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Starting to play around with generative art using Actionscript 3.0

<p>Up until recently I've not had much of a chance to play with generative art, though it's something that I've meaning meaning to check out for ages. &nbsp;I've looked into Processing and had a little play with NodeBox before, but have never really used Flash in this capacity. &nbsp;Flash, however, is an excellent environment to get into generative art as coding on the timeline can be loose and fast, with no need to get into classes and objects (unless you want to). &nbsp;I think the term is 'sketching' and it's a good way to think of this sort of coding. &nbsp;It's coding for designers, not developers. &nbsp;Quick (and dirty) little scripts with no regard for performance that solely exist to produce interesting (if not beautiful) graphical output.</p>

Lissajousexperiment_3x2

Lissajous Curve

Lissajous is a term that I've heard several times, most recently from Brendan Dawes (http://brendandawes.com) as he used the formula in his recent 'Elena' iPhone app.  Lissajous Curves (or Bowditch Curves) refers to a family of curves investigated by Nicholas Bowditch and later by Jules Antoine Lissajous and are produced from the following equations:

x = A sin(at + d), y = B sin(bt)

I don't profess to being an expert in this field, so I'd highly recommend having a good search for more information.

Lissajousexperiment_91x91
The curves change quite dramatically when the constants in the equations are changed, with some of the most interesting patterns happening if they are changed over time.

Some images

Below are some of the images that I've produced using these equations.  There's nothing more complicated than drawing dots, squares and lines involved in most of them.  I found that the code tends to change quite fluidly after a 'run' and this is something that I really enjoyed about this sort of work.  It changes, it evolves.  There's a constant 'what if...?'  You are encouraged to explore different algorithms and different ideas to see what happens.  It brings back the 'happy accident' to coding.  Although I've not done that much yet, I can definitely see myself turning to generative art as a break from photoshop and more application based flash development.

Further reading

If this has got you thinking about generative art, I'd definitely recommend reading some of the posts from the following people:

Also check out http://www.letitbloom.com/ for some great work by the above people and more (hint, press refresh!).

 

 

Ian Thomas

Father of two, Husband and Software Architect currently working at Sky Betting and Gaming

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