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Giuseppe Randazzo Creates Primal Patterns From Thousands Of Virtual Rocks

Randazzo can see the art in the math, like Neo looking at the code.

The first time you see Giuseppe Randazzo‘s “Stone Fields” designs, you may think he’s ripping off Andy Goldsworthy: in each image, thousands of stones and rocks are artfully arranged into circular patterns that evoke timeless nature and human creativity at once. But there’s a catch: none of the stones are real, and an algorithm did all the arranging. It’s all based on fractal math and some seriously photorealistic rendering.

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Randazzo can see the art in the math, like Neo looking at the code.

But Randazzo doesn’t just change some numbers, hit a button and see what happens. “I have a pretty clear idea of the final image, due to the generative process that is based on different kinds of scalar fields that are defined a-priori by me,” he tells Co.Design via email. In other words, he can see the art in the equations, like Neo looking at the code of the Matrix. But like any good art, it’s not completely deterministic — Randazzo says he’s often surprised at some of the details that come out of the process.

Some vital statistics: the average “Stone Fields” design contains between 4,000 and 10,000 virtual stones, each of which is made of about 512 polygons — or between 2 and 5 million polygons per image. While that might sound like it’d choke a supercomputer, Randazzo says that “a robust PC” can handle it just fine, placing the stones in about 15 minutes, and rendering them in all their eerie photorealistic glory in a matter of hours. Can you imagine hand-placing 10,000 rocks in that amount of time? A small army of Andy Goldsworthys couldn’t work that fast. Check out a selection of Randazzo’s favorite designs here — and maybe think about learning Processing or Cinder while you’re at it.

[See more “Stone Fields” at Giuseppe Randazzo’s site]

About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets.

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