[vimeo https://vimeo.com/37591698 width=”600″]
So, full disclosure, I love particle systems. I think it’s one of the best/easiest ways to get generative organic flowy motion when coding. When I’m making art by hand, that’s generally my aesthetic, and I usually want it to carry over into my computational art as well. Of course with this sentiment also comes a total abuse of perlin noise, which accomplishes much of the same feeling with significantly less math/hard work. So for this project I wanted to code up a real physics system that wasn’t just based off of perlin noise/ flocking rules and hopefully get some different behaviors/motions. I decided to focus on magnetism, since magnetic particle paths also have a very curvy graceful motion.
So my initial sketch had user placed gravity wells, which are those really cute brightly colored drops. The user can click to place them, drag them around, and then right click to be rid of them. Unlike boids in the flocking algorithm, these particles have no behavior of their own, but are entirely controlled by these external forces. Unfortunately, the final result didn’t look that different from any other swarming/ perlin noise flock despite following a completely different rules. However I did have this pretty powerful/adaptable system so I started exploring other ways I could create something useing the underlying interaction to power it.
My first instinct was just to create a delaunay triangulation and mesh it. However this was still kind of eeeeeh, though I did have fun working with the Toxiclibs color library to get a really nice palate. I’ve been in an illustration/comicy sort of kick lately. In my hand drawn work, I tends to cling to super ornamental patterns and really bright colors.
And as much as I love their effect, I hate drawing them! They are tedius and take a ridiculously long time for an effect that is purely decorative. I’d love to have a tool where I could just get fast combinations of them in different arrangements on the fly that I could use for background effects, whether just for gutters or fillers on dresses and cloth, similar to this sketch here.
So I added repeller gravity wells where you could just drop in, for example, a comic panel or some other element that they system would then do its best to avoid.
And I started playing around with different texturing systems. I came across this idea rather late in the design process so I didn’t have time to hand watercolor the large swatches of pattern I would need to execute my above pattern, so I experimented just using various texture files from my graveyard folder for such things on my drive.