Generative Design Variations M.4.4 Attractors in space

This is the last assignment for me from the attractors chapter. The Generative Design book describes it as follows: ‘As stated at the beginning of the chapter, it is easy to use attractors and nodes in three-dimensional space. To do this, everywhere in the sketches where calculations with x and y appear, an additional line needs to be added that does the same with z. This addition is included in the classes in the Generative Design library. However, a small problem has to be solved if the 2D tool is to be extended into the third dimension. In the 2D tool, the mouse position is used to control the position of the attractor. In a three-dimensional grid of nodes, however, it is no longer clear how an interaction can be designed so the mouse can influence all the nodes. The solution is to ensure that the attractor is always located on the screen’s x-y layer. If the nodes are rotated in space, the position of the attractor has to be rotated in the opposite direction so that it influences those nodes that are located on the screen plane.’ Here you can find the original program.

And again I could not put my 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:

I did a lot of tweaking on the program’s settings. But I just couldn’t get it right. I also added a zoom factor. Using that it is easier for me to position the cube at a size I would like to see it. To get to know what is going on I lowered xCount, yCount and zCount to their lowest levels. Using the attractor it delivers just a random bunch of lines. Than I increased the gridStepX. Which, finally, did not make any sense at all. I see… xCount, yCount and zCount are counted twice. So when you move the slider to the number 1 you get a cube which exists out of 4 separate cubes. Another thing is that when I was finished with making the variations I noticed that I did not make much use of the attractor itself to modify the grid. I found that some settings of the grid were already interesting enough as an image.

After working with this sketch I noticed that I did not save my settings of the previous sketch. I was too much busy with creating interesting images. That sometimes happens. So I leave that for what it’s good for and continue with the next variations. Still not happy with the image quality.

In the previous sketches I worked with a default setting which I have modified a bit. The next sketches I will work with the sets that are incorporated in the program. I give it a go with set1 (a setting that already was made available by the Generative Design people. First of all I think the line weight is too heavy. So I decreased that. And I increased the alpha channel. Added red to the set. Maybe a very obvious conclusion but I get the impression that you get the best images by doing as little as possible (which is very difficult).

As I mentioned before I noticed that you can also make interesting images by not using the attractor at all. Just adding or subtracting gridsteps x, y and z gives interesting moiré patterns. And it gives a lot of depth in the images. I rendering these images in a 2400 x 2400 resolution using Marius Watz’s TileSaver. And it behaves still the same as in former sketches. If you run the program once it’s working fine. But after refining the settings in the GUI it breaks the image down in four parts and puts it together again in a wrong order. Which I might eventually like even better although it’s wrong. But I decide that later when I will put the images back together in the right order.

Continuing with set2. Ah… found a setting with an improvement to the image quality. Should have known this much earlier. It’s still not 100% but it is better than what I had in the beginning.

The only thing I like at these variations is that they seem not to be computer generated. They have a roughness in it which I sometimes like.

Set3 is leading me to the indiviual pixels. This is really getting somewhere. Atleast I think I am working now on pixel level. That’s why you might notice squares in some of the images.

The program (or tool) evolves now more to a kind of structure or pattern generator than a tool which uses attractors in space. And at certain moments I do not know what I am looking at and at what angle and how close. Good that I added that zoom function.

Continuing with the last set (wich is set4). Replace the color-range by my color-range (which is an adaptation of the original one which was included in the tool).

Working further with the color-range and trying to get some slightly small attractor manipulation in the image. As I conclusion I think that the attractors in space should be used very carefull. It is easy to make a big mess of it. It is much more difficult to keep the chaos to acceptable limits.


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