Confetti #9

Confetti abstract art 56

What are the different types of computer art? I tried to research that questions, and I was not happy with what I found. Not that the descriptions were wrong, just not what I was looking for. I just want to say that these images are “pixel first algorithmic art”.

So, let’s make up a simple top level classification. As with similar classifications, it is just an exercise, it does not really matter.

Interactive, or computer assisted art. The user interactively tells the computer what to do. Think of the old MS Paint and similar programs. You tell the computer to put a circle here and a line there as you build up your image. Photoshop is a much more sophisticated example of the same basic process.

Algorithmic art, the computer, via an algorithm or program decides where to paint the circles and lines.

I propose this classification base on process not outcome. You can draw a circle with a mouse in paint, or write a program to draw the same circle. In theory, anything that can be produced by one method can also be produced by the other. But in practice there are clear differences, a human would never have the patience to replicate the precision of an algorithm, and it is very difficult to reproduce a human’s free mouse movements with an algorithm.

Now I want to subdivide, algorithmic art. Let’s call it object first and pixel fist.

Object first algorithmic art. The program decides where to place objects on the screen, then determines which pixels are affected, and colors those pixels appropriately. If the algorithm want to generate a blue line from point A to point B, it figures out the coordinates for the screen pixels lie on the line and colors them blue.

Pixel first algorithmic art. The algorithm starts with pixel coordinates x,y, and uses those to color the pixel.  Again this is definition not process. You can draw the same blue line pixel first, just ask a slightly different question, “does pixel x,y lies on the line from A to B, if so color it blue”.

Again, in theory, everything you could create with one method, you could also create with the other. But in practice, the choice of object-first or pixel-first leads to distinctly different results. Everything I have posted so far, and for the foreseeable future, is pixel-first.

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