Home > Drawings, Inspiration, Paintings 'n stuff > Complexification in design by Jared Tarbell

Complexification in design by Jared Tarbell

They say “True magic comes from mathematics”. The world of design is deeply embedded with equations and curves, which is quite unfathomable to those who don’t respect art. If you really admire art and design, you are bound to see the difference. Meet Jared Tarbell, a computer scientist who simply loves Actionscript and Flash. His works of art are nothing but hundreds of lines of codes written so intricately that the results of those codes are simply amazing. It opens a whole new dimension of imagination and inspires many to fall in love with design. I couldn’t stop but dig deeper into his world of mathematical wonders to understand the true nature of his design.

Born in 1973 to William and Suzon Davis Tarbell in the high altitude desert city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, he was first introduced to personal computers in 1987.

Jared holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from New Mexico State University. He sits on the Board of the Austin Museum of Digital Art. In July 2005, Jared co-founded Etsy, an online marketplace to buy and sell handmade goods. He continues to work there today, building tools and visualizations for shoppers.

He gets ideas for his experiments from nature, long standing principles of computer science, and texts on various subjects.

I have shared many of his works. Click on the image title to know more about the mathematics behind them. Also, don’t forget to check out the flash/javascript animation. They are simply priceless!

1) Binary Ring :
A system of path tracing particles evolves continually from an initial creation. Ages of darkness play arbitrarily with ages of light. Click here to check out the ANIMATION

2) Bit 10,001
Exposing the paths of particles as they accelerate around an infinite numerical attractor, we see a process of flow ranging from gentle to chaotic. Click here to check out the ANIMATION

3) Bone Piles
Bone Piles is an iteratively generated collection of simple organic shapes tied together with increasing complexity. Click here to check out the ANIMATION

4) Box Fitting
A region of space is filled through exhaustive placement of slowly expanding boxes. Each box begins very small (2 x 2 pixels) and increases in size until an obstacle (surface border or other box) is encountered. This probably isn’t the fastest way to fill a region, but it is certainly interesting to watch. ANIMATION

5) Box Fitting 2
The classic box fitting algorithm(mentioned in the above applet) modified with an image substrate, allowing new boxes to draw color from an invisible background. The above image uses tornado photography as a color substrate and approximately 2200 individually fitted boxes. The structure of the fitted box region is determined randomly using the order in which boxes appear. Those boxes that appear earlier have a greater chance of a larger size. ANIMATION

6) Bubble Chamber
The Bubble Chamber is a generative painting system of imaginary colliding particles. A single super-massive collision produces a discrete universe of four particle types. Particles draw their positions over time as pixel exposures. ANIMATION

7) Buddhabrot
The Buddhabrot Set is a re-visualization of the familiar Mandelbrot Set using a technique invented by Melinda Green. Instead of selecting points on the real-complex plane, initial points are selected at random from the image region. ANIMATION

8. City Traveller

9) Cubic Attractor
A minimalist modification of the City Traveler system. Cities are initiated in grid locations. Each chooses another grid location at random and moves to it. ANIMATION

10) Deep Lorenz

A quasi-dimensional rendering of the Lorenz Attractor, a popular attractor since its discovery in 1963 by meteorologist Ed Lorenz. A point is moved through space by a series of three transformational equations, one for each of three dimensions. Within this visualization, the third dimension of the point is translated into size and rendered as a perfect circle. Lorenz Deep contains 5000 iterations with a random initial starting point. ANIMATION

11) GUTS
Guts is a composition of many hundreds of gut instances rendered simultaneously in a radial fashion. The gut is a wandering tube like object. ANIMATION

12) Happy Place
Happy Place renders the resulting configuration of a system of friendly nodes. They are connected at random with preferences to nodes closer. Connections between nodes are considered friendships. ANIMATION

13) Henon Phase
In computing time scales, the Henon Phase is an ancient strange attractor. A point is moved through two dimensional space based on transformational equations. ANIMATION

14) Intersection Aggregate
The Intersection Aggregate is a fun visualization defining the relationships between objects. ANIMATION

15) Intersection Momentary
The Intersection Aggregate is a fun visualization defining the relationships between objects. ANIMATION

16) Invader Fractal
Invaders are friendly expressions of numerical magnitude. Using only 15 bits, a mirror, and a little patience, we can render 32,768 unique instances of them. Arrangement of invaders is based on a recursive fractal method. Given a region, an invader is placed within a random percentage of it. The process is then repeated for the remaining spaces until the regions become indistinguishably small. ANIMATION

17) Moonlight
Moonlight Soyuz is a rendering of a human performance of the first movement of Beethoven’s 14th symphony, the ‘Moonlight Sonata’.The note information from an actual human performance of the piece was recorded and translated into graphic shapes. Notes played have been symbolized by textured blocks. Notes are arranged with time passing across the horizontal axis, while pitch is indicated using a combination of texture, vertical spacing, and harmonic grouping. The movement has been sectioned into three measures to fit nicely on the page. The image pays homage to both our ability to reach space and the majestic influence the moon might have had on Beethoven during his time writing the piece.

18) Node Garden
Nodes are instantiated on irregular curving lines. When connected together, they form a Node Garden. The lines can be considered the substrate from which the nodes grow. The linear arrangement of the substrate in these early images is mathematically simple and makes irrigation of resources easy. ANIMATION

19) Offspring
Offspring is a visualization of the pair bonding process of a theoretical robot colony.

Each robot is assembled, ages through youth, comes into a reproductive stage, and eventually dies of fatigue. If a robot is lucky enough to find a mate during it’s reproductive stage, baby robots may be assembled.

Visually, the Offspring image is a historic graph of robot colony size and distribution. Males of the population are represented by single horizontal lines while Females are shown as double lines. The vertical position of the line indicates the robot’s time of assembly, and the horizontal position of the line shows it’s location in an abstract physical space. Faint diagonal lines connect parent and child. In this manner, older generations of robots are shown on the bottom of the image while their descendents are supported above them. ANIMATION

20) Orbitals

21) Paths
A particle begins its life quietly still, with no experience or momentum. That changes quickly as brownian forces are applied to the particle’s momentum in two dimensions. As the particle moves, it leaves behind a trace of its path. Eventually the particle will grow old and die, leaving behind its life story as a faint trail of adventure and discovery. ANIMATION

22) Sand Stroke
The Sand Stroke is applied here in it’s most basic form. Each image is composed of approximately 42 sand strokes. Each instance of the sand stroke lays down grains of colored sand (pixel exposures) growing horizontally from left to right. For every layer of growth, the sand stroke deposits precisely the same number of sand grains despite the magnitude of the wave. This prodcues a very interesting density modulation across an even mass of sand. ANIMATION

23) Sand Traveler
The Sand Traveler is a rendering of 1,000 traveling particles, each in pursuit of another. Over time, patterns of travel are exposed as sweeping paths of color. The Sand Traveler uses a pursuit algorithm similar to the City Traveler. The significant difference is the way that pixels are laid down between the travelers. ANIMATION

24) Self Dividing Line
Intricate organic forms are generated using recursively subdividing lines. By randomly offsetting the midpoint of each subdivision, an irregular overlapping line construct is produced. Construction of the image above was simple. Six lines, grouped in pairs, where arranged across the page. Classic coastline fractal detail then emerged through the natural subdividing process of each line. Midpoint markers and shaded regions have been added to emphasize the history of the breaking process. ANIMATION

25) Substrate
Lines likes crystals grow on a computational substrate. A simple perpendicular growth rule creates intricate city-like structures. ANIMATION

Well, thats about this. Hope you liked this article just as much as I did. Be sure to check out the original Page of Complexification to get inspired. You can also check out his interview at Kirupa

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  1. July 10, 2010 at 6:45 AM

    Fantastic artwork. Beautiful and amazing. Very inspiring.

  1. December 7, 2009 at 7:01 PM
  2. December 13, 2009 at 5:05 AM

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