After reading an article from Benjamin Kovach where he described the process and steps behind his latest work I decided to do a writeup of my latest attempt at generative art: Mad Circles.
If you didn't read the previous article, here is the rough goal of what I was trying to re-create:
I started off with the same basic setup from my Generative Art Setup post. With it I can run my python codeg and a folder will be created containing the final work and the code used to generate that work. Because of this setup I can easily walk through the progression of my work and also jump back to a previous state if I hit a dead end or simply want to dive deeper into a certain piece.g
My typical setup generates gifs so that I can see the progress of the image being generated (also they just look cool), so the first couple of images are animated.
Then I realized that I couldn't create gifs like I normally do, because the process looks like the following:
- Move every entity
- Draw every entity
- Save off a frame
However my goal was to draw a multitude of circle "tentacles" on top of one another so I couldn't do my typical step all then draw all until completion. Instead I needed to step a single "tentacle" until completion and draw at each step before moving on to other tentacles. Because of this (and my goal to create a static image) I stopped producing gifs and just output the final image.
I decided that I didn't want that much whitespace, however looking back I like the scale and the amount of whitespace. I think I might have been to focused on re-creating the original work at this point.
I decided to try a wider format/ratio (1:5) and I really liked it, sticking with it for quite a while. The space at the bottom of this image made me wonder what if all of the tentacles started from the top and reached down like tornados or the appendages of some monstrous celestial octopus.
I wasn't a huge fan of how this path ended up looking, so I went back towards my original goal.
Fill it Up
I really liked the spots of white (or near white) so I decided to make many more circles white by adding a bunch of copies of white to the color list I was picking from.
I decided to try and add whitespace in a different way by adding a chance to stop the progression of tentacles which increased as they got closer to the edges of the canvas
Ball o' Worms
I decided that if I wanted to really clean up the edge then I needed to not draw any tentacles that ended beyond the edge of the canvas. This made me change the way I drew the image. I would march the circle along it's path and store the parameters previously sent to the draw command then after it had completed if it hadn't gone beyond the edge of the canvas then I would draw it in full (otherwise I wouldn't draw it at all).
Less Wormy Please
Back to our original "frame full of circles" motif, enough of these worms.
Horns and Rope
I didn't really like how the increasing radius looked. These circles were starting to look less like worms and more like rope to me, let's see what we can do to make it more ropey.
Kind of reminds me of paint, let's make the individual arms much smaller and stop starting all of them in the center
I think just drawing the outline really gives this a graffiti-like feel
I love being able to trace (with my eyes) the path of these long tubes. I think the filled one has a nice sense of depth, the outline only one looks a bit too busy to me (almost dirty).
While many of these works are interesting there's nothing that I'm really proud or satisfied with.g That being said, I had a blast working on this and looking back gave me a couple of ideas for the future. I enjoy having a rough goal in mind, but not being afraid to go wherever I feel like the work takes me.
I still struggle with color, for the majority of the pictures I chose randomly from a set of predefined colors (that I chose) and I find it a pain to pick out colors. I wonder if I can programmatically pick some starting from a base color or something similar. I really like grey backgrounds, although the white ones really make the pictures "blend in" (especially on this webpage), I should experiment more with background color. I also enjoy non-square canvases or very elongated ones, I think I should try more that have long vertical spaces.
What do you think? Any favorites? Any tips on color?