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Programming for Artists ART 315 Dr. J. R. Parker Art/Digital Media Lab Lec 02 Fall 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Programming for Artists ART 315 Dr. J. R. Parker Art/Digital Media Lab Lec 02 Fall 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Programming for Artists ART 315 Dr. J. R. Parker Art/Digital Media Lab Lec 02 Fall 2010

2 2 Instructor (ME) Dr. Jim Parker Specialty: Digital media, video games, animation Office: AB606 LAB: AB611

3 3 Programming. [W]e do science when we reconstruct in the language of logic what we have seen and experienced. We do art when we communicate through forms whose connections are not accessible to the conscious mind yet we intuitively recognise them as something meaningful. After a certain level of technological skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in aesthetic plasticity and form. The greater scientists are artists as well. ???

4 4 Programming Albert Einstein. Many programmers believe themselves to be artists, and believe that programming is an art. This seems a stretch.

5 5 Programming I would describe programming as a craft, which is a kind of art, but not a fine art. Craft means making useful objects with perhaps decorative touches. Fine art means making things purely for their beauty. Richard Stallman ( founder of the GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation)

6 6 Assignment: Read Computer Programming as an Art Don Knuth, 1974 (link on web page) So: Is computer programming an art?

7 7 Who Cares? A computer is a tool. We can make cool things with good tools, and a properly configured computer is a good tool. To make a computer do your bidding, you need to know how to program it.

8 8 Programmers Make Mediocre Tools First, I am a programmer. I am willing to accept the criticism here. Tools for artists include paint, photoshop, illustrator and maya. Are these good tools (or simply what there is?)

9 9 Mediocre Tools … Artists used to make their own tools, their own paints, mix their own colours. … because the paints are our tools, and we know about them. Photoshop is built by programmers and uses their paradigms for manipulating images. They build OK tools for using computers, not for drawing or for composing music.

10 10 Tools So: we (some of us) need to make better tools for the rest. Next: We can add or create functionality to our computer that is unique to our work, and that requires us to make the computer do new things.

11 11 Generative Art Art that has been generated, composed, or constructed in an algorithmic manner through the use of systems defined by computer software algorithms, or similar mathematical or mechanical or randomised autonomous processes. (Wikipedia)

12 12 Casey Reas: Process 6 2005. http://www.reas.com

13 13 Marius Watz: System_C, 2004.

14 14 Lia:

15 15 Ben Fry: AnemoneAnemone

16 16 Golan Levin: AVESAVES

17 17 Martin Wattenberg: Shape of SongShape of Song

18 18 Methods We’ll look at more artists and images later. meanwhile How’d they make these? What is generative art and how does it differ from what I/we do now?

19 19 Painting Can be rendering a real object

20 20 Painting Can be creation of a more pure emotion.

21 21 Key Question The important issue for this class is: How does one do it? For many artists, a lot of time is spent on doing, some on planning, not much on thinking how. In generative art, how is critical.

22 22 Algorithm An interesting word, sometimes scary for those who know it (because of how you were taught). Named after al Khwarizmi (the [man] of Khwarizm), a nickname of the 9th century Persian astronomer and mathematician Abu Jafar Muhammand ibn Musa, who authored many texts on arithmetic and algebra. He worked in Baghdad and his nickname alludes to his place of origin in present-day Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan

23 23 Algorithm Born 780 died about 850. The treatise Hisab al-jabr w'al-muqabala is the first book to be written on algebra. (and gives us the word)

24 24 Algorithm “A step-by-step problem-solving procedure, especially an established, recursive computational procedure for solving a problem in a finite number of steps.” ……… poor “an 'algorithm' is an effective method for solving a problem expressed as a finite sequence of instructions. “ … better “An algorithm is a specific set of instructions for carrying out a procedure or solving a problem, usually with the requirement that the procedure terminate at some point.” … best so far

25 25 Algorithm So when I asked how, I was requesting an algorithm. Generative art, and much other computer mediated artwork, requires a deal of prior thought on how the work is to be created. One wants an algorithm.

26 26 Algorithms The connotation of algorithm is mathematical, but it need not be. It does require precision, mostly. At least in the statement of the algorithm. A set of instructions is to be followed, and so should be written so that they can be implemented.

27 27 Algorithm function divide(x; y) Input: Two n-bit integers x and y, where y 1 Output: The quotient and remainder of x divided by y if x = 0: return (q; r) = (0; 0) (q; r) = divide(bx=2c; y) q = 2 q; r = 2 r if x is odd: r = r + 1 if r y: r = r y; q = q + 1 return (q; r) This is not how we will do things.

28 28 Algorithm Sadly, some formal way of specifying the algorithm is needed. The machine doing the work can’t read your mind. window (0,100)-(0,100) for n=1 to 4 p(n)=(rnd*100) next n line(p1,p2)-(p3,p4) (1)Identify two random points on a 100 unit square plane. (2)Draw a line connecting these two points. More on this later.

29 29 Algorithm The algorithm is a basic specification, in a human language. To make it do something, the algorithm must be expressed in such a way that a machine can actually Execute/implement/carry out each step. The most common way to do this is as a special ‘language’, a collection of symbols, in which each symbol is unambiguous, and in which it is possible to express intentions clearly and unambiguously. English is bad for this.

30 30 Precision/Fidelity In art, precision is not of great importance. High fidelity VS low fidelity

31 31 What is important is that the work that results conveys the artist’s intention. In technical computer work, the result must accurately represent the algorithm, which in turn must represent a process to be studied or emulated.

32 32 The precision needed for an algorithm to be specified and to be successfully translated into an implementable description can interfere with the artist’s intention. Does an artist ever want to draw a line between (10,10) and (90,90)? … and what does this mean, anyhow?

33 33 History Look at ory-of-generative-and-computer-art ory-of-generative-and-computer-art There is really no definitive history, and what I show here is the briefest of summaries.

34 34 History The use of algorithms dates from prehistoric times. Study of the stone circles at Stonehenge (c. 2000 BC) reveals an algorithmic arrangement based on phases of the moon and the annual movement of the sun.

35 35 History Architectural plans, musical scores and dance notations bear one feature in common - they are all recipes for carrying out a task. From this perspective a broad range of notational systems can be viewed and studied as algorithmic procedure.

36 36 1960s George Brecht, 1961 GB published a set of 50 cards to be given to each participant. Each card held an instruction to be performed with a vehicle. Vehicles with drivers were instructed to assemble at sundown in a parking lot and randomly park their vehicles. Then each driver, with a shuffled deck of instructions, performed 50 events such as "turn on lights", "start engine", "stop engine", "open window". This work was performed at St Vincent College under the direction of Stephen Joy in 1963.

37 37 1950s Ben Laposky First (?) graphic images generated by an electronic machine. Laposky (a mathematician and artist from Cherokee, Iowa) manipulated electronic beams across the face of an oscilloscope and then recorded the patterns using hihg- speed film, color filters and special camera lenses.He called his oscillographic artworks oscillons and electronic abstractions

38 38 1960s Manfred Mohr The fundamental view that machines should not be considered as a challenge to humanity but, like McLuhan predicted, as an extension of ourselves is the basic philosophy when becoming involved with technology.

39 39 1960s Frieder Nake Along with George Nees, Max Bense’s student Frieder Nake was in 1965 among the first programmers to give the general public an opportunity of scrutinizing freely designed computer graphics produced on digital computers. The graphics were based on the interplay between a macro-aesthetic structure, a micro-aesthetic details and mediating random numbers. 'Hommage à Paul Klee 13/9/65 Nr.2' 1965

40 40 1960s Georg Nees Georg Nees was arguably the first world-wide to show his digital art. Studied mathematics, physics and philosophy in Erlangen and Stuttgart (D). He has been producing computer graphics, sculptures and films since 1964.

41 41 1960s A. Michael Noll A.Michael Noll is one of the earliest pioneers to use a digital computer to create patterns and animations solely for their artistic and aesthetic value. His first computer art was created at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey during the Summer of 1962. l/CompArtExamples.html

42 42 1960s Manfred R. Schroeder My interest in computer graphics was awakened by the late Leon Harmon and Ken Knowlton. Our aim then (in the early 1960s) was to use computers for creating images that could not otherwise be drawn or painted. More specifically, we wanted to generate pictures that would be perceived as totally different depending on the viewing distance. Thus my prize-winning One Picture is Worth a Thousand Words would just look like printed letters and English text from nearby. But at intermediate viewing distances One Picture appeared to be a weaving pattern and finally, from afar, it would look like a human eye looking at you.

43 43 1970s Harold Cohen The Robot as an Artist “Aaron began its existence some time in the mid-seventies, in my attempt to answer what seemed then, but turned out not to be, a simple question: What are the minimum conditions under which a set of marks functions as an image?" mwiki.php/AITopics/Art#history-art

44 44 1970s David Em - JPL artist-in-residence, leading to the first ever artist's monograph published on digital art ( The Art of David Em, published by Harry N. Abrams)

45 45 1970s Larry Cuba is widely recognized as a pioneer in the use of computers in animation art, and was one of the "hybrid" artist/technologists. Producing his first computer animation in 1974, Cuba was at the forefront of the computer-animation artists.

46 46 1980s The first algorithmic brush strokes executed with an oriental brush mounted on a pen plotter were achieved in 1987 with an HI DMP52 pen plotter. This is one of a series attempting to achieve spontaneity and expressive energy as found in Chinese Shufa.

47 47 1990s Charles Csuri The fundamental view that machines should not be considered as a challenge to humanity but, like McLuhan predicted, as an extension of ourselves is the basic Lines in Space 1966

48 48 1990s Yoichiro Kawaguchi was born on Tanegashima Island in 1952. He received his Master of Fine Arts from Tokyo University of Education in 1978. Currently he is Associate Professor of Computer Graphics Art at Art & Science Lab, Department of Art, Nippon Electronics College, Tokyo.

49 49 2000s Kenneth Knowlton A pentomino consists of five squares joined along edges; there are 12. This picture contains 27 of each kind. Since Golomb introduced them in 1953, he has been "committed to their care and feeding." They have led to thousands of puzzles and problems.

50 50 A turning point When computer power becomes easily available to all, including artists and musicians, then the convergence of informatics and the arts really begins. There is a democratization that occurs at about 1984.

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