Dreamlines is a generative drawing machine that creates a unique, ever-flowing painting after words you choose. Related images are gathered from the Net and used as raw material for the construction of your personal dream.

This piece has been devised specifically for Internet. It is a combination of Processing and PHP, with some Flash mixed in for the user interface. The PHP script makes a Google image search with the keywords provided by the user, and collects the resulting images. The Processing applet reads the images one by one and uses them as input to generate an ever-changing drawing.

The key of the piece lies in the translation between two different sets of coordinates: color and movement. The images are never actually shown. The visual output is the result of the endless drifting of a swarm of 1500 autonomous particles. The loaded images are a sort of virtual terrain for them. The direction and speed of each particle is given, at each step, by the color values of the pixel it is stepping on. The resulting path is traced to the screen, and the accumulation of them forms the dense drawing seen by the user.

The script switches randomly over eight sets of formulas that transform the color values (hue, saturation and brightness) of a pixel into angle and velocity values for a particle. Naturally, the possible translation rules are endless, but this small set is enough to generate a variety of effects that go from hazy to hairy to spiky, even when the same image is used. Thus, each image is taken as raw data to control some population dynamics that render another picture, bearing a variable resemblance to the first one, as the emergent result.

screen captures

© 2005 Leonardo Solaas