Category: Design & Typography

Graffiti Analysis 2.0: Digital Blackbook from Evan Roth on Vimeo.

I mentioned v 1.0 earlier on the blog, but 2.0 looks pretty fresh. They’ve created GML (graffiti mark-up language) and stored all the data from some of the worlds best graff artists. Im feeling quite inspired to code an app in processing to normalize and send this data over OSC to synths and see what these tags sound like.

Check out some of the archived tags and GML data

My First Processing Algorithm

I’ve written previously on how I think the Processing design oriented programming language is the kittens pajamas. Braving the dangers of the Powells Technical bookstore (the greatest place on earth) I broke down recently and bought the book Ive been drooling over. I resisted the calls of detailed mathematical deconstructions of MC Eschers works, a two part book entitled Mathemusica (50 bucks each), and a few pretty amazing fractal related books.

So I read about 130 pages of this in a day and Ive got the general idea. Of course it’s really simple to start; a bunch of functions with ranges of random numbers for size and overlaying a stroked black circle at differing opacities to create depth. This is inspired by both Gustav Klimts amazing colors as well as my curtains.

I spaced out the occurances of the 4 different types of circles by a conditional statement giving each type of circle a probability factor. ie every 15 out of 100 show up; The circles are drawn relative to the mouses position on the screen

klimt like artwork made by processing

So while this looks cool, it didn’t stay interesting for too long, so I decided to change the color up and add a few more features. In the second working of the code the main random circle activity hovers around the mouse coordinates while the random vertical bars are all over the page.


processing artwork

More coming soon! I am so excited I can barely lay in sleep for all the tossing and turning with what ifs and lines of code writing themselves in my head. For those who are asking me “What program” I am using. This is the interface =)


A post by Rob Giampietro on how certain fonts fall into stereotyped rolls and end up representing certain cultures, races and ideas and the sociological impact of these associations. An excellent read.

Generative Art

If there ever was a point where one could have too much inspiration, the point where sweetness becomes sickening this has to be it for me. I’ve spent the past couple days researching Processing, Learning processing, and checking out as many process-centric sites as I can find such as… – This site is one of the gems of the internet as it not only provides something beautiful to random visitors without requiring high level understanding of whats happening, yet for the heavy duty geeks it provides all the source code for each project, the layout is beautiful and well fitted to exploring.

My favorite is the Jackson Pollack color inspired, Piet Mondrian does a City from above generative abstract art piece called substrate. Ive taken a few screen shots of iterations.

Other favorites of mine from the site include Node Garden and Henon Phase

Jared Tarbell is the mind behind most of these creations and I’ve found another what I assume to be, older site, of his with more code and applets including a golden spiral applet, an XML/processing navigation

Ok I am absolutely geeked out on Processing right now. Its an open source design oriented programming language.

Check out Moving Brands – Muon launch first – this is simply incredible! Audio responsive graphics that looks like the audio!

Or perhaps you’de like to draw your dreams? This applet applies a variety of algorithms to images matching your keyword and creates better abstract art than most of your friends in art school.

As mentioned in the previous post Andrew Bells’ Wisteria applet is nice and even looks like something Oliver Vernon would paint.

Short on friends? Draw some

Some More Generative Art

Here is a map of the london underground which when clicked the map reorganizes itself by travel distance.

Im very much looking forward to creating my own and sharing soon. Stay Tuned

Andrew Bell

The above still was a screen capture from a video on this site. All sorts of amazing commercial work with good descriptions on the process involved

Highlights include Magnetosphere a visualization plugin for i-tunes which is set to personal favorite Helios – Paper Tiger

Frou Frou – The dumbing down of love

Wisteria - Semi-genetic design algorithms using the design program language Processing

and the Sears Commercial the snapshot was pulled from

This animation represents a labor of love and of enduring patience which pushed my two computers to the limits of their computational abilities for six months (they haven’t forgiven me quite yet). We were going to sell it on Native State Digital as a music video and in a fit of altruistic goodness usually reserved for folks on NPR we decided to give it away as a gift and ask for donations. So if this video touches something in you, if you think the effort is a step in the right direction away from the standard “pay to play” model consider making a donation of any amount. For regular surfers of the net I recommend checking out Flattr for micropayments. See below for the Video & downloads below as well as some information on how the video came to be.

Rena Jones – Open Me Slowly 3D Fractal Video from Kris Northern on Vimeo.

Download Compressed MP4

(353×240, 48 mb, zipped)

download full resolution

(280mb, .mov, 600×400, zipped)

Want More?

  • The fractal design of Rena Jones – Indra’s Web
  • My remix of Rena Jones – Photosynthesis off my debut album
  • Another smaller 3D Fractal render
  • Still images rendered with Xenodream 3D fractal software
  • A number of short repeating 3d fractal loops
  • Exploring Sierpinskis’ triangle in 3D
  • Support Rena Jones music through her bandcamp page here

    Some words about the creation of this

    I believe this to be the first of its kind (animated IFS 3d fractal) as the animation functionality was a feature request of mine made to Garth Thornton of Xenodream who was so kind as to implement it and make some incredible improvements upon the idea.

    Through the course of the video you will see a wide variety of intentionally organic shapes which I wanted to set it to appropriate music. Rena Jones’ album Driftwood is a collection of sonic snapshots into the energy cycle of a tree from seed to driftwood washing up on a beach and everything in between, before and after. I took the concept a step further at the end and integrated my best attempt at minerals which is plant food! below are some raw uncolored stills before I colored and added them to the video.

    The wide variety of organic forms resulting from relatively simple configuration of iterative functions illustrates the concept that complex results can arise from simple conditions. It is my belief that nature expresses itself on every level through fractals, limits, feedback loops, and iterative functions.

    Video Stats:

    Each frame took on average 15 minutes to render. The total frame count is over 15,000 (this includes sequences that were scrapped) It is estimated this animation took 2,750 hours of render time (114 days). Thank god I have several computers. However the overall scope of the project took over 6 months to complete.

    From Rena Jones regarding her album:

    You can check out the rest of this album on her bandcamp page or below…(and including her next album – Indras’ Web which I wrote about the design of here)

    “Driftwood is an album designed to tell the story of a tree’s life cycle. Each movement or song represents a stage in a tree’s life cycle. I wanted the listener to be able to be taken into that world and be able to feel moments of life budding and growing and dieing and traveling across the sea only to be washed up and spring forth new life.”

    Learn more about…

    phidelity – the creator of this video Rena Jones – the musician featured in this video Garth Thornton – the creator of xenodream Phidelity is the moniker of Kris Northern who peers deep into iterative structures, feedback loops and recursive structures to find new elements to add to his tool box for creating art and music that ex. There is plenty more on Xenodream is a PC based

    3d fractal

    object exploration software package. This animation represents the very groundfloor of what the software is capable of. It is simply put one object moving around two IFS (Iterative Function Set) vortices. Everything that happens in the video is still just that one object. Just think copies of copies. They have just released version 2 of the software and I recommend checking out the website

  • How to Identify a Font


    Just a link for those designers out there who might not know about this great online resource. Identifont asks you a series of questions regarding the typeface (and can also work with a limited letter-set as well in case you only have a sign or logo to work off of) and through process of elimination you can either end up at the font in question or narrow the possibilities down to several candidates.

    The link again in case you missed it

    Dark and Fleshy it is.

    The colors of top grossing movies analzyed
    and compared for a good look at the sociology behind the design of movie posters.

    Colour Lovers Site

    This community site is home to many users love color and contribute articles on a wide variety of subjects which provides both useful information, photos and color swatches derived from the photos.

    They have a rating system for highest rated swatches, colors and articles. Since discovering this resource I check it daily with my RSS reader for new updates. =)