WIT Press

Classification, characterization and abstraction of vegetable surfaces for design


Free (open access)


Volume 14 (2019), Issue 2



Page Range

131 - 146

Paper DOI



WIT Press


Ever Patiño, David A. Torreblanca-Díaz, Andrés Valencia-Escobar & Alejandro Zuleta


Biological design tools such as biomimicry and bio-inspiration are increasingly used resources to solve design and engineering problems, owing to their high probability of finding efficient technical solutions and novel morphologies with the potential to positively impact the environment. This article focuses on the development of a methodology for the morphological characterization of plant surfaces, which can be applied in a conventional design or research project based on biological information. The process proposed here is part of the results of the research project ‘Repertory of bio-inspired surfaces and textures, through morphological experiments with Digital Manufacturing Technologies’. For the development of the characterization, the observation and selection of 225 species, which were grouped and categorized based on the predominant geometric characteristics, resulting in six categories: basic geometries, reciprocals, reliefs, ramifications, folds and visual texture. Then, the natural models were evaluated qualitatively and the representative samples of each category to later perform the process of digital abstraction using CAD and parametric tools. In the process of abstraction a description and visual analysis is made from: transition points, contours, symmetries, cross-sections and basic patterns as straight lines, sections of circle, circumferences, ellipses and/or parabolas. It was possible to verify that the three-dimensional interpretation that was made digitally of the textures, preserve the fundamen- tal morphological properties, in addition to, to keep a direct relationship with the category to which they belong, achieving a balance between the faithful copy and the abstract copy; this in order to maintain the formal properties with potential to be applied in future design projects.


abstraction, analogy, biomimicry, bio-inspiration, design, plant surfaces, textures.