The mosiac builder I found on drawingbots.net was pretty cool. I think it is interesting because it reminds me of those command line drawings with only ASCII characters, except here, the characters are tiny doodles. I feel like the potential results have more character and a homemade feel than the ASCII drawings.
I found the different material problems people were running into interesting – with pens it’s nibs, with laser cutters it’s heat, with knitting it’s trouble with the fabric, etc. However, people across these different media seem to be happy sharing advice. The interdisciplinary nature of it is pretty cool.
City Roads is a cool SVG generator that creates a “SVG map” of the inputted city. I’ve never realized how mapping, and creating art about maps, to be such an appropriate way to use the plotters, where I think map generation and doing that with plotters feels like a match made in heaven. I generated a SVG (well over 1000 megabytes) of my hometown San Jose, CA. Here is a PNG of it which I downloaded, since the SVG was too large. The detail is impressive, and it’s interesting to think about how accurate exactly is the SVG. Could a map like this be useful (without street names or addresses)
I also snooped through the discord group for DrawingBots and came across an SVG Optimizer – an svg optimizer that uses node.js-based tools in optimizing SVGs. The program can be installed at https://github.com/svg/svgo.
Software related information and tools are linked in the channel ‘software’ section under ‘PLOTTERS’, where people share a lot of helpful resources like plug-ins and programs that make plotting more efficient.
I also found a vpype plug in – called deduplicate – that removes overlapping lines in SVGs
GitHub – LoicGoulefert/deduplicate: Remove overlapping lines in SVG…
Something I found interesting was the Great96 software featured as a tool in the Drawingbots website. This tool’s function is to make Islamic geometric tiling patterns. This caught my attention because it is interesting to me to think about the interaction of machines with culture. Cultural practices such as planning and designing these tiling patterns was once a laborious task done by hand, and now with this tool it can be organized and physicalized within a fraction of the time it one did. I am compelled to think about how the labor involved in personally making cultural crafts such as this gives it more value, and inversely how this being done by machines might take away from it; or, on the other hand, could it being made by machines give it a new type of edge or interest?
I was particularly interested in the plotter.vision utility, which is able to turn a .STL file into an SVG.
Considering how much pain I go through trying to use tools like Make2D in Rhino, or creating a custom view to SVG script in Houdini, having a website that will just do it for me is really nice. I do wish I could get it to use the contours rather than the triangles, however I understand that would probably require significantly more work and processing power.
The image below was generated using the tool.
I thought this sheet music to polyline renderer by LingDong was super interesting!! I like the way text gets plotted with drawing machines in general—it has more of the feel of “art student bored in class copying typefaces” than strictly a pixel by pixel copy of standard fonts. I wonder how you might be able to play with the parameters for generating these polyline SVGs (e.g., randomizing spacing for elements, chaos/jitter of written notes…) or like feeding in a piece that’s been screwed with by the computer, and then screw it up some more.
It also made me think about the possibility of asemic score writing. I’m still considering the philosophical/fucking-with-meaning dimensions of the concept, but it could be something I pursue later in this course.
I found this cool library called Penkit (https://github.com/paulgb/penkit) It is very good at making patterns and also mapping them to 3D surfaces, but for plotters!
Here is a fractal:
Here is a mapped surface with a fractal on it:
After scrolling on the resource list on the drawingbots website I saw a lot of pattern generators like Kolam artworks, medieval city generators (lol, though not really), and contour maps.
One thing I found particularly funny was this city generator that’s supposed to look hand-drawn. It’s strange how something that looks like it could’ve been some first year architecture student’s homework was generated in a matter of seconds, but that’s also the nature of generative artwork I guess.
I really enjoyed looking through the DrawingBots server, in particular I enjoyed looking through the WIPs users posted and it made me contemplate a lot about the diversity of the crew making plotter art. I will not be including any images, in large part because I don’t find it appropriate to post someone else’s art from the server into a public post.
1. Medium: It was rare to see a person use anything beside colored micron pens on white paper. There were a few that took advantage of inverse coloring. I really appreciate that many of the people in the community don’t necessarily come from the same background and I think its cool to note some of the general themes. Some people posted about hardware modifications or personal plotter designs, those WIPs were the ones I found most intriguing since it’s a domain so far from my own.
2. Hatching: I paid close attention to some lovely examples of hatching! Like sweetcorn previously mentioned, there is a tendency to stick to either spicy realism or super intense geometry in plotter art. Some of the more complex pieces of plotter art I observed fell into a mix of the two categories and what I really appreciated was the interesting patterns that were used for hatching (which seems to be the common trend in spicy realism).
One piece I particularly liked used voronoi diagrams, where the distance of each point was determined by the value and then these points were interpolated/randomized in a really weird way as to create a very nicely scribbled look to the drawing. The only reason I know voronoi was used was because I asked the person who made it. Very cool.
Another piece I liked used a very Van Gogh-esque field to define values and I noticed many others used complex geometric shapes at different points to create a value.
I feel like these responses often rely on highly mathematical properties to simulate real life, and I really respect that. But I also want them to maybe break it a little.
In the discord, someone linked this article about “decorative knotting using Trigonometric Parametrizations.” In it are many equations for creating decorative knots, which I think would fit well in terms of my exploration of flourishes. These equations are for three dimensions, which makes sense because knots have to be three-dimensional, so if I were to implement any of these, I could somehow project this into 2D, which the discord has resources on and links this repo, which could be useful.