Exercise Four: Animated Sketch


In this exercise students will create a digital drawing machine and project it onto a physical canvas to prompt a physical, hand drawn sketch. Students will create an algorithmically generated pattern and project it onto a 2’x2’ canvas, to prompt fellow classmates in free-hand sketching experiments. Patterns should be informed by fundamental compositional techniques (e.g. translations, reflections) and computational processes (e.g. agent based behavior, particle simulation, physics simulation, point attractors). Patterns should also be time-based exhibiting emergent behaviors, narrative arc, and/or rule based growth. Students should share their drawing prompt with at least two partners. Students may use their choice of drawing implement including pens, markers, brushes, etc.



In this exercise students will:

  1. Develop parametric control of design workflows using Grasshopper.
  2. Enhance physical dexterity with information-rich visualization.
  3. Learn the basics of projection mapping.
  4. Explore dynamic patterning.


  1. Thursday 02.19.15
    1. Mount and calibrate workstation projectors (Begin in Class).
    2. Introduce Grasshopper (Begin in Class).
    3. Generate a test sketch with 100 items in a pattern (For Homework).
  2. Tuesday 02.24.15
    1. Introduce agent based, physics, and evolutionary design strategies in Grasshopper (In Class).
    2. Develop time based drawing prompts for digital projection (For Homework).
  3. Thursday 02.26.15
    1. Test drawing prompt with partners (Begin in Class).
  4. Tuesday 03.03
    1. Discuss final drawings and prompt generation (In Class)



  1. Hand Sketches drawn by partners (2 minimum)

Documentation (can include drawings, images, videos):

  1. Documentation of the logic of the digital drawing prompt (diagram, screen capture, video).
  2. Documentation of the physical drawing process (image, video).

Prior to the next class, please submit a short text write up with accompanying drawing images and a video link to the XSEAD site as discussed on the Submissions page.  Please be sure to add your project to the appropriate ‘pool’ as linked.


Help with Grasshopper: If you are just getting started it is worth skimming the manuals linked on the rhino resources page.

Download and help for “Agent” Plugin: Resources for Alex Fischer’s plugin. Download for grasshopper component, help files, and video tutorials.