Turn up the noise Very few algorithms are award-winning, and even fewer have won an Academy Award. Today’s topic however, can claim this rare honor. In 1982, Ken Perlin developed the Perlin Noise algorithm to generate random procedural textures for Disney’s sci-fi classic Tron. In 1997, Ken won the Academy Award for technical achievement, in large part thanks to his eponymous noise algorithm. In this post, I’ll explore several types of noise, and the modifications we can apply to them.
This month, I’m picking up where I left off last time. If you haven’t seen my previous work on glyphs, go read part 1 of this story. When we left off, I had written an algorithm that drew two types of glyphs with a lot of randomness such that no two glyphs were the same (ok, technically they could be the same, but the probability is very small). I had some grand plans for those algorithms, some of which I’ve achieved, and others are, shall we say, sidelined.
Welcome to my latest aRt project, which is very much a work-in-progress. I usually try to wrap things up in a nice bow before posting them, but this one was just too big for that, so I decided to split it over two months. This is part 1, in which I define a base algorithm for drawing various types of glyphs.
I honestly don’t know what to call these, they started out with the idea of “orbits” and then evolved into something more like summoning circles.
Pi is an infinite, non-repeating decimal – meaning that every possible number combination exists somewhere in pi. Converted into ASCII text, somewhere in that string of digits is the name of every person you will ever love, the date, time, and manner of your death, and the answers to all the great questions of the universe. Converted into a bitmap, somewhere in that infinite string of digits is a pixel-perfect representation of the first thing you saw on this earth, the last thing you will see before your life leaves you, and all the moments, momentous and mundane, that will occur between those points.
Something strange this way comes What is a strange attractor? Wikipedia says an attractor is a set of numbers towards which a system tends to evolve. It then says that an attractor is called strange if its set is fractal. If you’re like me, that definition went in one ear and out the other. Here’s an infinitely better definition:
Imagine how a planet orbits a star. The planet is attracted to the center of the star by gravity, but its angular momentum flings it into an ellipse, rather than just letting it fall into the star.