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Renders Game

Unreleased - Nov 2022

A piece centred on self-reflection and challenging my own sense of creativity

 

Behind the Work

Last updated - Nov 8th

Renders Game is an on-chain generative piece designed for screen and print. This piece was a self-reflective look at my own creative process.

An early iteration of Renders Game

An early iteration of Renders Game

The Story

Renders Game is a note to myself on creativity.

I will often believe strongly in an idea, yet, once realised, and I'm confronted with the reality of the output, it leaves me unsatisfied.

So I take it apart, find a detail that I love, and grow something new from that tiny piece. It's a constant process of discovery. Eventually, I'll find a result that feels right — but only once it's staring back at me.

The name of this piece is a tongue-in-cheek nod to Orson Scott Card's 1985 science fiction novel, Ender's Game, as well as to the countless outputs I've made during this creative process. In the book, Ender trains relentlessly. Only once he's completed his final exam (what he believes to be another simulation) does he discover that it was actually real — the final battle to save humanity.

In my own creative process, most of the steps along the path likewise feel like practise, with the satisfaction of achievement only revealing itself after the work stares back at me, complete. Hence the title of this piece.

This has been one of my longest running creative processes to date, having been re-written and re-conceived many times over.

It’s worthy of the name.

The Approach

Tools - p5.js, Javascript, 2D Canvas API

This piece treads a balance between the abstract and the literal.

The generative structure draws inspiration from cubism - procedurally generated curves of various stiffness are layered, intersected, and then broken into fragments of constantly shifting scale.

Painting each fragment in turn reveals an abstraction of the original curves and lines, viewed through the algorithm's interpretation.

Each fragment is illustrated using prominent, simple lines - a nod to the literal. These are rendered using ink-like outlines and bold, loose colour application. It draws inspiration from contemporary ink illustration, balanced against the natural precision of digital tools. Not completely organic, yet not completely digital.

The 3 core areas I focused on were:

Abstract Form

Stick to the cubist mindset - deconstruct before reconstructing.

Hand-drawn, still digital

Add a human touch, but don’t emulate analog.

Varying complexity

Lean into the reconstruction & intersections to create emurgent patterns.

The Process

A play-by-play of how each step in the process works.

1. Circle pack each layer

Variation in starting scale and min density

2. Curve-fit points

Vary curve tension across layers

3. Break curves into points

Spacing is determined by a noise map

4. Intersect & triangulate

Determine filled areas and generate triangles

5. Assign colour & detail

Sort the triangles by size, select from the largest

6. Render triangles & lines

Paint outlines, fills then strokes.