All posts by Jer

PROJECT: Plumage

Project Title: Plumage
Date: Fall, 2006
Project Link:

Plumage is the first of two Flickr tools designed to decontextualize colour in an image. Here, the colours from an image are analyzed and stored in an array. The colours are then sorted and re-rendered as feathers. Each image creates a new, unique feather. Clusters of feathers are built from Flickr keywords – so we are able to see what kinds of colour sets are being associated with various words and phrases.

Because the colours are separated physically and conceptually from the original image, we are able to discover relationships that we may not have been able to otherwise see. 


Here are some things to try:

  • Try comparing the colour sets that result from different geographical locations (ie. Vancouver vs. Honolulu)
  • Try rendering feather sets from words that represent emotions (ie. love, hate, or envy). Are these colour sets what you expected?
  • What is the best keyword to use to get the most brilliantly coloured feathers? I've had success with 'tropical,fish' and 'bright,blue,sky'. If you find some particularly good combinations, please post them in the comments section below.

Plumage was built in Flash, using ActionScript 2.0. It uses Kelvin Luck's excellent Flashr wrapper. 


Project Title: Petals
Date: Fall, 2006
Project Link: 

Petals is the second of two Flickr tools designed to decontextualize colour in an image. In this case, images are retrieved from Flickr using a keyword search.Once the images are loaded, flowers are generated dynamically, each one representing a piece of the image's colour space. A simple space-filling algorithm insures that the screen is more or less evenly filled.


The end result is a floral version of the photo. The effect is quite painterly, and varies quite a lot depending on the colour and composition of the source image. The application also allows users to enter in a valid image URL – so any image can be converted into a flower patch.

Petals was built in Flash, using ActionScript 2.0. It uses Kelvin Luck's excellent Flashr wrapper. 

* Have you Petalized any of your own images? If so, please send them to me, and I'll post them in this thread for everyone to see. 

PROJECT: tree.growth

Project Title: tree.growth
Date: Fall, 2006
Project Link:

Trees are uniquely suited to being simulated using computer graphics. Indeed, since the 1970s, methods to algorithmically render trees have been developed and refined to the point at which trees seen in high-quality scenes are very nearly photorealistic.

For this project, rather than concentrating on realistic renderings, I was instead interested in how simple forms could capture the inherent 'treeness' of the real thing. 

In pursuit of this goal, I developed a customized software engine which produced vector renderings of imaginary tree species. By adjusting parameters in the program, trees could be rendered with various leaf shapes and colours, with flowers or shedding leaves, and in virtually any shape from small shrubs to towering birches. 

The software uses a modified version of Lindenmayer Systems, a variant of formal grammar used to model growth. L-Systems were developed by the Hungarian theoretical biologist Aristid Lindenmayer.



This project was originally exhibited at the ArtPool Art Research Centre in Budapest as part of the fifth workshop of the EvoNET working group on Evolutionary Music and Art.

In 2006, tree.growth was featured as part of the "Into the Woods" collection at the Digital Well Being Labs in London. 

Prints from the tree.growth project are available through the blprnt Etsty store. 

tree.growth was built in Processing. Source code is available for this project. Please contact me for details.