Recently I've been looking at Povray, pyprocessing, and cfdg (version 3.0) as tools for creating digital images. I have branched two separate blogs where I mainly explore jruby + processing and processing.py

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

An Interesting Place To Start

Theres an old joke in these parts, (but probably more widely known) which concerns a stranger asking for directions who gets the unhelpful reply from a local 'if I wanted to go to where you wanted to go, I wouldn't start from here...'
I've just been doing a bit of reading around about context free, and context free grammars, and if you are not a computer scientist and I'm not, it's surprising where it could take you. Processing might get you back to re-reading your old Maths text books to create some art, context free could take you a lot deeper into computing theory from Turing machines to compression algorithms. However you could just make use of the tools to produce some neat art. Here is a quote that goes someway to describing how context free works:

"In Context Free, the only two terminals are the shapes CIRCLE and SQUARE. Given a starting shape, the program keeps expanding shapes that have rules until all that is left are terminal shapes, which are then drawn. In essence, the rendered images are legal sentences in the language described by the rules file!"

Another illustration of just how simple elegant rules http://artsnova.com/blog/2008/05/17/86/
can be used to produce something fabulous, together with an explanation of how it works, which is why I've just given the link for you to follow.

Where did all this context free art stuff come from, well apparently the graphical stuff started as an offshoot to Chris Coynes automatic computer science paper writing project (that apparently fooled some review panels). At some stage Mountain View Mark and Mountain View John (Mark Lentczner and John Horigan) picked it up and ran with it, but it is all a bit hazy, and Chris Coynes website is currently under construction but looks to be very promising...
There is a further offshoot concentrating on 3d structures structure synth that unfortunately I couldn't get to compile on linux. (Update July 2010 I have successfully compiled Version 1.0.0 ("Potemkin") on my new Linux box Kubuntu 10.04 on AMD 64 bit box with proprietary NVidia graphics driver)
And yet another implementation using javascript by Aza Raskin (that really works) download the code at http://code.google.com/p/contextfree/ it has some cool examples of context free art, that is rendered on the fly...
Includes Mtree, forest and many other demos. Usual caveat requires canvas, therefore use Firefox, Chrome or Opera, one day Microsoft will be history sooner the better...
Just take a look at what they are up to now http://blogs.zdnet.com/open-source/?p=4311#more-4311
Demise of Microsoft could be sooner than I thought possible just check this out http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/introducing-google-chrome-os.html, the buggers deserve all they get I predict crashing stock prices....

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Pembrokeshire, United Kingdom
I have developed JRubyArt and propane new versions of ruby-processing for JRuby-9.1.5.0 and processing-3.2.2