Vector Fields Exploration

A budding generative artist will, sooner or later, play with vector fields1.

Tyler Hobbs, one of my favourite generative artists, recently wrote a good introduction that prompted me to make that time be now. All the images in this post are created using roughly the same program based on a field populated with perlin/simplex noise and tweaking a dozen or so parameters.

By restricting the starting point of the flow lines and letting them run long in a chaotic flow field we get structured yet dynamic images:

Maintaining the high step-size through the noise field but ensuring the field still flows in roughly one direction leads to long lines quickly converging into the main paths through the field. Combine with highly saturated colors for some 80s sci-fi vibes:

Swap for filled shapes defined by short lines for some winding vine-like effects:

Extend the length of the lines defining some heavily layered shapes for some dynamic dreamscapes:

Pairing flow lines at random and layering resulting shapes can create some interesting texture with a sense of light peering through, almost like stained glass, though here using random short lines and pairing them may achieve a similar effect more simply:

Different combinations of layered semi-transparent shapes from grouping multiple flow-lines create interesting watercolor paint-like effects:

Lots more to explore, but some exciting and varied initial results from a fairly straightforward system.

  1. Also, apparently start with black and white images and eventually "discover colors" then talk or write about how hard it is to use well. Which, considering some of the choices made here, is a fair point.

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