

There are:

1. Models

2. Engagement with models

Engagement has form

Engagement, with models mental or digital, has form. And the form is recognizable.

You know what I’m talking about. You recognize it1.

Engagement with models is recognizable in its traditional form1. Its digital form remains underdeveloped. TGN is a specific proposal for engagement’s further formal development.

Engagement has purpose

Engagement has purpose, both INTERPRETIVE (to help you understand models) and GENERATIVE:

Model engagements are GATEWAYS FOR INPUT BACK INTO GENERATIVE SYSTEMS (minds, computational algorithms, AI).

It is up to developers to recognize that, develop it. There are abundant ideas on engagement-mediated input back into generative systems. TGN establishes a generalizable, standardizable, recognizable form of interpretive engagement with digital models, and so is an important step toward wider use of such input gateways. And clearer, easier access to them:

Here’s a short article about the interpretive and generative purpose of model engagements like TGN:


The article includes a video:


Comparing TGN to other forms of engagement

The post above, Thinking Loop, compares TGN to other forms of model engagement including conventional technical drawing, and others in the table below, and still others (the mind, computational design apps, “Chat GPT”/AI…) The post and video describe where TGN fits in the present and future landscape of digital media and software development:


What is TGN?

TGN is a set of software features proposed for open source development and implementation in all modeling applications/platforms. 

TGN is version 2.0, an evolution of my earlier work, the so-called hypermodel: but set free from its silos and leapfrogging far beyond v1.0 in expressive power and interpretive function.

At my webpage https://tangerinefocus.com/ are:

TGN: AFR’s Standardized Open Source Core Features

TGN is a set of (8) proposed features comprising a minimum coherent expression of the act of attentive focus within modeled spatial visual environments. See detailed discussion here of each of these 8 features:

1. Admin Features of TGN rigs
2. TGN rig volume/scope box
3. Cinematic camera rigging, built-in (resolving to parallel projection at center)
4. Rig UI
5. Filter Pegs
6. Style Pegs
8. Rig sharing – TGN rigs are portable from one modeling app to another

It’s a minimum coherent expression of attentive engagement in models. Which is neither to under nor overstate it. It surpasses some other forms of engagement with models. But it’s less than what’s possible.

What’s possible?

Implementation path possibilities

TGN is the minimum standardized core feature set under the broader unlimited attention focusing rigs AFR concept. I talk about AFR at my website. AFR can extend TGN as far as anyone can envision/imagine (it’s up to you).

The broader attention-focusing rigs AFR concept

Developer (and user) notes are here, AFR and TGN features in detail, with discussion of a wide array of possible implementation paths for developers depending on developer goals and the capabilities extent in their particular platforms:


Attention-Focusing Rig (AFR) possibilities are diverse. Each industrial, creative, technical domain and discipline has its own unique characteristics and needs, and each has tremendous diversity in existing applications and platforms, with a wide range of different graphical capabilities.

That being the case, there is no single correct and definitive AFR specification possible, not one that encompasses either what’s needed from each domain, let alone what’s possible, springing from each.

And yet, it is conceivable that each developer implementing the AFR concept on each software platform may at once be:

  • completely free to innovate all possible AFR features that may be discovered by each developer in evaluating their user requirements. At the diagram here I hint at these, naming some of the possibilities, colored blue in the diagram.

And yet, 

  • developers may take advantage of a set of TGN-community-managed open source standardized features at the core of AFR, TGN, orange in the diagram:

TGN Standards “Sink”

Note the obvious:
  • For the 8 minimum standard core features (TGN), plus
  • extensions of core features, and for
  • possible additional AFR features (there are very many) within the broader attention-focusing rigs AFR concept

For all of the above, methods of implementation will vary greatly from one modeling app/platform to another. Enforced consistency of implementation method obviously can’t happen. Over-standardization would be stifling if it were possible. But obviously, and fortunately, it’s not possible.

Standardized graphics fidelity

So how to maintain graphics fidelity for rig portability (so users can share rigs from one modeling app to another), at least supporting graphics to the minimum fidelity defined by a TGN standard?

A “sinking” strategy

Two quick examples of the “standards sink”:

TGN feature 7: extra graphics

Whether you implement user-authored extra graphics (non-model graphics) as:

  • in-rig direct writing, or, as
  • links to external graphics apps/formats/files

… whatever you do, the TGN rig should (will) “sink” your graphics to a lowest common denominator open standard graphics format, likely SVG. TGN should do this automatically.

In other words, implement anything you want, any way you want. Only ensure that whatever you produce is sinkable, to SVG. The TGN code should sink these graphics automatically without user effort.

Another example:

TGN feature 5: model filtering

Regarding developer/platform-unique TGN feature methods transforming themselves to portable standards within rigs, here at about 26 minutes I talk about this:


Of course every platform/app have their own unique filtering capabilities. The important thing for TGN is simply to differentiate between filter method and filter product

For filtering, there is the method of filtering. And there is the filtering product.

The latter is always a list of GUIDS.

The former is dependent on whatever filtering methods are supported in the host app (parameter search, compound parameters, etc.)

The filtering method used when authoring a rig can take full advantage of all the methods available in a given platform. But the filter product, a list of GUIDS, should be stored in the rig so the result is reproducible when shared to other apps where the original filter methods are unavailable.

Of course these things will be fluid and will need to be update-able in a managed environment. I talk about that in these videos:

04 TGN: portability https://youtu.be/Je859_cNvhQ  (5:17)
05 TGN: managed environment https://youtu.be/Ka0o1EnGtK4  (9:27)

Upcoming TGN developer webinar

I’ll end here with a note about an upcoming webinar, date to be determined, near end of February, early March:

At the webinar we’ll present:

  • TGN usage scenarios from transportation and building industries discussed by users in those industries who want and need TGN built into the modeling apps they use.
  • We intend to create a funded TGN development project to suit funder use cases. Funds have been offered.
  • An invitation for developers and users to join a TGN Consortium to refine and manage the TGN specification and code as an industry open standard

If you’d like an invitation to the webinar, please fill out and send the form.

Developers and modelers join us!


We hope the webinar is the start of broad industry collaboration on these core open features. And this appears at this moment to be likely, because of the stated interest in the last few months of an additional number of software companies. We hope the webinar will catalyze this collaborative work and the formation of a group that will shape an industry standard around this aspect of modeling: [the form of our engagement with it], which is quite distinct from [the form of modeling], as distinct as telescopes are from the cosmos.

Let’s build a better lens.

A builder’s call for better drawings


In addition to this builder’s call (see video at link) for owners/financiers/insurers to budget more for design, to get designers time to develop better drawings, which will make construction better, more efficient, saving cost, I’ll just add this:

Software developers should budget more for the development of drawing’s form of expression within models, to amplify interpretive and generative engagement.

TGN is a set of (8) proposed features comprising a minimum coherent expression of the act of attentive focus within modeled spatial visual environments.  It’s the future of technical drawing. Will get a lot more people a lot better engaged, in models of all kinds.


(1) technical drawing

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