My experiments for writtenimages.net – a generative book. All these creatures were generated by an algorithm controlled by number of parameters that can be randomized and animated. The look was inspired by amazing works of Ernst Haeckel.
Recently I was working on a project about underwater life. In this case we used 3d models so the immediately when I heard about Written Images I thought "Let's make something more generative and organic". I did some research and was amazed how big jellyfish can grow so I decided to make one. At the beginning I was aiming for super realistic look but after stumbling upon works by Ernst Haeckel and his amazing book "Kunstformen der Natur" I knew that this is the way to go. The most difficult part of the project was to find a way of controlling the layout on the page because when you generate something randomly it's hard to predict it's shape, size and position. I dealt with that with some smart transformations and iterative algorithms.
Short algorithm description:
The base for the whole creature is the head made out of deformed sphere. When I generate it I also output some connection points. These joints are later used as starting points to generate tentacles and hair. All that is controlled by bunch of parameters like length and number of features that can be randomized and animated over time. No predefined geometry or textures are used.
To output images at hi-res print quality I decided to use OpenGL and new library called Cinder. This allowed to achieve near realtime performance (we are talking about 4000 x 3000 px animated pictures) and prototype very fast.
Some more pictures:
New version animated on the GPU:
One of animated sketches:
Process screenshots on Flickr.
Experimenting with projections and materials.