The brief to explore procedural art, had a lot of scope to produce something cool and interesting. My initial thought was to generate a project that utilised audio to change colours and rotation of a 3D object, creating a moving piece of art that would that would change depending on the music that was currently assigned to it.
I pretty much completed this project, but getting feedback from my tutor, I realised it was pushing the limits of how I could interpret the brief. This has led me to look into creating procedural art with a more permanent aesthetic.
While trying to figure out how how to do something that would create artwork that would be visually interesting but still provide the user with the ability to change the variables, I came across phyllotaxis.
Phyllotaxis/phyllotaxy is a phenomenon in nature that controls the arrangement of leaves on a plant stem, while phyllotactic spirals form a distinctive class of natural patterns.
I plugged the pyllotaxis algorithm into Unity, and edited it so that it would spawn spheres at points within 3D space. This provided the ground work to create my procedural art!
By editing the values of the algorithm, a user would be able to alter the way that the spiral populates space, and have a direct input on the way the final art piece. Allowing for some dinstinctive patterns that are user curated but still completely procedural.
However, without colour this looked pretty dull. So I decided to program in some colour linear interpolation, so that the spheres would change colour over time.
At first I had the linear interpolation set to ping pong between two colour values. but this did not really provide a whole lot of variety, and the algorithm still needed to be exposed to users so that they could tweak it to produce unique results.
I programmed in some UI elements so that users would be able to pick colours and directly interface with the algorithm to give them to better author the artwork the system generates. I also included the option to center the spiral in other places by clicking in screen space to add further control.
The testing for this project was did not yield much in the way of things that needed fixing or rectifying. Test users noted the UI values were not particularly intuitive, and that better labelling of the values being changed and direct control over those values would be an improvement.
THOUGHTS & CONCLUSIONS
This project turned out a lot better than I had initially thought it would. The phyllotaxis algorithm lends itself to creating a diverse range of patterns, and by giving users access to the values driving it there is potentially an infinite number of variations that can be achieved.
When having it tested by others, they were able to produce results far outside what I thought possible, including fractal looking pieces. If I was to take the project further I would definitely look at adding better UI and control of the algorithm. I also wanted to be able to have multiple spirals, and better control of the scale and use of screen space, however this was proving to be a lot harder to manage so I had to cut it for time. I’ve included some other peoples creations below!