Computer generated art

I woke up yesterday with a simple idea for generating a picture based on an input string. I don’t exactly know where the idea came from, but i think i’ve been influenced by Nick Huggins, whose abstract work i adore, and also in a way by QR codes. I’m not a particularly artistic person, but i figured i could come up with an algorithm and let the computer do the creative bit for me! :)

So i installed the open source tools ImageMagick and RMagick, learned a bit about the RVG library, and set about trying some ideas. I fiddled and tweaked the algorithm until it seemed to consistently output something that was reasonably pleasant. Here is the picture for my name, and for my twitter id.

aimee @sermoa

Having tried random numbers and obvious inputs like my name, i searched for other input sources. Being interested in community generated content, i wrote a script to fetch the current top twitter trends. Here are the results.

Kim Hee Chul Solomon Burke Steamed Bun #thingsyoushouldntsay HEEBUM
#badsongsinjail Limera1n Aiden #bsr_tousounow One Direction

As you can see, some come out better than others. I’m adding the input string mostly for debugging purposes so that i can see how the image was seeded. When i get one that i like, i can increase the blur and remove the input string. For example, i really like the images produced by “Kim Hee Chul” and “#bsr_tousounow”, so let’s try with a bit more blur.

Kim Hee Chul (with more blur) #bsr_tousounow

Nice, hey?! Not sure they’re ready for a gallery just yet, but certainly an interesting experiment.

Everything in the picture is generated from the input string: the size, colour, number of boxes, box sizes, opacity, border style. It is extremely unlikely that any two input strings would ever generate the same picture. However, the algorithm is not random. Given an input string, you’ll always get the same picture, though i may choose to do some post-processing on it (such as blur, frame, lighten or darken).

In the interests of sharing knowledge here is the main structure of my generator, but the really creative part is in how it comes up with the numbers, which is going to remain a secret, sorry!

I am willing to generate images for anybody who asks nicely! :)

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31 comments on “Computer generated art

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention A little place of calm -- Topsy.com

  2. They remind me of the things you get on game shows where you have to guess what is in the picture as they gradually get clearer :-)

  3. I felt like i was watching some 3d art, how you created in computer? Which Softwares have u used ?

  4. I used an image processing library called ImageMagick. i used the programming language Ruby with RMagick to generate the picture. I also use GIMP, image processing software, although not in the images you see here. I work on Linux and everything i use is free and open source.

  5. these are so nice and awesome picture, I would like to have some other picture but can you please tell me that would you charge something for these pictures or not?

  6. The art of generating artwork thru binary codes is simply awesome. I once tried it but i could not do it well so i paused so that i could get more information to process the work. You said you are willing to generate images for anybody. I plead to you to please generate me a art or even send me your one of your work with codes, for my research and observations.I would be very thankful to you for this moral support RegardsMovers in Spokane

  7. I am happy to generate one for you. What word would you like me to use?http://gist.github.com/619224 shows the general algorithm used to generate the pictures with Ruby and RMagick. It might give you some ideas on how to try some different numbers and see what you get.

  8. Hello There! I simply like this. An awesome discovery. I'm a young graphics designer and I always tend to get to be inspired with every new cool ideas and concepts towards art. Keep it up! Are you using some more new graphic softwares? I am using adobe CS5 and it's great! Hope you also do. Thanks a lot! :)

  9. No, i believe software should be free in every sense of the word. Free of charge, freedom to do what you want with it, and freedom of operating system to use it on. So no Adobe products for me. My primary tools are GIMP and Inkscape.

  10. Very nice collection of information. I wish I had such a concise resource during my student years, I couldn’t stop reading it until I finished it all, but we can all continue to educate ourselves. Awesome article. RegardsTravel Manager

  11. You're very creative. I bet you don't like to express yourself right through words but through art. It's really fascinating. Technology can really make simple things more interesting. I like the entire concept and I'm looking forward to viewing and reading more images and posts from you. Thanks, though and happy holidays.

  12. You should make your generated art move somehow … up and down like a waterfall of some kind .. for the gfx.. and for the text scroll left to right.. (and vice versa) otherwise great work :-) Keep it up!

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