Drawing Machines: Pixel Labs

For my conference project, I decided to experiment with pixel manipulation in Processing. I began by scanning in images of dried plants at very high resolutions and cropping in on interesting textures. Once I compiled six images, I began experimenting with pixel manipulation code from Andrew Glassner’s Processing for Visual Artists book to create animated images where pixels were swapped with one another to create something new entirely.

I then began altering the code to sort pixels according to specific parameters to create a new image that way. I asked the code to sort the pixels by color both vertically and horizontally.

Then I experimented with code that combined multiple images. I wrote some code that was given certain parameters by which to compare the pixels at each x,y coordinate of multiple images. The pixel with the most or least of the specified parameter were then included in the final image. These were lovingly referred to as “Frankensteins”.

After experimenting with the first images for a while, I scanned in some soap bubbles to add to the mix.

At first I tried some of the previous manipulations on these new images as well as a sorting technique that we had learned during class.

I then used the same “Frankenstein” code as before to create new images that combined the first six scans with the texture of the bubbles.

By using code to create all of these images, I relinquished some power over the final result to the computer and wasn’t sure what the final product would look like. I could only control the parameters and instructions I gave the code. After all of the images had been created, I wanted to compile them somehow in a way that could display both the degradation process in some of the pixel experiments and the still images of the others. After hours of editing on my phone, I put everything together into a glitchy short film set to Two Time by Jack Stauber’s Micropop. A quick caution if you want to watch the video- it has lots of flashing images in it, so please beware!

Author: Julia Machina