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Archive for July, 2014

Generative Art plus Instagram and Pinterest at Musecon

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Musecon 4 Convention
Musecon 4 Convention

This weekend I’ll be attending MuseCon 4, being held at Westin Chicago Northwest in Itasca, IL. Billed as a weekend-long convention for artists, musicians, inventors, gadgeteers, makers, tinkerers, and creative people of all ages, the convention is three days of a wide variety of creative workshops spanning a surprisingly broad range of creative projects – from making chain maille to programming Arduinos.

As a part of Musecon, I’ll be teaching two classes/workshops. The first workshop I’ll be giving is Generative Art and Processing. I’m going out on a limb with this one. Instead of having a canned, pre-prepared, formal presentation, I’m going to challenge the class to collectively create a generative art program. As we agree on concepts, I’ll demonstrate to the class how to go about creating the necessary code to implement our visual concepts. My objective is for students to acquire a basic understanding of generative art concepts and how the Processing programming language can be used to implement a generative art concept.

The second workshop I’ll be teaching is Instagram and Pinterest for Artists and Photographers. This is one of my standard presentations and is geared towards strategies as opposed to being a how-to tutorial. For more information about this workshop, see Instagram and Pinterest for Artists and Photographers.

Besides teaching, there are several workshops that I hope to attend. On my list are:

  • Arduino Programming
  • Digital Cameras: Best For The Price
  • Free Blinkies
  • Intro to Runes
  • Portfolio Development

My Musecon Class Schedule

Following is the time and location information for the two classes I’ll be teaching.

Program: Generative Art and Processing
Time: Saturday 1:30 PM – 2:45 PM
Room: Carlyle

Program: Instagram and Pinterest for Artists and Photographers
Time: Saturday 9:00 PM – 10:15 PM
Room: Carlyle

To learn more about Musecon visit the MuseCon 4 Convention Web Site.

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Video: The Liquified Paintings of Claude Monet

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Liquified Paintings of Claude Monet
The Liquified Paintings of Claude Monet Video

Since setting up an account on YouTube towards the end of last year, I confess to not having been active on that platform. I created the account for the purpose of publishing several video portfolios to promote my art. The plan was to create a video for each area of artistic creation I am working in. I created exactly one portfolio video and that was for my portrait art. That was my first attempt at making a video and you can see it here: Portrait Art Video. If you’re interested in the story of how I went about making that video, read Portrait Art Video Project.

The experience of creating that video got me interested in creating some original animations of my own. Since that time I’ve only posted two videos exploring animation. One I dubbed the Swimming Eye Art Video. The other was a crude quickie experiment in animating an image – Sailing A Stormy Sea Video.

For this new video I wanted to create something that would feature the art of the great impressionist painter Claude Monet. I have recently been experimenting with vector fields and their utility as an algorithmic means of creating flowing brush strokes. It occurred to me that I could use this technique to create a series of liquified paintings that would evolve. And that’s how The Liquified Paintings of Claude Monet video was born. And here it is.

The video captures the evolution of six separate paintings and the transition from one to the next. For me it is the transition between paintings that is visually the most interesting. One thing you may have noticed is the very slow evolution of the first painting. It is no coincidence that this first painting is the darkest of the six paintings. You see I tied the speed of evolution to the overall brightness of the image.

Given that these paintings have been "liquified", I deliberately chose artworks by Monet that featured water, be it a pond, a stream, a river, or the ocean. Following are image stills from the video and the name of the Monet painting that was used as the color source at that point during the video.

Claude Monet Impression, Soleil Levant
Claude Monet – Impression, Soleil Levant

Claude Monet The Argenteuil Bridge
Claude Monet – The Argenteuil Bridge

Claude Monet Morning By The Sea
Claude Monet – Morning By The Sea

Claude Monet Autumn On The Seine At Argenteuil
Claude Monet – Autumn On The Seine At Argenteuil

Claude Monet Poplars At The Epte
Claude Monet – Poplars At The Epte

Claude Monet Water Lilies
Claude Monet – Water Lilies

The most time consuming aspect of this project was writing the program that produced the video stills. In all I used 3272 image stills (not counting the title and trailer images) to create this video.

Graphics Software Used

I created this video using several different software packages. The liquified/animated images used to construct the video were created with a program I wrote using the Processing creative coding platform which is a framework built on Java. As a programming language, Processing is easily the best language for non-programmers interested in creative coding projects. To stitch the individual images together into a video, I used the DOS command line utility FFMPEG. To create my title and trailer images I used Adobe Photoshop CS4. Note that my workflow would have consisted entirely of "free" software if I had used GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) to create these two images. For the soundtrack file, I used Audacity to edit the mp3 sound file.The soundtrack music is Laideronnette Imperatrice Des Pagodes by Maurice Ravel. Finally to assemble everything I used Microsoft’s Windows Live Movie Maker which came bundled with Windows 7.

In Conclusion

If you would like to know more about Claude Monet, you may want to read this biography of Claude Monet. If you are of a technical bent, there is this Wikipedia entry for vector fields which served as the painting foundation upon which my Processing program was built. And while I don’t often add new videos, you may want to follow me on YouTube.

I’ll close with a couple of noteworthy quotes.

When you go out to paint, try to forget what objects you have before you – a tree, house, a field….Merely think, here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact color and shape, until it gives your own naive impression of the scene before you. – Claude Monet

A preliminary drawing for a wallpaper pattern is more highly finished than this seascape. – French art critic Louis Leroy in 1874 commenting on Monet’s Impression, Sunrise

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