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Circlecells

Yesterday’s generative art piece, called “Circlecells” (these names are amazing, I know):

circlecells-01.jpg

Detail:

circlecells-01-detail.jpg

The code is on GitHub. I also posted a few process pics to Twitter yesterday. There are also three other accompanying pieces in the set generated with different seeds: 02, 03, 04.

Explanation:

  • There’s a 20×20 grid which gets populated with an initial seed population of living/dead cells. (I get a random value between 0 and 5; if it’s 0 or 1, the cell is alive.)
  • The lines are drawn from any living cells to any immediately neighboring living cells.
  • The size of each circle is dependent on how many living neighbors the cell has.
  • The initial round is drawn in light tan, then the grid is run through a modified Conway’s Game of Life (any cells with 2, 3, or 5 living neighbors are alive in the next round).
  • Two more iterated rounds are drawn, one in a slightly darker tan and the last in dark red. (Drawing is done with the multiply blending mode.)
  • I textured the piece in Photoshop afterwards, using some Kyle T. Webster brushes — add canvas, add noise, encaustic grit, a couple others that I can’t remember.

Wave GIF

A quick animated GIF I threw together:

wave-001

I made the initial animation in Blender, using the wave and displace modifiers and some postprocessing in the node editor. Then I imported the frames into After Effects and did a little more processing (added grain, some color adjustments). I exported the frames as a PNG sequence and then converted them to a GIF using ImageMagick on the command line:

convert -delay 1x20 *.png -resize 500x500 -layers optimize +dither -colors 32 output.gif

More animations coming in the near future, hopefully.

Postmortem: Daily Blender

Done! Today was my last Daily Blender render (since I’m not doing Sundays). Whew. Here they all are:

Other than feeling guilty about spamming people on Twitter and Facebook about it each day, it’s been fun. I’ve pushed myself and done far more Blender than I had in the whole year before this month (just six pieces), and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve started using the rigid body sim, the cloth sim, the hair sim, the cell fracture addon, and environment maps. I’ve done a little more sculpting (can’t say that I’m any good at it yet, though). And, from looking at this overview image, I’ve learned once again that my artistic style is all over the map.

Things I still need to work on:

  • Modeling. I found myself avoiding it as much as possible this month. I can do basic stuff, but not much beyond that. (What would probably be best, I think, is a “Daily Modeling” challenge. But not just yet, and I’ll probably keep it private this time.)
  • Lighting. Environment maps helped a lot, but I still feel like it’s purely accidental when I end up with good lighting in my pieces.
  • UV mapping. I’m still scared of it.
  • I only used Freestyle on one piece. I wish I’d used it more.
  • OSL. I’ve done a little with it but not much.
  • External renderers (LuxRender, Yafaray, Mitsuba, Appleseed).

This daily challenge thing has once again proven productive. (The other time I did it was NaShoStoMo back in April 2011, which netted me twenty stories.) But now it’s time to rest.