Hfour is excited to release a new generative art making system to the world.
The short answer is that we taught a computer to paint waterlilies like Monet.
The long answer is we made a generative system that uses learned brush strokes to create different components of a waterlilies painting, using a particle emission system interacting with a masking system and an interactive mask. The first step of the process involved looking at reference images, both of Monet’s waterlily paintings, and of real water lilies to see what the impressionist artist was depicting in simple paint strokes. The reflection of the sky is the base layer in the system, digitally rendered to look like paint by using a combo of shaders and filters over a sky and shadow system. The brush strokes for the lily pads were taught to the computer, and can be retrained to alter the style and effect of the painting. Foreground and background strokes were rendered differently in Monet’s canvasses, so this effect was replicated in the generative painting system. Finally, a blooming water lily emerges as a series of short brush strokes to complete the painting.
Did we mention it is interactive?
The viewer’s presence in front of the painting causes more lily pads and flowers to appear in front of them, and causes ripples in the pond’s waters to deform the paint.
The system was first exhibited at the Vancouver Art Gallery for their annual Gala fundraiser ball.
Special thanks to Samm Cooper, Tyson Villeneuve, and the team at the Vancouver Art Gallery who trusted that we could deliver our wild idea based on hand waving and a few concept sketches.