For a while now, I have wanted to revisit the Ink Trails project. I loved the idea of creating a system that would engage the eye with its dynamic movement but also create a piece of art as a side effect of its existance. Though I loved the original Ink Trails, I couldn’t come up with a good way to mask the perlin noise influence acting on all the painting objects. All of the final pieces looked like glorified marbleized paper. There was no getting around it.
Then it hit me: Use the magnetosphere project as the engine and see what kind of paintings it would create. The first few examples were a bit bland. Using the same technique as Ink Trails, I had the magnetic particles rain ink down onto the ‘paper’ and if any of the particles actually touched the paper, they would scrape away at the ink that had already landed. Sadly, it looked dull. No surprises. Just a random spattering of circles.
As I continued to play with the code, I realized the part I did not like was how it looked to have the ribbon trails draw onto the paper every frame. The effect was not unlike old (really old) screensavers where lines bounced around the screen leaving echoes where it travelled. So I changed the process a bit.
Now there is a three step process. For the first step, over a period of 100 frames, the gravity orbs paint their cross-section onto the paper where it intersects it. The second step, also cumulative over 100 frames, has the particle orbs raining down a mist of ink. The third step is where it gets fun. Every 100 frames, all of the geometry collapses onto the paper. Voila! Instant chaotic hair balls.
To give the piece a little extra depth, every 300 frames (every 3 geometry collapses) the paper slightly blurs the image painted on it. Over time, the old content fades and blurs as new content is placed atop it.
Check the flickr image to see it full size. I will continue playing and at some point soon, I will post a video of the painting process.