The image on the 2016 holiday card was made with a small computer program I wrote. It traces the contours of an imaginary landscape, responding to the curves and shadows it finds.

The landscape is from a 3D model of a mountain. I found a section on the side I liked and zoomed in. Rendering the 3D scene produced two images. One is like a black and white photo. The other encodes the surface normal at each point - how each bit of the mountain is angled in relation to the viewer. Bluer spots are angled more to the left; redder points more to the right. It gets greener the more it angles towards the top. It's not meant to be looked at at, just to tell the program about the topology.

The final image is 10,000 lines drawn on a white canvas. For each line, it picks a random starting point and heads off in a direction based on how the mountain is angled there. It follows the contours of the landscape, drawing darker where there is shadow - the darker parts of the black and white image.

There was a faint blue tint in the image that didn't come across well in the printing. Miss and the kids painted a little watercolor over the top to make it a little more festive.

Most of the inspiration comes from the amazing work of John Franzen, in particular each line one breath. I'm only aping the surface aesthetics of his work. I entirely omit what I find most beautiful about it, the connection to the breath and the present moment. Even ignoring that, his work is stunningly beautiful and worthy of imitation.

I was led to it by one of the leading practitioners of generative art, Anders Hoff, in particular his linetrace experiments. You can see clear evidence of homage (or thievery) here.

Here is the 3D model of the mountain (really a volcano) i used.

2016-12-14 22:15