Monday, July 30, 2007

Ushuaian petrel

Back to the IGA images in 2D; since developing the technical and technique of 3D will take its time.
One ushuaian petrel (southern giant).

A wanderer o'er the sea-graves ever green,
Whereon the foam-flowers blossom day by day,
Thou flittest as a doomful shadow gray
That from the wave no sundering light can wean.
What wouldst thou from the deep unfathomed glean,
Frail voyager? and whither leads thy way?
Or art thou, as the sailor legends say,
An exile from the spirit-world unseen?

Lo! desolate, above a colder tide,
Pale Memory, a sea-bird like to thee,
Flits outward where the whitening billows hide
What seemed of Life the one reality,—
A mist whereon the morning bloom hath died,
Returning, ghost-like, to the restless sea.
John Tabb, "The petrel".-

Friday, July 27, 2007

Making my way to organic art; or how pizza, beer and coffee influence art efforts

Yet another boring post, this is not for you! leave! :-)

This post will be more of the interest of another artists working on genetic algorithms, or even digital artists in general; not so much for the general public.

These days I've been trying to improve the 3D visual capabilities of my software, and some other functionality; it was a dream of moving along with the possibilities that the software I use offers me at this moment. Now that I have some time due to the winter vacations here in the south (two weeks) I seated for several hours a day to try to move forward. So I annoyed two of my professors at the University where I attend, to help me with the source code, since I am not good programming, I feel will never be, and also forget easily anything learnt in O.O.P. (Horacio and Gerardo, thanks!).
So, first I had this idea about improving the 3D features enough to start making images of "sculptures" one day, made totally with genetic algorithms eventually, the shapes, the colours, the position, everything except the camera, the lighting, and eventually the background sometimes (optional). And from then on, a dream of starting to move into organic art, and become an organic artist eventually. So with time and effort, I guessed like a year and a half of work to get decent 3D results :-) may be a year at least. I am amazed of the fast evolution of the plan...
I might start to show half-way results:

First, I and them, my professors, tried to translate one function (between the functions we have defined to use in IGA's when producing 2D images) to become a new class now: the "Function3D" was converted into a class, also we improved this class A.M.A.P., this were the very early result, not much for 3D looking:

This first one, looks like a very simple biomorph with wrong colours and some basic fractal background, ha? Strangely when we did that with functions and classes, we found that we were visually going "backwards" in our results :-) looking like antique math based visual art... strange. Another example, a little better achieved:

Then we added functions to the 3D shapes, not only for colouring but also to influence their shape too; to become fully genetic algorithms driven shapes and colours:

then, I noticed two things; the positive: something interesting might arise from animating this strange kind of life (it is the next logical step, and renowned people have worked in biomorphs, automata, neural networks, L-systems and GA animation: Sims, Rooke, Ostman, Latham, Anderson); the second thing I noticed, negative: images lacked light and shadow to became more "realistic" materials, more than simple binary computer colours, look how the fake 3D shape of the three images before, becomes a flesh-like shape later:

The best result, in this stage of developing, I think it was this slightly 3D fractalish one, named "strange flora", this one:

As I was the one interested, then I was the one who had to think the general plan to get the more appropiate results regarding to my own needs; so I saw that if we kept working over making a translation of common functions to 3D simulation, or over creating new classes out of another previous 3D functions, we were going nowhere really. I realized that we needed one different plan, and a rendering engine, to put the processed math values into "decent" images.

So I started to plan again. I noted that the software may need a second branch from this point on: one software for 2D images like the ones I post on this blog, and another software for 3D images, may be to show in another blog, because 3D images are more slower to produce and give much lesser space for similarity-driven recognition to the human eye. Meaning it will imply another kind of artistic work, more technical, less human/artistic in the common sense of the concept... so it is another "brush" and technique to the artist in the end.

First giant problem was to determinate how the 3D shapes generated by genetic algorithms will have any sense of control, e.g, how they will be refraned of blocking the vision of the "camera", the point of view... I thought in less planes and more predefined geometric shapes (spheres, cylinders, cones, etc), placed, rotated, linked, coloured by GA's as a first attempt; so I decided to go over this route, and later allow the GA's to generate its own objects.

I thought "I can render later; I produce the math values, then I render later with some external engine"... but I saw another problem arising: do we program a new render engine to add to my own software, or do we use one already released under an open license? The option was obvious: I don't want to program if I can avoid it :-) so I considered 3D Studio and Rhino3D (privative, and not for GNU/Linux), Renderman (it confused me), Blender for GNU/Linux (good option, but not enough photorealistic to my taste), YafRay for GNU/Linux (I couldn't integrate it easily to my software), Xara Xtreme (source code too large) and PovRay for GNU/Linux, the latter was the selected one: source code available, 64-bit version and photorealistic enough, including the radiosity illumination algorithm. Cool.

So I called for a source refactoring, but instead, a port from object pascal to c++ was suggested, and later on, we ported the whole application to C++ (mostly they did); then we made some modifications for exporting to the .pov format of PovRay, and I started to play with the tool combination;

first result, too basic, the camera is misplaced and the light insufficient; nice, like a child taking its first picture! :-) :

It doesn't even looks like GA generated.

Second result, only the position and rotation of the shapes are decided by GA's, but under heavy control:

Third result, now we are talking; there were growing around the shapes on the second result. The GA's generated values were: position, rotation (not noticeable in spheres), texture of some of them. The fixed part was: the orange colour, and the soft refraction of the light over the blue texture, controlled by the radiosity algorithm:

Fourth result, exactly the same GA's generated form, but with textures, scenery fractally generated, green rubber and a mirroring texture. Changing the scenery values didn't took more than two minutes; rendering is the time consuming.

Fifth result; first forced resemblance, a sculpture or architectural design, the tile floor is made of reflective hexagons (what is it that I have with hexagons?!), the sky is weird fractalish, the oval crystal shape pending from the sculpture is transparent and reflects as glass; all was created by GA's, that includes the textures, weird in some parts, like in the shadows, clearer than the illuminated zones! :

(If you don't believe that genetic algorithms can produce very, very interesting and appealing architectures, you should know some works of Celestino Soddu, from Milano, with his software Argenìa.)
From then on, some interesting results have appeared; those might include, this abstract nº 3, which has the sky but not the land, doh! (and I didn't kept the seed, was not paying attention):

And this abstract nº 8:

As you can see, the only section of the "creation" not driven by genetic algorithms are the backgrounds, created by fractal values (I'll keep working on this to take it to genetic algorithms too, but there are priorities), the only hand-made is the selection of the colours of each background, the colours of the lights in the PovRay renderer, and the camera position.
So this means the artwork is made (almost) completely by digital means, all in one combined software step. I select some colours to improve the visibility, or provoke a special effect, and watch for the resemblance, in case of being looking for it. 50%-50% work, as it was on 2D, the software makes its part, the artist selects its preference between the options or phenotypes given, that is what is called Interactive Genetic Algorithms (IGA, not HBGA), where the human evaluation mediates as the fitness function; neither the human nor the system can produce, by their own, the result they make together; this will be common, for a long time, in artistic expression regarding GA's. There are trends already to replace the artist fitness expression by artificial intelligence through combinatorial optimization problems. A lot of IA, and applied art theory, will be needed for the machine/system to actually recognize what can be visually appealing to humans, and to even generate more images over those learned criteria. Science evolves facing this kind of problems, will be great to see how it resolves that; for now, the better way to evaluate visual appealing (or IGA music), is putting an artist, or any person, to intercede in the GA process. Anyway, computer systems still can help a lot in solving the rutine of human evaluation in IGA's; e,g. to determine the frequencies from the most successful selected evolutions, then those can be kept as defaults values, "evolving the evolution", restructuring the humanly imposed limitations on the values of initialization, selection, mutation, and crossover.
Eventually I might move from IGA's to GA's completely, relinquishing my selector role to the computer system; at least is more possible on the 3D expression of GA's, where the human has a more active role selecting the frontiers of the evolution than the results itself (quite opposite to my role in the 2D image production) as far as I've noticed during this time. I can even dream with managing a neural network in the future; dreams are for free.

I'm considering opening a second blog for posting 3D genetic algorithms images and, may be, animations; but this implies, in a way, more research and development, more processing power, more programming, may be a rendering cluster too; so in the end, may be my self-funding work days are coming to an end, at least since including the 3D now; my actual university will hardly support this branch of personal work; so producing animations, improving the base software and going further with the 3D visuals will be a real pain in the ass, because of this tech/finantial limitations.
At least this forced me to improve my 2D visual IGA's software; now have it in C++ and also I can click and drag instead of entering so many math values, great! Unfortunately big part of the source code is privative, due to the work of many people over it: is the price of accepting interested collaboration.

So I guess I'll keep working while having and while solving this limitations; I never was, nor will be, a good programmer, but the pizza, warsteiner and coffee diet will go on for a while :-D nice memories from the past while moving to the future!

I leave you with the "pulpobot" ("roboctopus?), fixing some piece of hardware in the outer space. Enjoy.


[EDIT]: The works in 3D are being posted in this blog since December 2007, click on the name of the blog to see the latest ones.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

rubber frog

No, not rubberfrog... ruNNerfrog! Oh, whatever... as you like. :-)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

nine-pointed star

Playing with symbols, anyone, sooner or later, faces the numbers. I fighted this back many times just to avoid getting too mathematical :-P

In a restricted meaning it is used for symbolizing religion.
It represents the fundamental universal cosmic laws. It is the sign of perfection, and splendour -Bahá' (بهاء)- in the bahá'í faith, where the nine-pointed star is the most spread as an emblem.
This image looks like a bahá'í star made of fire, light and darkness.

But in my preferred cosmology, the norse one (inherited from the reading of Borges), there are nine circles of existance: Asgard; Vanaheimr; Midgard, our mortal plane; Muspell; Niflhei; Alfheim; Svartálfheim; Nidavellir; and Jotunheim. All of them connected by the Yggdrassl. As norse mythology involves a strong element of duality, I thought the image with this light-dark halves.
The reference to the nine rings spawned from Draupnir (originally described in the Skírnismál, Sturluson's codex regius) took me to remember this big favourite one of mine:

Up to the moment of the yellow sunset,
how many times will I have cast my eyes on
the sinewy-bodied tiger of Bengal
to-ing and fro-ing on its paced-out path
behind the labyrinthine iron bars,
never suspecting them to be a prison.
Afterwards, other tigers will appear:
the blazing tiger of Blake, burning bright;
and after that will come the other golds --
the amorous gold shower disguising Zeus,
the gold ring which, on every ninth night,
gives light to nine rings more, and these, nine more,
and there is never an end.
All the other overwhelming colors,
in company with the years, kept leaving me,
and now alone remains
the amorphous light, the inextricable shadow
and the gold of the beginning.
O sunsets, O tigers, O wonders
of myth and epic,
O gold more dear to me, gold of your hair,
which these hands long to touch.
Jorge Luis Borges, "The gold of the tigers", Alastair Reid's translation.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

abstract nº7

Too busy to work in detail in images, but this is the ugliest one ever!
Filling up space has its limits isn't? :-) Well, I've reached one, then.
Let's forget this one fast. Have mercy. :-D

Monday, July 23, 2007

Silk butterfly

A butterfly, one everlasting symbol, through cultures and times of mankind, for the psyche, or the soul.

Chuang Tzu in dream became a butterfly,
And the butterfly became Chuang Tzu at waking.
Which was the real—the butterfly or the man?
Who can tell the end of the endless changes of things?
The water that flows into the depth of the distant sea
Returns in time to the shallows of a transparent stream.
The man, raising melons outside the green gate of the city,
Was once the Prince of the East Hill.
So must rank and riches vanish.
You know it, still you toil and toil,—what for?
Li Po, "Chuang Tzu and the butterfly".

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Abstract nº6

Nothing special, visually. A desperate expression of the infinity symbol; or the sixth abstract; as you wish.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Abstract nº5

I'm busy improving my software and taking care of family issues; also don't know why I feel like filling up space with an abstract today :-)
This might be of interest of genetic algorithms artists, it is made completely by hexagons (like the snowflake I did before too), all the curves, the lines, the fading colours, all are hexagons in different sizes and colours... I kept the image not because I like it, but because of that strange fact; and it took a lot of time to render to just waste it, you know. ;-)
Not related, but this made me remember the long lasting hexagon shape in Saturn's north pole. Just digressed.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sleepy dragon's eyes

Happy friend's day!

This is dedicated to one of my childhood and teenage years friend, Walter D.
Now he is a fighter pilot, First Lt., but back then in our first teenage years, we met in my home everyday to program, mostly, play computer games and chat pretty much all day around the neighborhood. We call the room (my computer room) the dragon's cave -don't remember why now. We were great friends, we went separated by study and work reasons, he lives very far in the patagonia now.

This is what I consider is my best work in GA's so far, much better than any other, "Sleepy Dragon's Eyes", intense and gentle characters. If anyone wants to track the base of this work, can find it in "Continuous flower". The brain says there is a recursion going on in the image, but mathematically, there is none; no shape repeats itself in any of the two images, like any friend has a replacement.
Dedicated to all my friends in this friend's day, and to the readers of this blog.

Have a great day.


Cold, very cold. Then, the 9th of july, and now. Frozen nights, and fog in the mornings. Few people outdoors, I start to bore and work indoors; soon will have another version of my software, even knowing how lousy programmer I am (my professors are helping me now in the winter vacations here); then what? I'm in need of a perpetual summer, I feel I'm getting old. :-) Anyway, there is always something to do at home.

I think the soft borders of this snowflake image is the best achieved with GA's; that is not common, at least with my soft. Took time to render; it is made by "microscopic" hexagons, and I abused of the Function3D to improve the reflecting glass effect, like I did in Uraeus vitreaux.

Until next one :-)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Cloak of argentinian sea and sky.

Today, 9th of July, is the argentinian independence day. Cyan and white are the flag colours.
The image lacks work. Wanted to show some flag movement and sea waves, plus a black stormy future colour. So it lacks work to achieve that; GA's are not very friendly to work on images.

I'll be off the blog for a while.

EDIT: And it is snowing hard over the whole country now for the first time in a hundred years! I hope my plane can take off anyway.


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Flower of fire

Image completely made by IGA tech, as always.
Very recommendable authour and poem. Please, don't lose this one, in its complete version.


Me, most forsaken of all souls that fell;
Me, satiated with things insatiable;
Me, for whose sake the extreme hell makes mirth,
Yea, laughter kindles at the heart of hell.

Alas thy beauty! for thy mouth's sweet sake
My soul is bitter to me, my limbs quake
As water, as the flesh of men that weep,
As their heart's vein whose heart goes nigh to break.


For I came home right heavy, with small cheer,

And lo my love, mine own soul's heart, more dear
Than mine own soul, more beautiful than God,
Who hath my being between the hands of her --

Fair still, but fair for no man saving me,
As when she came out of the naked sea
Making the foam as fire whereon she trod,
And as the inner flower of fire was she.

Algernon Swinburne, "Laus Veneris".

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Incoming train

Have been dreaming of blinding light sources, strong mirror reflections, suns, train lights coming to hit me; and reminded the end of Leo Tolstoy, at the Astapovo station. And wanted to mix both lights, the train coming, and that one final light people say they see, when in near-death experiences. In some (rapid) hours of evolving images I ended this nightly image to conjure the nightmares.

Why did I laugh to-night? No voice will tell:
No God, no Demon of severe response,
Deigns to reply from Heaven or from Hell.
Then to my human heart I turn at once.
Heart! Thou and I are here sad and alone;
I say, why did I laugh! O mortal pain!
O Darkness! Darkness! ever must I moan,
To question Heaven and Hell and Heart in vain.
Why did I laugh? I know this Being's lease,
My fancy to its utmost blisses spreads;
Yet would I on this very midnight cease,
And the worlds's gaudy ensigns see in shreds;
Verse, Fame, and Beauty are intense indeed,
But Death intenser —Death is Life's high meed.
John Keats, "Why did I laugh".

Friday, July 06, 2007

Ghost african masks

Everyone knows african masks have strongly influenced avant-garde art of the early 20th-century.
I felt I had to do something with my interest in those, the result was not good enough, but funny, some kind of involuntary disrespect. This convoluted "ghost african masks", are the result of the mix of my fear (yes) and admiration of the liberian Dan masks, with the colourful of Congo's M'Teke masks. Really, the Dan masks scare me.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right
It's all right
George Harrison, "Here comes the sun".

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Half-orange sun

Mmh, my childhood... oranges and sun and Miguel Hernández poetry of social commitment, love, oranges and sun. :-) Melancholic and unique poet; reading of my sunny nap time under a tree, never slept, while the neighborhood was in silence.

It is somewhat striking to think I am using genetic algorithms for this, while those are mostly for adaptive heuristic search methods, or models for systems-learning deriving its behavior from, some way, the processes of evolution in nature. Strange "paintbrush" :-)

The solar orange went out nicely to my taste. (BTW, another untranslatable: Half-orange is a wordplay here to deepen a meaning and a symbol, in english means "better half", which in english doesn't allude to the poet "orange heart" nor the sunny girl at the same time; in spanish this is easier). The Hernández sonnet is really cool.
This image is "Sol de media naranja".

Rainy eyes that showers
you make me suffer: rainy solitudes,
balconies of harsh storms
that there are in my adolescent heart.

Heart every more frequent day
in idolizing to raise cities
of love that falls of all my ages
babylonianly and fatally.

My heart, my eyes without consolation,
metropolis of shady atmosphere
spent by a plaintive river.

Eyes to see and to not enjoy the sky,
orange heart every day,
if more aged, more flavorful.
Miguel Hernández, Sonnet 27.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Fire and ice

Lo, now the dead volcano Night
In silence cold
Throbs; and the prisoned lava, long controlled,
Bursts forth in molten gold—
A torrent mightier far than rolled
From Ætna or Vesuvius of old,
Or ever prophet, on the sacred height
Of song, foretold.
John B. Tabb, The Dawn-Burst

Monday, July 02, 2007

Flower of fire and frost

Beautiful, sobbing
high-geared fucking
and then to lie silently
like deer tracks in the
freshly-fallen snow beside
the one you love.
That's all.
Richard Brautigan, Deer tracks.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Bursting flower

Well, one simple image and symbol, a bursting flower in the night. If that is no clear enough, :-) here it is Thomas McDonagh:

O bursting bud of joy
I pluck thee in thy flower!
Fast I plant thee in my breast
To bloom and bloom for ever.

I lived without thee long,
Lonesome my life without thee.
Lightly blossom in my breast,
O flower mine, for ever!
Thomas McDonagh, "O Bursting Bud Of Joy".

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