Island of Dr. Voroni

The Anguish of Fractals

I’m not sure what a Voroni diagram actually is, but I like to look at them. Honestly, it’s refreshing sometimes to work with something other than fractals. Fractals have this intense, endless quality to them that sometimes gives me vertigo. I just want to work with something simple like these “voronic” chunks of colour.

Actually, “voronic” as in moronic, is an appropriate description for these things. On their own, the Voroni diagrams are just casual assemblages of cut-paper. This makes them excellent raw material for sending down a guantlet of photoshop filters. India Ink by Flaming Pear works very well with them. A nice halo, or glowing outline effect can be contributed by Xero’s Illustrator plugin. Other than that it’s just a matter of altering the colors to produce a nice color scheme.

The program I used to make these is called Kandid, and has been around for a few years now. It’s a “genetic” art program that runs on Java, so it works with almost every operating system. When I started using it four or five years ago, it was just black and white and it’s best feature were its IFS clouds and fuzzy, misty things. The Voroni diagrams it had at that time, were only of academic interest.

Now it’s got too much color and I’ve found the best setting for Voroni creation is just RGB instead of the next, more sophisticated color method. Voroni creation. Remember the “genetic” art term I mentioned? Each Voroni diagram (ie. image) can be described by an underlying set of parameters, just like a fractal. These parameters are variations of several main features or variables and so you can adjust the imagery by adjusting the parameters that make them. On way to “adjust” them it to randomly combine two sets of parameters and creating a new image which is literally related to the original two.

That’s right, you “breed” your images with each other in order to develop their visual characteristics and create new ones. There can be horrifying side-effects though. If you use images that look pretty much the same (or might even be “clones”), pretty soon all the children look the same and in a few more generations, have grown big heads and start playing banjo music like the freaky kid in the movie, Deliverance.

The Faceless Widow

Anyhow, it’s quite entertaining to watch the mutations developing, but random results from pressing the random generation button are often just as creative as the interbreeding method. Fractals have parameters you can tweak, but the genetic method is purely graphical and relies on the results of random recombination, which is a much different way to work. There’s even an online database where you can upload and share parameter files from your gene pool of images made with Kandid. It’s weird.

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