Generative Design Variations M.1.5 Noisy motion

I start with a copy of the Generative Design book’s introduction: ‘As you can see, the possibilities of the noise () function’s character are diverse. Until now, the generated values were always applied directly to a visual parameter (curve point, pixel color, or height position of the grid points). In the following examples the noise function is used to control dynamic parameters. The generated values now define the direction of movement of a swarm of agents. This example uses the same principle employed in the previous programs. The only difference is that noise () is applied to the rotation of grid elements. In the following programs, the arrows are no longer drawn but are used to control the movement of the elements.’ Until this point the book’s introduction. Here are the four programs I worked with:

As usual I have created a Flickr Album with most of the images I made during this assignment. Alas there was only a little JavaScript involved because the controlp5 Processing library is not supported by JavaScript. Instead you get the Processing code when you click on the previews of this loftmatic page. The first ten previews (from the top) will work with JavaScript but very slow.

I started with making the background black. That leaves you with an image without an arrow because that is already black. Made it white in Adobe Illustrator. I lowered the TileSize from 40 to 20. That means you can see the noise pattern better. But the arrow symbol is getting less recognizable. I also changed the strokeweight of the arc from 1 to 16. And made the color red with a transparency of 128. I think that arrow is of no use anymore as it is now. So I commented those program lines out. But they might come in later. Slow JavaScript ahead 🙂

Commented out the nofill in the arc section. I noticed that the arc was not fully closed at a certain point. So I increased the radians of the local angle variable to 450. Tweaked the colors somewhat to green and blue. Changed the background to red. The program runs in JavaScript but the behaviour is very slow.

Introduced some numbers. But because noiseValue produces a float I had to use round to make the number a bit more comprehensible for me. I only need to do something about the calculation. That doesn’t make sense yet. I think that noiseValue is ok but it delivers some non-data. So maybe I can use map to fill a  full circle which is 100% noise value.

Replaced the arrow by a white line. Why is there a stroke and strokeweight command in the Arrow section? I don’t think that has any effect. Maybe I added that in an earlier version. Checked the original program. No. It was already in it before I began working on it. Anyway I commented it out. This program also runs slow in JavaScript.

I doubled the length of the white line. And I think it might be doubled again. Or maybe I can use disableStyle and change the properties of the lines. That worked. Changed the color of the lines until it has a tilesize of 10 pixels. That image has hairy qualities at a certain setting.

Replaced the rectangle with a cross. The pattern is getting more chaotic by hitting the arrow-up-key on your keyboard. The arrow-down-key has the opposite effect.

When you increase the size of one of the two rectangles which make the cross you get totally different end results. But again the pattern is getting more chaotic by hitting the arrow-up-key on your keyboard. The arrow-down-key still has the opposite effect.

Increasing both rectangles (wich make the cross) give almost cloth-like images. Arrow-up and down-keys still have the same functionality.

Putting the cross on its side (in Adobe Illustrator) did not make much of a difference. So I used a rectangle with rounded corners.

Replaced the rectangle with a star-like image. Which makes very subtile nuances in the pattern.

Agents in two-dimensional space
‘In order to animate a swarm of agents in this way, all the agents are moved in the direction defined by the noise () function to assume their positions. The only remaining consideration is what to do with the agents that migrate out of the display window.’

From here on all upcoming programs work with the controlp5 library. Controlp5 is a GUI library written by Andreas Schlegel for the programming environment Processing. Now I did not work much with classes and libraries before. So this could be getting interesting. As usual I start with changing the names of the global variables. And added wordspaces to the program for better readability. And as a result nothing was working. I got a stream of particles on the screen but they did not react on the controlp5 sliders. I found out that the global variable names were the problem. So I replaced those into the program settings of the controlp5 library. Another thing was that saveframe did not work properly. It gave me a kind of grayish screendump. This was because it creates a png-file with transparency. So I changed that to .jpg. And yet another thing is the menu button. When you make a screendump it is captured too. That is not what you (and I) want. So I display the menu button outside the display window. I’ve got a shortcut by pressing the ‘m’ key anyway. I studied the controlp5 library for a while. And I changed the line function into a point. That gives me the possibility to use the full range of strokewidth without losing the speed of the vectors. I also checked if JavaScript supports controlp5. Found this information on the GitHub sojamo/controlp5 site: ‘Currently there is no JavaScript version of controlp5, though I had started implementing a slimmed down version for processing.js but since it is now unclear which JavaScript version – processing.js or p5.js – will become the default js version of processing, controlP5.js is on hold. There is a tendency that p5.js will become the primary JavaScript environment.’ So as a result there is no working version in JavaScript. I will put the code online for the rest of the programs. Just played with the settings for a while.

I could be going on changing settings but what can I do to change the images the program delivers. Added two different colors, blue and yellow for each mode as a start.

Switched off noisestrength for a while. Saved frames during mode switching.

Would it be possible to define another group? Ok… I have made a mistake in my if structure. But it gives an interesting image because it now triggers two blocks of code instead of 1. But key 2 and key 3 are now behaving the same. Except for the color. What to do to change that behaviour? Added a new group under the 3-key.

I changed the color behaviour for the three modules. They are now using the HSB colormode. Although brightness is not so relevant because there is an alpha channel used.

Made a function called colorCycler. It cycles very slowly through the HSB colormode. in fact it does the same thing as the previous version of this program. Added a new DrawMode variation under the 4-key.

Added some growing corn-fields under the 5-key.

Used ColorCounter for the directionAngle.

Defined the 7-key for some concentrated ellipses. hitting the space bar creates a new noise seed.

The 8-key makes one great wave. Swiping all information to one side.

Three dimensional noise
‘The complexity of the agents behavior can be further increased when the three-dimensional variation of the noise () function is used to generate angle values. This three-dimensional noise can be thought of as a large cube of random numbers in which the individual values differ only slightly from their neighbors. If the agents still move about in the area, but the random numbers for their movement are selected from the different layers of this random number cloud they are no longer bound to the same paths. The closer these virtual z-coordinates lie to each other, the more they cluster together. The image becomes even more dynamic when the z-coordinates are changed slightly but continuously. The agent class has to be modified slightly to perform this new action.’

One of the first things I noticed that this 3D noise program is running in the P2D render mode. Strange. I thought P2D was 2D space and P3D was 3D space. So I looked that up. There are four render modes: the default renderer, P2D, P3D, and PDF. Switching to P2D or P3D is switching to 3D space? Default (‘slow’ but very accurate 2D render mode). P2D (OpenGL, faster but less accurate 2D render mode). P3D (OpenGL and well, 3D). PDF (for PDF output). Found this information on the GitHub Processing site. Meanwhile due to the changes in Processing 2.0, P2D and P3D have been replaced with variants of the OpenGL renderer. ‘We’ve removed the software-based (but speedy for some circumstances) versions of P2D and P3D. We feel that OpenGL rendering is probably the future for most Processing work, so we’re focusing our efforts there.’ So it is still unclear if P2D is the same as P3D but it might be better to run everything in OpenGL. I have changed the background color again. And did the same adjustments I did for the previous range of GDV’s. I also noticed that the space bar functionality for triggering the noise seed has disappeared in this range of programs. But I found that quite useful so I have put that back again. Tried the settings.

Played with the settings and introduced a blue color for DrawMode 2.

Did some testing with different file formats. The tif-format gives the best result. But also the largest file size. About 1.8 Mb per 800 x 800 pixels image. So I stick with jpg.

Made pairs of the points. A white and a blue point that work together.

Tripled the points and made them red, white and red.

Made flag-like objects. Assembled by red and blue lines.

The same thing but with more horizontal lines and blue, yellow and white colors.

Used the three RGB colors Red, Green and blue (although I am working in HSB). These images make you see things unclear and double.

Instead of enlarging the y-side I enlarged the objects on the x-side.

Finally put everything under an angle of 45 degrees by giving the same numbers to the x and y coördinates.

The bonus program
There was one more bonus program in the directory. It is not being discussed in the Generative Design book. But I’ve made some variations with it anyway.

Used a very small rect to create movements.

Replaced the rectangle by a bezier curve wave symbol. This makes the program behave very slow. But it delivers interesting images.

Used a pill-like shape as the main object.

Used a stairs like (could also be roof like) image as the main object.

That looks like sheets of paper running off a printing press.

Used text to make the structure. The program is reading the x-position and is dropping that information into the noise-stream.

Used the year, month, day, hour minute and second function as input. Something strange happened here. I defined the time and dat variables in the top of the program. But when I runned it the program did not refresh the seconds. After a while it was clear to me that you should initialize the date and time functions in the draw block of Processing. Otherwise the date and time functions will not update.

800 white swans. It’s not completely foolproof because some reflections overlap the real swans.

Another variation but now with arrows.

And one with red and colorized circles which might look more like tubes. But they are just circles.


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