teaching generative design
I gave a course on generative design at HETIC, a graduate school for the web. The first session was a broad introduction to generative design with an attempt at defining its scope, a (short) historic background and a presentation of a variety of generative design projects and tools. The second course was dedicated to generative design projects on the web and using the HTML5 canvas to create animation and interactivity in the browser. And the third and last was an introduction to the concept of agents and what I called the illusion of life↓.
Each of these lessons was divided in two parts. The first part was focused on theory and examples of design and art projects, the second on practicing a bit of code to experiment various generative design principles. Processing was the tool of choice to discover and explore computer-generated forms, and, because of the recent release of Processing 2.0, it was possible for students to export sketches directly to an HTML5 canvas.
The first lesson’s exercices were about generating moiré pattern. Moiré is interesting because it fits most of the attributes of computer-generated images particularly well: lots of precisely drawn lines create random and hard to anticipate patterns.
I’ll be writing an article with examples of agents. In the meantime, the sources for these sketches can be found here: moire-examples.zip. They are GPL’ed v3.
↑ — A reference to a book by Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, two animators at Disney showing various techniques to breathe life into simple shapes. In recent years, it has become a landmark for artists, interaction designers and developers looking for ways to improve their creations with a bit of flair (see this article on Smashing Magazine).