Procedural Painting of Chaotic Attractors


Procedural art can be thought of as abstract artwork created by manipulating algorithmic formulas. MSG Evolver allows for the creation of a wide range of different abstract procedural artistic styles. Chaotic Attractors are a certain kind of fractal imagery that can be created using MSG processors based on IFS Generators (IFS stands for iterated function system). You can think of an IFS fractal as plotting the behavior of a chaotic dynamic system over time. Or you can ignore the mathematical description and just observe that they have a very stylized visual appearance and look cool when key-frame animated in MSG Evolver.

One of the more obscure features of Studio Artist is the ability to configure the Paint Synthesizer to work with the output of some MSG Processors to drive the Path Start Generator. For example, you could use a chaotic attractor created by one of the MSG IFS Generators to drive procedural painting in Studio Artist.

A simple application of this approach would be to use a path length of 1 and just paint in the attractor with your source brush. I've recently been exploring an alternative approach that draws lines from the previous path start point to the current path start point. There is a new path generation option in the path load path types called 'last path start lineto' that lets you do this kind of drawing. You can think of this as a way to create a fuzzy attractor. It's an alternative way to visualize a chaotic attractor and has a somewhat different aesthetic than the normal plot the individual points way of viewing them that looks more like a freeform shaded abstract sketch.

Of course things get more interesting if you start working with colored painting and more complex paint strokes. For example, you could use the output of a different MSG preset to create a colored abstract image and use this as your source image. This is a way to procedurally paint the fuzzy attractor using the colors found in the abstract colored source image. While the colors are spatially determined by their arrangement in the source image, the actual painted shape will be determined by the IFS chaotic attractor.