Flocking Cellular Automata with Color/Chaos (plus final thoughts)

Apologies for not keeping up with my blog posts! This post will contain a bunch of information on what I had been working on.

So after the first critique, I started thinking a lot about playing with chaos.

First I utilized the Hénon system equations to add chaotic dynamics to my system.
xt1 = 1.29 - xt0^2 + 0.3*yt0
yt1 = xt0

When the system was initialized, it would choose a random float starting value of y between -100 and 100. This value would be a global multiplier for the amplitudes of the forces applied to the boids (separating, alignment, and centering).

Previously, boids would bounce off the edges of the screen if it went out of bounds. However, this created some sharp edges that I was not happy about. So I decided to include steering (making the edges of the screen collision objects).

My first few images ended up bland, as the overlapping black lines ended up creating wide opaque areas. A lot of details were lost. So, I decided to experiment with color, by adding a hue increment for each timestep. This way, lines would still be able to be distinguished.


Here are some final image stills of my stable system with color. This system would stabilize once boids reached a state of contentment, their velocity/acceleration would be set to zero.





I really liked these images. The added chaos added some variation in the spacing of the lines. I felt a sense of movement and dancing.

I was also interested in what Phil suggested during the first critique on having a continuously moving animation, rather than stills. So in my state of contentment, I did not force the velocity and acceleration to be zero. Instead, I set the amplitude of the forces to an extremely low value 0.005. This way, the system would blow out of equilibrium if the global chaotic constant (given by the Hénon equations) grew to be large enough.

Since the lines would eventually run over each other and become too opaque, I decided to add an overlay every 7 frames.

Here is a video of that outcome.

I was actually quite intrigued by these results. I thought it was interesting how the system would come into a seemingly stable state, creating an interesting design if only for a brief moment before exploding out again. I felt the overall effect of the visual was very calming. I also liked how the animation looked hand-drawn.

A suggestion was made in class to keep to my original color scheme of black and gray. I initially added color because the black was overlaying itself so much it would end up with wide areas of black. However, since I started the added overlay, this no longer happens.

Here is a video with black lines on gray, which is very reminiscent of a pencil sketch. I really like these results.

I know my gallery presentation was weak. And I know that the majority of that stemmed from the fact that I was unsure about what I wanted to show.

After more thought, I ideally would like to show off both the projection, as well as prints of my still images (on a moderate scale, about 2-3ft across). A smaller display would show the split screen video, as to provide an explanation of how these images were created.


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