Art From Code: Scaredy Cat

This code project aims to digitally manifest a dream world in which my cat, Tofu, is the protagonist. When run, the code generates a room featuring various furniture and fixtures that I imagine my cat would choose if decorating her own apartment. Because my cat is quite skittish, there is an interactive element in the project in which pressing the spacebar results in the appearance of a bat that scares Tofu and changes her shape. This interaction is accompanied by a text exchange between the bat and the cat.

Initially, I knew that I wanted to create a project that was light-hearted and reminiscent of my favorite books from childhood. Because of this, I came to the natural conclusion that my cat had to be included, as in my mind she has all the makings of a children’s book star. Pulling from the aesthetics of books like Goodnight Moon and The Poky Little Puppy, the scene I created features a cozy interior with the signs of a lovely life being lived. The color choices I made also leaned less towards what an item might actually look like and more towards what looked cute in the room, and again, what I think my cat might have chosen. 

To begin the work of making this scene unfold as I envisioned, I started by creating each individual element in its own sketch. By making each element as its own free-standing sketch, I was able to fine-tune the feeling and detail of each element and cultivate a style from which to pull all the elements together. When finally putting together the pieces, I played with different arrangements, different modes of interaction, and different ways to execute dialog. The final product came from my desire to make the transition to the final scene pop, surprising the viewer as Tofu is surprised by the bat.

Creating this project was an exercise in indulging the tender-hearted side of myself. At many points, centering the project around my cat felt silly or not serious enough to be coding, and yet it brought me so much joy to work on. The tedium of creating my cat using vertex point after vertex point was alleviated by the pleasure of seeing her made manifest on the screen. Having not only her likeness but her personality immortalized in this sketch is something I can truly treasure and take pride in.

Author: Haley Cummings