Controlling Chaos: a Simple Deterministic System for Creating Complex Organic Shapes
Kevin McGuire: Controlling Chaos: a Simple Deterministic System for Creating Complex Organic Shapes. In: Generative Art 2000.
It is difficult and frustrating to create complex organic shapes using the current set of computer graphic programs. One reason is because the geometry of nature is different from that of our tools. Its self-similarity and fine detail are derived from growth processes that are very different from the working process imposed by drawing programs. This mismatch makes it difficult to create natural looking artifacts.
Drawing programs have a limited palette based on Euclidean geometry. It is difficult to draw clouds, rivers, and rocks because they are not lines or circles. Paint programs provide interesting filters and effects, but require great skill and effort. Always, the artist must arduously manage the details. This limits the artist’s expressive power.
Ideally, the artist should have macroscopic control over the creation while leaving the computer to manage the microscopic details. For the results to be reproducible, the system should be deterministic. For it to be expressive there should be a cause-effect relationship between the actions in the program and change in the resulting picture. For it to feel organic, the details should be rich, consistent and varied, cohesive but not repetitious; it would be fitting if the way we drew was more closely related to the way things grew.
We present a simple drawing program which provides this mixture of macroscopic control with free microscopic detail. Through use of an accretion growth model, the artist controls large scale structure while varied details emerge naturally. Its algorithms are simple and deterministic, so its results are predictable and reproducible. The overall resulting structure can be anticipated, but it can also surprise. Despite its simplicity, it has been used to generate a rich assortment of complex organic looking pictures.
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