Generative Design Variations M.4.2.2 Attractor tuning

Attractors can be tuned. The Generative Design book describes this as follows: ‘In order to have more control over certain attractor properties, it is useful to introduce two other parameters in addition to the radius. It is easy to introduce a parameter for the strength of the attraction. The force f is simply multiplied by an additional value, strength. If a negative value is used for this, then the attractor will have the effect of not only attracting other objects but also repelling them.’ Here you can find the original program.

I could not put my slightly modified programs online because the programs are not supported by JavaScript. JavaScript does not support the Generative Design Library. So I have prepared a Flickr Album which contains all still images I have made during this assignment. You can find those clicking this link:

The links below the this and the next paragraphs will redirect you to the Flickr page with the image I describe in that actual paragraph. I started with changing the display size to 800 x 800. Imported the color setting of the previous attractor programs. Enlarged the grid-size to 800 x 800 pixels. And than something strange happened. A kind of soap bubbles appeared. I have no idea why they appeared but they look pretty 3D-ish. Not that I was searching for that effect. But I made some variations with them.

What will happen when I reduce the attractor radius to 10? The circles get very small. And everything gets less interesting. So I increased the attractor radius again to 400 pixels and let the program run. Painted some points on the display window. And after a minute some pop-art-ish graphics did appear. Imported the file in Photoshop and adjusted the levels. Not bad although some banding occurred in the image.

As easy as the first and second variations where coming up so difficult it was to get something sensible in this third part. Most of the time its best to go back to the original settings when you get stuck. So I changed the grid-size back to 800 x 800. XCount and yCount are on 401. Than I just pointed with the cursor in the display window. After a few seconds theses spiral things shaped themselves. How easy can it be?

I did not change anything in the program. The only difference with the previous program is that I pointed twice in the display window with my cursor. I think these images are a bit too harsh.

Made the grid-size 2000 pixels. Which sounds weird because my display size is just 800 x 800. XCount and yCount are on 101. Put the attractor strength on 10 and the ramp of the attractor on 0.04. I also made random movements in the display window with the cursor to get interesting patterns. Although the movement is very minor and slow the image looks quit balanced. And I think that is a good thing.

I think it is now time to check what the variables are really doing. I start with adjusting the attractor strength. When you put it on zero nothing will happen. Which is quite obvious because there is no attraction involved. Because I do not know if there limits to the attractor strength I changed it to 100. The rectangles are 3 x 1 pixels. And when I touch the display window with the cursor it creates flower-like objects. Again a bit too harsh. But it looks interesting.

I have increased the smooth setting to 8. Hope this helps to get the images a bit smoother. The gridsize is reduced to 800 x 800. XCount and yCount are on 801. Which seems to be silly but if you put it on 800 you get an unwanted pattern in the background. Why? I don’t know. Anyway I have increased the strength of the attractor to 500. And by pointing the display window at several positions I get these nice patterns which interfere with each other.

I wondered why I draw with rectangles while I get circle-like patterns? So I replaced the rectangle with an ellipse. And than I still get circles but it takes longer to draw them and you get less of them. So I changed that line back to rectangles. And I increased the attractor strength to 1000. Instead of pointing at the display window I now drag slowly over it.

XCount and yCount are now on 401. The gridsize is 800 x 800 pixels. The attractor strength is on 1000. And the attractor ramp is on 0.06. Made slow horizontal movements with the cursor in the display window. It displays low tech pixels in an unpredictable way.

I increased the impact radius of the attractor to 1600 pixels. That is double the size of the display window. The nodes themselves are now 2 x 2 pixels. 1 x 1 Pixels made them hard to see. And the strength of the attractor is on 4. The ramp of the attractor is on 0.09. This means that there is very minor movement. And the trails left by the nodes is very short. Combined in a few colors this gives very interesting patterns of dots and lines.


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