You may well have heard of a certain Grant Skinner, the Flash guru. I saw him speak at FOTB back in September last year, and one of the things he talked about was what he calls ‘passionate procrastination’. Basically, by that he means spending some time that you’d usually just waste on building something interesting. He goes for the technique of spending 20 minutes a day on passionate procrastination butn reality it’s never that easy. If you can fit it in, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you can come up with.
I spent some free time a little while ago looking at ‘generative art’. I’m no artist but code really can produce some beautiful things – just look at look at work of the likes of Joshua Davis and Erik Natzke. My attempts were merely a scratch on the surface of what you could achieve and didn’t do anything new, but I learned a lot and I enjoyed it. Here’s a few notes from my experience:
- Have a goal, don’t just code. My goal was two-fold: to produce some nice looking spiral generative art with I could make a print and to adapt it to generate in response to sound and music as a data visulatisation.
- Be influenced and inspired. There are some great people out there who’ve done some really, really cool stuff so have a look around and be inspired.
- Enjoy it. It’s called passionate procrastination for a reason, there’s no point doing it if it’s a chore.
- Learn from it. Try something new, get out of your comfort zone! Use it as an excuse to learn object-orientated Actionscript if you don’t already; learn HTML 5 and canvas, try processing – there are so many new technologies and things to try.
- Use SVN. Sounds simple but it’s a great way of storing progress as you develop your ideas and adapt your code.
- Show them and be proud. Put them up on Flickr, Deviant Art, your portfolio and tweet them. The more feedback you get, the better and visibility is always good.
I’ve created a set on Flickr of some of my favourites. Let me know what you think. I haven’t got to putting it to music yet, but fingers crossed I’ll get to that one day.
Lastly, here is some absolutely awesome inspiration from Robert Hodgin (Flight 404):