AncientBeasts is a generative art program, or art generator based on the algorithm I used for Community. I named it AncientBeasts because the strangely organic forms reminded me of the creatures in Shadow of the Colossus. The forms are decidedly abstract, but there’s still a hint of representational quality to them.
AncientBeasts’ algorithm differs from Community’s only slightly, but the appearance is totally different. The two major changes I made were using a modified version of the “crayonStroke” function I wrote for CrayonBox (see below) and opening up the pallet to include colors. A large part of my time was spent ensuring that there would be a large range of results that would all be nearly equally aesthetically pleasing.
Now for the somewhat random little program which took minutes to make at most but manages to encapsulate almost everything I aim to do with my art programs:
If you played with the program before you read this, you’re probably wondering what’s so special about it. It’s just like every other drawing program out there right? While on the surface, CrayonBox does seem simple and almost even boring, it strikes at something much deeper. The reason I make generative art, rather than one’s standard digital art (which is how I started) or even algorithmic art (a slightly different and broader category) is because I want to limit the control the digital artist has over his or her work.
It may seem counter-intuitive to make it more difficult to create a piece, but I feel that this is a necessary step for those involved in making digital art, particularly those who wish to have their art considered “fine art” by the greater arts community. Many people have commented on the seemingly intrinsic sterility of art made digitally. I think that part of what is missing in the equation is the randomness of physical media which the artist must struggle against to make his work. That is why the stroke in CrayonBox is created by random placement of circles and why the colors are randomly chosen for you. I don’t want it to be easy. I want you to struggle.
The permanence of a mark is equally important. Digital artists are used to having all of their movements recorded in history, available to be undone at any moment. I think that while this option is nice and convenient, it enables us to make “perfect pictures.” Our sweat and tears and mistakes are entirely invisible, as if they never existed. I think that this is another reason so much digital art feels sterile. We need to put our humanity back into our art. This is why there is no undo option in CrayonBox. If you make a mistake you either have to make it work, or start over.
These are a few images I made with it using a touch pad mouse. If you make some you really like, use screen capture to grab an image from it and send then to me and I’ll consider posting them. (No promises) If you don’t know how to screen capture, google how to do it for your computer.