Computational art using processing

For this assignment, i needed to search what computational art means. After research, I tried to figure out randomness of the art. It’s still confusing, but I found some art work related to this week’s assignment.
Miu ling lam used processing language to create beautiful computational art with randomness. She used her own algorithm which is ‘active sensor network diployment for maximal coverage’. I’m not fully understanding what this thesis for, but the thing is she implemented this algorithm to create images with processing language that I’m studying right now. All those lines and colors look random but they have complex mathmatical algorithm inside and it makes me excited about this processing language. I will try more to understand how she were able to create the arts with computer language.


Random Number Multiples by Marius Watz and Jer Thorp

Computer generated or software based art is usually played in a digital interface not executed in traditional craft or handwork. However, this ‘Random Number Multiple’ series are computer generated but screen-printed work. There are few series in ‘Random Number Multiple’. What I personally like is the ‘Arc’ series. Marius Watz described this series as “pseudo-random compositions of radial shapes, subtly distorted by a 3D surface that lends the image a strong focal point and sense of movement.” Actually, pseudo-randomness is not a real randomness. This randomness generated by a definite computer program to satisfy a statistical test. Even if it seems random but the composition of this series is actually generated by mathematical processes. I really admire this project because it combines traditional hand-craft method and software- or computer-based method together. I think it expands more possible ways of executing art expression.

The ‘Arc’ Series
The ‘Arc’ Series
The ‘Arc’ Series – Process of Screen Printing

Random Number Multiple Series



When I read that the topic was “randomness,” I instantly thought of Pisarro’s paintings that use pointillism. Although he placed every dot of paint in each pointillism painting, they weren’t calculated to their own rigid, specific positions. The placement of those dots are also random to an extent, because when people “randomly” generate things, it is not wholly random. So then I wondered about computer-generated “fine art” and I came across a project called “Grow Your Own Picture” by Chris Cummins, that generates the Mona Lisa painting using polygons of different shapes and colors, which can be manipulated by the website user. Chris gives credit for the idea of genetic algorithms to Roger Johansson, who was able to regenerate the painting using polygons of different colors, transparencies, and shapes. I was really intrigued that he was able to take so many sharp shapes and blend them to mimic the original painting so convincingly. I have also never heard of the term genetic programming or genetic algorithms before. It was so interesting to hear about programming that generates a “gene pool” of shapes and then does its best to sift out the “most fit” shapes to the Mona Lisa image. Cummin’s and Johansson’s approaches to this replication of fine art vary in level of randomness, in that with Cummin’s project, someone can interact with it and manipulate the content, so it has more opportunities to be different or random. They are also random in a similar sense, in the code that generates the art.

Chris Cummin’s interactive Grow Your Own Picture

Roger Johansson’s Mona Lisa replication via code

Genetic Programming: Evolution of Mona Lisa


(example shown by the author)

(my work)

After some research online, I found an algorithm named “HTML5 Canvas Fractal Flame Generator” that generates random fractals. The users are free to change the type of lines, colors, scales, rotation, etc.  This algorithm is a simplified version of the “Fractal Flame algorithm” invented by Scott Draves. According to the author, “The algorithm is based on iterating a set of affine transformations to move a point around the plane a very large number of times, then rendering an image which records all of the positions the point visited.” I attached two images in the post, one is an example made by other people, another is the one I generated using this algorithm.

Since this type of “art” can be created by anyone with just a couple of simple clicks, I started to question the definition of “art”. The results are for sure visually pleasing, but is this real art? Generated with some simple operation on computer?

I chose this algorithm to write in LookingOutward because it was fun to play with it. It’s nice that people who barely know about computer science(like me) have access to simple algorithm like this, and have fun with it. Maybe this isn’t real art, but the interesting interaction is real.

You can read more about the algorithm here.

Looking Outward 6: Random

Randomness in music is becoming increasingly “in vogue” recently. There is an entire genre of music called “aleatoric” music” wherin some or all parts of the music-making process are left to chance.
One of the principle issues with this type of music is deciding how to notate it. Standard music notation creates a shared language for all practitioners of the artform, but in the world of aleatory, much of the symbolic representations of “sound over time,” become more literal. Rather than a quarter note, a composer may just write “continue for about twenty seconds.” Abstract and unconventional notation is rising in popularity, as composers attempt to find new territories of sonic expression, and aleatory is a composer’s playground in this realm of exploration.

Attached is a piece by one of the most famous contemporary compositional explorers in the modern era: Karlheinz Stockhausen.

akluk – Section A – Looking outwards-06

For this week, the project that I have chosen to write about is Matt Deslauriers experimentation and project on generative art with node.js and canvas, from May 11th, 2016. What his program does basically, similar to some projects we do, is on a mouse press the canvas will use a new random set of values and parameters to create a new and random art work. What really intrigues me about this project is how even though the art is created through random algorithms, it still has structure and a sense of flow and ebb to it. It has patterns and colors unique to each one. The creator has a series of different palettes and the randomizer will choose one of them. It feels very organic and life like where the art just kinda grows out of the canvas. The random and unstructured splashes of colors also reminds me of Jackson Pollock’s painting. Below is a Link:

Matthew Erlebacher Looking Outward-06

The piece of music that I chose for this looking outward was very soothing. It goes really well with the randomly generated backgrounds. The artist likely programmed the backgrounds and the music to complement each other. This is clearly demonstrated in the final product, which could be described as a soothing combination of relaxing music and striking imagery. The video was pre-recorded, so it unfortunately doesn’t show a large amount of randomness. One criticism that I have is that the piece goes on for a bit too long (for my taste). It isn’t something that I would listen to for the sake of listening to, but I might play it while reading or before I go to bed. In the end, while the piece may have its flaws it overall beautiful on an audio and visual level.


Mark Wilson’s computational art is a combination of randomly generated images and geometric relationships. He has been a trailblazer in the field of computational art since the 80s, presenting his work at exhibitions all over the world. By layering complex geometrical patterns Wilson is able to produce an image with many layers of colors, shapes, sizes, textures, and visual effects. I was drawn to this project because it appeared to be a very intricate type of computational design which is endlessly interesting. I am curious to see how random image generation from basic geometrical shapes has developed since the early days of computational design, and whether this sort of drawing has entirely gone out of fashion as a result of the development of more sophisticated algorithms which can produce more visually appealing products. I am also curious to see how designers of computational design have responded to the psychological side of random image generation, maybe tweaking algorithms to still produce images that can be called random, but which contain certain constraints that result in more refined visual or emotional effects.

enwandu-Looking Outwards-06-Randomness

Victor Adan, Jeff Synder and Daniel Iglesia – The Draftsmasters

A still of the pen plotter and 3D computation

The Draftmasters is a very interesting project. It is a video/ geek/ music collaboration between Victor Adan, and Jeff Synder on the performance side, and Daniel Iglesia on the visuals side. The way it worked was, Victor and Jeff made physical gestures, which directed the hacked pen-plotter printers. The printers were equipped with pickups, which make the sound. Then, Daniel analyzes the visuals and creates 3D graphics in real time.

The combination of motion and sound, being captured by the hacked pen plotters is an intriguing one. It simultaneously allows for control, and unrestricted randomness. The combination of the two undoubtable results in some very dynamic forms. You could control your movements, or have them be completely random, but the pen plotter will interpret these how it wants too. Same could be said for the sound involved. Watching the video, the 3D form generate by the moving pen plotter really shows the dynamism, and randomness of the project.

I really admire the project because of the intersection of computation and music. I’m truly fascinated by this area and would love to learn more. Projects like this are truly inspiring. Each of the members of the group seemed to have a specialty with Synder and Adan being musicians, and Iglesia being the visual person. The projects seems to embody a synthesized ideal that could have come from all three.


I found this website by a computational mathematician Andrej Bauer, that generates a random artwork when you put in the title of your artwork. The name of the picture generates a number that is used to construct a mathematical formula. The formula then determines the color of each pixel in the picture. Therefore, it is not that this website gives you any kind of picture whenever you press the button, but the same name generates the same picture, which proves that it is being operated under some type of algorithm. I thought this was interesting because it is interactive, fun to look at, and I personally admired how different each pictures came out. They had completely different tones, textures, and overall vibes, which did not always reflect the title, but the part that I am the one who interprets the picture was another part that was fun about this website.