Randomly-generated doctor handwriting

Paavo Toivanen wrote code that generates uncannily human, but utterly meaningless and illegible writing. Toivanen's thoughts on generative art are worth reading.
Generative art should ideally retain two disparate levels of perception: the material and visual qualities of a piece of art, and then a creation story or script and the intellectual journey that led to the end result.

The creation story is what's missing in most generative art, especially when it's presented as a representation of nature. Read the rest

Procedurally-generated art by Joseph Pollack

Joseph Pollack creates digital artwork—or, rather, he codes software that does. Animated, too! Check out his github for a peek at the code. [via r/proceduralgeneration]

...these were made by a program I've been writing in C++ and OpenGL. ... If you've never done ANYTHING with 3D, I'd recommend starting with a basic 3D modeling program like blender, maya, or 3D max. Get familiar with digital modeling in general. You eventually realize there are really 3 main components to 3D Graphics: geometry, lights, and to a lesser extent, the camera. Try to understand why each of these are so important, and more importantly, how you can mess with each to accomplish a certain look or quality.

Once you get more comfortable with the concept of digital modeling (or if you already are), you get into more spooky territory. If you only care about making something interesting, you can get away with a pre-made game engine like unity or unreal. If you want to get your hands dirty and go the low-end, rewarding-but-frustrating route, you'll look at something like OpenGL or DirectX. Working with OpenGL is essentially programming on the CPU and the GPU, so it can be a real pain in the ass. For someone like me that started using it without a lot of programming experience to begin with, the learning curve can be brutal. Not sure I'd recommend it for someone that just wants to mess around with graphics. All of my code is on github, but since this is a one-man project, it's a hot mess, haha.

Read the rest

Watch genetically-evolving cars race in 2D

Genetic Cars is a transfixing simulation of procedurally-generated vehicles attempting to traverse rough terrain. Each round comprises genetic variations of the previous round's most successful car.

You can randomize the terrain and tweak mutation rates, gravity and other variables. (Moon gravity is chaotic fun; Jupiter seems, for some reason, more convincingly real than the default Earth settings) Read the rest

Computer-generated music with data from real artists

Chordi asks you to select an instrument and a chord pattern, then procedurally-generates thirty seconds of obviously procedurally-generated music. It's still "talking dog" territory—so fascinating that it doesn't matter how good it is—but it really does sound vaguely yet uncannily like a certain famous rock group jamming while drunk.

Recommended settings for maximally-unpleasant results: "Tango accordion", "Minor key". The source code is on Github. Read the rest

Create a whole landscape from your own webcam

Of course, when I turned the webcam on at first, it was pointing at me, and I found myself wandering into a swollen-cheeked land where some cloud formation of my own face, eyes slowly blinking, constituted the sky.

Procedurally-generated moths are wonderfully haunting, plausible

Straddling the odd line between science and nature, this amazing new procedural generator pays striking tribute to the dusty, incandescent bodies of moths.

"Random" content tips for game devs

The Indie Games Weblog offers 5 tips for using procedurally-generated content--think fractals and L-systems--in game development. Read the rest