John Henry Died With A Hammer In His Hands
I remember reading the John Henry legend in second grade. It stuck with me because it was so weird. Why was anyone that proud of hammering? Does the fact that he won the race signify that no machine can conquer the human spirit or the fact that he died signify that an inconcquerable spirit is a long term negative?
I don’t know, and at this point in human development it’s probably irrelevant as we either won or lost that battle a long time ago. In most disciplines. Some artists still have opinions on photography, let alone digital art. Honestly, they already have computers composing music so if this is a source of anxiety for you, you’ll want to stock up on Ativan now.
In that thread, and relating to last week’s post about the need to stock up materials for future projects, I give you art drawn by my computer:
My Pazzles cutting machines are able to make things like this if you replace the cutting blade with a pen. The trick for me is then to design the patterns for them to draw using bezier lines.
The piece above shows the primary limitation of this method. While it’s pretty straightforward to tell a human “Use a flat tipped market to collor the shapes in” anything translating a digital command to a physical action by a computer is much more complicated (anyone who’s ever cussed out a printer understands). The machine only understands lines. Even if it could hold the flat tipped marker, it would still have to be programmed exactly how to move it in linear fashion.
The result is that if you want a block of color you have to teach the machine to block them in with a large number of lines. The piece at the top does that using all straight lines. Directionality of the lines distinguishes the different zones.
This piece (also included last week) has 9 different “fill” textures. Tiny wavy lines, circles, regular lines and a variety of those things cross hatched together. It probably could never be drawn by me at the level of precision the machine could get, but it now takes the machine less time to draw than it took me to put together online.
It’s not perfect though. The machine has a weird tendency to forget to pick up the pen between shapes, which leads to some of the random lines across the page in some of these. This is weird to me because of all the problems I attribute with computers, absent mindedness isn’t one of them. Regardless, I’ll take it in return for the advantages.
I drew this one by hand. It probably took longer than any of these and, while it has block color, still is kind of clumsy. Oh well.
In addition to these patterns I developed, you can also just plug a photo in and as the computer to interpret everything itself with interesting results. Here’s my computer’s drawing of a cat:
More samples after the jump:
See all those little cross hatchy lines all over the place? That’s the computer being absent minded.