Bigsley the Oaf

New Graphics Work

Posted in Uncategorized by bigsleytheoaf on October 8, 2010

I did some new graphics work. I also created a flickr account and uploaded my new graphics work. I also created a framework for creating graphics programs. I also went to Moscow. I also pasted the link to my flickr account right here: I also thought about how tired I was, just now. I am also not a cat.


7 Responses

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  1. Graham said, on October 8, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    These are beautiful. They remind me of fractal coastlines. What’s the method behind it?

  2. bigsleytheoaf said, on October 8, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Kind of hard to explain.

    The first set is just the result of a simple maze/genetic algorithm sort of thing whereby creatures travel along the horizontals and verticals but don’t hit the places other creatures already been.

    The second is just rotating particles travelling along random walks.

  3. Graham said, on October 11, 2010 at 2:50 am

    I ask b/c the linework in the mazes reminds me strongly of my own work.

    I’ve been looking for a layman’s guide to fractals, especially how to generate them. I stumbled onto a way of generating fractals by hand without algorithms or other calculations, and I’ve made two so far, but am unable to find further information on this. On the other hand they are taking about 50-75 hours of work apiece, so maybe it’s not surprising.

  4. bigsleytheoaf said, on October 11, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    That’s a lot of time.

    The algorithm that I use is basically this:

    A particle starts at point X and travels N, S, E, or W with probabilities Pn, Ps, Pe, Pw. It also “spawns” a new particle with probably Pspawn. This new particle has the same probability distribution over the directions as the original particle. Then, you just color the line segments connecting successive visited points with a color corresponding to how long the particle has been “alive.”

  5. Graham said, on October 11, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Ok, so what are the probabilities for generating the piece “m1r”? I picked this one because it looks the simplest. How do the particles “decide” when to stop moving? How many particles are there when the piece begins? My curiosity here is twofold.

    1) I’m really interested in doing traditionally algorithm-based art by hand, so I want to try a version of this or make up a new version, like a) where the probabilities that the particles use switch back and forth between two master sets, and each new particle spawned changes the probability instructions of its parent or b) layer this system over an “allowed movement” grid that (e.g.) has pockets of “can’t go north here” or “can’t go south here”.

    2. Also really interested in generative art. The instructions for the fractals I’ve been working on are deceptively simple — just a series of L and R turns for a single line to make, and the instructions for the next turn are embedded in the pattern of turns itself — but hidden complexities arise that by their very nature are impossible to predict. This goes back to the theory of self-awareness as an emergent epiphenomena — these types of work are analogous in that the underlying symmetry/beauty/aesthetics of the finished piece are likewise intrinsically unpredictable but inherent in the form.

  6. bizzlepop said, on October 11, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    1.) I think that the probabilities for generating m1r were something like Pn = Ps = 0.4, Pe = Pw = 0.1. and Pspawn = about 0.8. Also, the particles had a lifetime of 100 generations -> after they move 100 times they die. I’m not exactly sure, though, I don’t keep records.

    The other thing that should be made clear about this piece is that I had to go back in and fill in some of the “holes” by hand. What I mean by this is that if you put a particle in the middle and let it start growing then it’ll eventually fill the screen (if the probability of emitting a new particle is sufficiently high) but that it may have some holes. I went back and clicked on these to create new particles -> fill in the holes.

    Why are you interested in doing algorithm-based art by hand? It sounds like it’ll give you carpal tunnel syndrome. Also, isn’t it too slow? I find that I have to play around with the parameters for my programs a lot to get them to look ok. It seems like it might be easier to implement some really complicated algorithms like the ones you describe by hand since it would take so long to describe them in a computer language…

    2.) I’m also interested in generative art. If you need some great fodder for your thinking you can look here:

    The word “predict” is the real crux of a claim such as the one that “hidden complexities which are impossible to predict” arise. Part of the problem in predicting such complexities is that we don’t know their form at all before they arise. This is strange, but not unexpected. What it implies is that there is a world of phenomena which we can classify as “existing” (as in, when you see such a phenomenon you say “there is a phenomenon!”) but which we can’t fit into any systematic definition of form which we’ve come up with, yet. Symmetry seems to have something to do with it.

    I think we’re on the same page here. You write a short set of rules and “run” them (by hand or computer) and get something that is definitely SOMETHING, but perhaps you can’t say why it’s SOMETHING.

    Well why is something SOMETHING!?!

  7. Graham said, on October 11, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    1. I agree that it is a very slow process to do this kind of thing by hand. I find it deeply satisfying, though, for reasons that I haven’t as yet been able to put a finger on. I suppose it’s a sort of meditation. It’s very calming to sit and be alone with your thoughts and your algorithms, especially when all you need are some pens and papers. Part of this is also that I don’t have the programming chops (nor the requisite interest) to figure out how to encode the behavior I’m interested in. Of course I usually make small sketches before I officially start an algorithm, to make sure its behavior is “pretty enough”.

    Backstory: my friend Brandt wanted to know out to draw the Gosper curve so he could insert it in a drawing. I looked into it and presented him with iterative instructions for doing exactly that, but he took one look at the instructions and told me that he was just going to copy it from an illustration because the rules were “too complicated”. And that got me thinking about fractals in general, b/c I found the simplicity and self-reference of the instructions very satisfying.

    I did a version of the dragon curve first, and used the rules posted on Wikipedia to generate a set of L-R instructions. While I was doing that, though, I found an alternate quick way of determining instruction x when presented with instructions 0 through (x – 1), because the instructions are self-similar in a subtle way that the article doesn’t address. I generalized this to a whole (and probably infinite) set of possible beginning instructions, which according to my shitty math skills are all likely something called Lindenmeyer systems. Then I wanted to find new “sub-sets” of possible generating instructions — and voila — you present a blog post doing exactly that. Onwards and upwards. All I need are some ten-sided dice for probability calculations.

    2. Symmetry, yes. I’m often confounded by staring at half-finished fractals (by that I mean covering the paper halfway, as the process is without end), trying to discern their form, and all I can say is that “it looks like itself”. But of course I mean that in a very deep way. How can the form of a thing look like the form of a thing? What does it actually look like? It definitely looks like SOMETHING. Non-representational art. Ouroboros. Or as I told Brandt “the thing is both the thing and instructions for the thing.”

    I also think we’re on the same page. We should work together sometime soon.

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