I was interested in using a fluid simulation (i used this one), but I couldn’t think of ways to satisfactorily visualize and interact with it that hadn’t been extensively explored before.

I thought to use boids to drive the interaction with the liquid, and have the liquid then apply forces to the boids, to create interesting emergent interaction.  This made it hard to balance the system, as this is a positive feedback loop.

I experimented with a number of ways to visualise the boids and the liquid, with the boids being above at first, then moving behind unless they were under a specific size (to give the impression of them “jumping out”).

However, neither of these gave the liquid “depth” and “murkiness,” which were my emergent goals for this piece as it went on. Eventually, I realised I could just make the liquid black, and so I did.

I am satisfied by the result of exploring a fluid simulation system in a new (to me) way, with “live” <s>creatures</s> boids. I am especially happy with the murky, inky effect that sometimes happens. Looking back, I wish I had added more dampening to the boids. In addition, it would be interesting to explore how they interact with a GPU fluid system, letting one simulate the fluid at a much finer resolution (here it is just 64×64).

You can see the sketch (and the source code) at https://editor.p5js.org/aman/full/HysZkJ6fV.

tadpoles from aman tiwari on Vimeo.