A take on Generative Art

// November 2nd, 2010 // Flash 3D, Generative art

Ok, I did some generative art-like things before. But it was never my goal, they where always somehow the side effect of experimenting with code.

But recently I did a nice project for Little Miss Robot. They asked me to make an Air application that generates images with code. At that point the code didn’t really mater. The only thing that counted was the result.

Some of the type of pictures the application creates (click to enlarge):

generative art, perlin noise, delaunay triangulation

generative art, perlin noise, delaunay triangulation

(no source code for now, but think Perlin Noise and Delaneay triangulation ;) ) Ill update this post when the app is available. In the meantime, there is a video.

This whas a big difference in mindset for me. The code was just the medium, not the goal, and I actually liked the approach of making interesting images instead of making interesting code.

I looked around on the internet to see what was actually going on in the generative art scene. And one thing I noticed is that a lot of people use photos to extract colours and/or shapes for there art (I also did it).  Which makes a lot of sense, photos always have a nice natural colour scheme. But with everything I saw that uses this technique, the source pictures got somehow lost.  So this gave me the idea to extend the original pictures instead of just using them.

Some results of exploring that concept (click to enlarge):

generative art, perlin noise

generative art, perlin noise

Original (public domain) pictures:

Source code:  [download#2#nohits]

An other thing I saw where beautiful 3d structures (mostly made with structuresynth and rendered with sunflow) So I thought it would be nice to make stuff like that in Flash.

Creating 3D structures ain’t a problem, but two things I really wanted for my renders where depth of field and ambient occlusion. So I messed a round with depth-maps to create screen-space ambient occlusion and custom blur filters for the depth of field. But the result wasn’t really satisfying. To get a good result I had to ray trace my structures.  Creating a ray tracer in ActionScript seemed like an interesting challenge, so that’s what I did…

Some of the ray traced images (click to enlarge) :
generative art, perlin noise, 3D flash ray-tracer

generative art, perlin noise, 3D flash ray-tracer

Making a ray tracer is quit addictive, and soon I wasn’t satisfied with my limited feature set and at this point I don’t feel I have explored those 3D structures enough. So in the next post (coming very soon…) some more renders and more about the ray tracer + the ray tracer source code. So, stay tuned :)

And finally, a little preview of things to come ( I admit, the shading is a little bit overdone :p ):

generative art, perlin noise, delaunay triangulation

12 Responses to “A take on Generative Art”

  1. felix says:

    Great images! Love that you built a ray tracer in AS.

  2. Lawrie says:

    Wow – Those renders are great! I’m looking forwards to having a play with the source code.

  3. Michael says:

    great stuff, I was waiting for a new post :-)

  4. Andy Makely says:

    This work is AMAZING.

  5. Amazing work dude, very inspiring.

  6. walter Geukens says:

    Mooi werk, leunt sterk aan bij kubisme.
    Is het mogelijk om binnen de contouren van een getekende figuur dergelijk ontwerpen te zetten?

  7. Very cool stuff! You are unfortunately inspiring me to divert away from my planned projects and start learning more about generative art.

  8. Danny K says:

    Nice work! I wish I knew how to write code… I try producing similar stuff with design software, but it’s much harder..

  9. I LOVE the first raytracer image. Too bad the resolution is to low, or I would have put it as my background :)

  10. Looks great. How long does it take to render?

  11. Alistair Calder says:

    I love the two ray traced images – did you ever get around to posting the source for those?

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