Hexbyte Hacker News Computers On Generative Algorithms: Introduction · inconvergent

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers head

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Hyphae
  3. Trees
  4. Linetrace
  5. Differential Line
  6. Differential Mesh
  7. Differential Mesh 3d
  8. Fractures
  9. Sand Spline
  10. Differential Lattice
  11. Sand Creatures
  12. Sand Glyphs
  13. Not a Conclusion

Introduction

This essay was written between late 2015 and mid 2016.

I’ve always been fascinated with patterns. It doesn’t really matter what
kind of patterns; I’ve played with networks, leaves and leaf venation,
branches, lightning, flocking, tracing outlines
of shapes, river formation, rock sediments, landscapes, slime mold, lichens,
reaction-diffusion,
cellular
automaton
, some fractals, and a few other things. I think what I
enjoy the most is how complex and intricate results you can get from a set
of simple rules.

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers landscape

Recently I’ve been particularly interested in biological patterns, and
differential growth. My background is in numerical mathematics, not
biology. So I have limited knowledge of how biological systems actually
work. Even so, I’ve been experimenting quite a lot with recreating various
biological behaviours. Part of the challenge is to try to recreate some
pattern or behaviour with as few and as simple rules as possible.

Sometimes I manage to recreate the phenomenon I set out to create, and
sometimes not. More often than not I get something interesting, even if it
is not always what I expected.

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers A Confession

In the interest of disclosure I should point out that I sometimes base my
work on the ideas that I have seen done elsewhere by a number of other
generative artists. Most notably Jared Tarbell and Nervous System. For instance the
algorithm I named Orbitals (image
below) is very heavily based on Happy
Place
by Tarbell.

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers orbitals

I point this out because I have always found it hard to know where a
piece of software—and in my particular case, the images generated by that
software—is novel enough to be viewed as a separate work.

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers Inconvergent

I started working with generative algorithms when I was supposed to be
studying for my exams at university. For that reason I bought the domain
name inconvergent.net, as a joke on me diverging from my
studies. The first thing I did was to copy several of Tarbell’s algorithms
using Javascript/Canvas. After a while I started getting a few other ideas
of my own.

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers sand creatures

Apart from Orbitals, the first algorithm I got working was Hyphae. It came to me when I was trying to recreate the
behaviour of Hyphae
by Nervous System. At this point I hadn’t realized how complicated that
algorithm actually is, and I spent way too much time trying and failing to
get it anywhere near decent. I implemented it later, and you can read the
Siggraph
paper
describing it if you are interested. It is a fascinating
read!

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers Code

I make almost all of my code available at Github. All the following
sections have a link to the corresponding repository. Unfortunately not all
of it is entirely well documented or up to date.

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