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The story of A Scheme Not Of This World: part 2

Part 2 of the story of A Scheme Not Of This World starts with the code development and prototyping. It then looks at the test printing and the production of the first batch of one-of prints. (Part 1 is here.)

Hello, colour

Today’s post about the development of “A Scheme Not Of This World” starts with one of the very first runs of the code that combined the large and small scale blocks of code. (As the former was called “Scheme of Things” and the latter “A World Not Of This World”, you can see the remarkable leap of imagination to reach the final title.)
At the same time, I was experimenting with adding different numbers of layers within each cell. The darker the tone of the yellow and magenta cells, the more layers of content that will eventually be added. I’m also tinkering with transparency. Hand-made content will start to feature very soon…

Image 8 of part 2 of the development of ApeiroPattern generative art collection A Scheme Not Of This World by Alex Russell
Combining large- and small-scale blocks of code
Image 9 of part 2 of the development of ApeiroPattern generative art collection A Scheme Not Of This World by Alex Russell
Replacing plain colour blocks with library content

Hello, library

The next part of the “A Scheme Not Of This World” story involves starting to replace the squares of plain colour (above) with content from the library. This is a folder of a few hundred images that I made by hand at the start of the process.
There’s a few other things going on here too, not least some code that “tears” the edges of the library images. The thin lines are to help experiment with the degree of overlap of all the separate parts.

Prototyping starts

One of the very first prototypes of “A Scheme Not Of This World” where all the content came from the hand-made image library. To keep things simple at this stage, the code only worked with a few images (the final version uses hundreds).
I was also playing with scale at this stage, varying the width of the stripes. Lots still to come, including rotation and a big chunk of code that works on the colour of everything.

Image 10 of part 2 of the development of ApeiroPattern generative art collection A Scheme Not Of This World by Alex Russell
Very early “A Scheme Not Of This World” prototype
Image 11 of the development of ApeiroPattern generative art collection A Scheme Not Of This World by Alex Russell
Final “A Scheme Not Of This World” prototype

Prototyping ends

This image, from Part 2 of the story of A Scheme Not Of This World”, marks the final prototyping stage. It was one of the first ones where I felt that the code was autonomous enough to hit a sweet spot somewhere in the middle of all the different possible variations. Put another way, it was starting to make stuff I was vaguely chuffed with.
By the end of the process, there will be nearly 3000 lines of code, working with four different libraries of images.

Test printing

One of the last parts of developing “A Scheme Not Of This World” was the test printing. I spent a lot of time tinkering to get the colour to really sing out and I’m so pleased with the results.
This is one of the later test prints; there were a few further tweaks before I was happy with the settings. Each unique artwork is professionally gilceé printed on archival paper.

Image 12 of the development of ApeiroPattern generative art collection A Scheme Not Of This World by Alex Russell
“A Scheme Not Of This World” test print
Image 13 of the development of ApeiroPattern generative art collection A Scheme Not Of This World by Alex Russell
Framed proof

Test framing

As part of the test printing process for “A Scheme Not Of This World”, I framed some of the proofs to check how the artwork would look once on the wall. This is one of them, in a simple white mount.

First batch

This a photo of a few of the first batch of “A Scheme Not Of This World” prints, on sale in the shop. They’re packaged in acid-free cellophane bags for safe-keeping; orders will be sent out in environmentally-responsible cardboard packaging. The electricity powering the computer that runs the code is from 100% renewable sources.

Read more about A Scheme Not Of This World here, or browse prints from the collection in the shop.

Part 1 is here.

Image 14 of the development of ApeiroPattern generative art collection A Scheme Not Of This World by Alex Russell
The first batch of “A Scheme Not Of This World” prints

Posted by Alex Russell on 01 June 2021

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The story of A Scheme Not Of This World: part 1

Part 1 of the story of A Scheme Not Of This World covers the concept development and early coding. (Part 2 is here.)

A sketch

“A Scheme Not Of This World” began life as a little coding sketch. The code combined scans of some paintings I’d done in a sketchbook, creating a digital collage. At this stage, the code was very simple, essentially picking scans at random to fill the image. (For reasons that completely escape me, I named the code “Partial Lightning”.)

Image 1 of Part 1 of the development of ApeiroPattern generative art collection A Scheme Not Of This World by Alex Russell
“Partial Lightning” coding sketch
Image 2 of Part 1 of the development of ApeiroPattern generative art collection A Scheme Not Of This World by Alex Russell
Four hand-made collages

Collage

The next part of the story of creating “A Scheme Not Of This World” was producing a load of hand-made content for the code to work with. The bulk of these (over 500) are striped collages, four of which are shown here.

Drawing

Whilst making all the collages that featured in yesterday’s post, I was playing with ideas about how code might arrange them in a sketchbook. This little drawing turned out to be crucial. (Gaussian blurring, less so…)

Image 3 the development of ApeiroPattern generative art collection A Scheme Not Of This World by Alex Russell
Key idea drawing in sketchbook
Image 4 of Part 1 of the development of ApeiroPattern generative art collection A Scheme Not Of This World by Alex Russell
“Scheme of Things” test output

Starting to code

The code for “A Scheme Not Of This World” has two main parts: arranging stuff on a big scale and arranging stuff on a small scale (these are technical terms). The coding development began with the big scale stuff, experimenting with methods of laying out different types of content over any size of area.
I have a strange compulsion to name my code: this part is called “Scheme of Things”. It’s a line from David Bowie’s “Word On A Wing”; the code creates, er, a scheme of things (too much sharing?).

Workings-out

The second part of the “A Scheme Not Of This World” code arranges content within cells of the main grid. This bit of code is called “A World Not Of This World”, the final words of Wisława Szymborska’s poem “Map” (translated by Clare Cavanagh). (I love a map.)
The sketchbook page here shows some of my workings-out, setting up a system that models armatures. (Always show your workings-out, unless it involves a treadmill.) This was definitely the hardest part of the process.

Image 5 of the development of ApeiroPattern generative art collection A Scheme Not Of This World by Alex Russell
“A World Not Of This World” drawings and workings-out
Image 6 of Part 1 of the development of ApeiroPattern generative art collection A Scheme Not Of This World by Alex Russell
Early small-scale coding development

Armatures

To conclude part 1 of the story of A Scheme Not Of This World, here’s an output from the very early coding development for the small-scale part. The black squares will eventually become the scans of hand-made content in the collage section above. The red lines are there to help work out how the code was progressing. There’s some stuff with armatures going on; this is sort-of coding the sketchbook page I posted yesterday. I’m working in ExtentScript for this project, the Javascript extension that works inside Photoshop.

Two layers

The next step in the coding development for the small-scale part of “A Scheme Not Of This World”. There are two layers now, extending the code that featured yesterday. The grey squares eventually become images from the library of pre-prepared content. The red lines and numbers are there to test that the code is working (I like counting things almost as much as I like lists). The largest red square will become one of the little squares in the second image. If that explanation seems confusing, it’s a lot less confusing than coding the blimin’ thing was… It’ll get a bit more colourful in the next post.

Read more about A Scheme Not Of This World here, or browse prints from the collection in the shop.

Part 2 is here.

Part 7 of the development of ApeiroPattern generative art collection A Scheme Not Of This World by Alex Russell
Two-layered small-scale development

Posted by Alex Russell on 01 May 2021

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A Scheme Not Of This World: the first batch of prints

Unique giclée prints

The very first set of A Scheme Not Of This World prints are back from the printers. Following a very careful colour-proofing process, twelve giclée prints are now available in the shop. Each print is a one-off, created with a unique run of code. References from the code form part of the title, printed subtly on the bottom left side. Once I get the prints, I sign each one by hand (only slightly nervously) on the bottom right side.

All the prints are archive quality. In the first place, they are professionally gicleé printed in the UK using Canon imagePROGRAF printers and archival 12 colour LUCIA ink. In addition, the paper is acid-free Hahnemühle 310gsm Photo Rag. Finally, they are packed in an acid-free cellophane bag (within further environmentally-responsible cardboard packaging).

ApeiroPattern generative art print A Scheme Not Of This World 201130 002 by Alex Russell (section of giclée print)
A Scheme Not Of This World 201130 002 Print
ApeiroPattern generative art print A Scheme Not Of This World 201130 003 by Alex Russell (section of giclée print)
A Scheme Not Of This World 201130 003 Print

Print sizes

To begin with, A Scheme Not Of This World prints are available in three different sizes. Firstly, as roughly 36 cm square prints on A2 paper (42 x 59.4 cm). Secondly, at about 25 cm square prints of A3 paper (29.7 x 42 cm). Thirdly, as approximately 16 cm square prints on A4 paper (21 x 29.7 cm). The exact dimensions of the prints vary with each unique run of code.

If you would like a different size, please get in touch. I can adjust the code to create images of any size. Similarly, if you’d like to commission a print on a surfaces or substrates other than paper, do contact me.

One-off generative art

Every time I run the code, a unique artwork is created. The code assembles the output from a library of hand-made images. It does this using pattern-making and compositional rules from a range of different art and design practices. There are an almost-infinite number of possible outcomes.

You can read more about A Scheme Not Of This World here, and the ApeiroPattern system as a whole here.

ApeiroPattern generative art print A Scheme Not Of This World 201129 006 by Alex Russell (section of giclée print)
A Scheme Not Of This World 201129 006 Print

Posted by Alex Russell on 01 March 2021