Monthly Archives: March 2012

Tube Map Photograms

Last week I spent a few hours in a darkroom experimenting with photograms. As the title suggests, the idea was to create a representation of the London Underground, and ultimately to show growth of the network.

On this occasion I used plasticine to show the map on the photographic paper. This was the attempt – the extent of the map is the Circle line to the north, south and west, and Bank station to the east.

London Underground Photogram

With the second photogram, to show growth of the network I exposed the scene for a short time after adding each of the lines. (This only shows basic growth, with each line being added to the image in the order that they opened.)

London Underground Photogram with growth

Both images suffered from the fact that plasticine is very sticky and finger prints ended up all of the photo paper. This could be partially reduced by placing clear perspex or similar between the plasticine and paper. The strength of plasticine also meant that the lines ended up being different widths.

For the second image the exposure times for each stage were 0.5 seconds, I think this could have been reduced so there wasn’t such a big jump in colour levels between the stages.

I’m not sure that plasticine is the right material for creating these, but am yet to come up with a better solution – something that’s just as pliable, but more solid. I will be going back to create more photograms, if anyone has any ideas or suggestions then please do say.

Conway’s Game of Life: 3D

Another MRes Processing assignment, and on this occasion – something cellular automata related.

In an effort to again try out some Processing ideas that I hadn’t used before, the application created for this is 3D.

The application itself is based on Conway’s Game of Life, the basic idea of which is “to start with a simple configuration of counters (organisms), one to a cell, then observe how it changes as you apply Conway’s ‘genetic laws’ for births, deaths, and survivals”.

The initially defined rules are:

  • Survivals. Every counter with two or three neighbouring counters survives for the next generation.
  • Deaths. Each counter with four or more neighbours dies (is removed) from overpopulation. Every counter with one neighbour or none dies from isolation.
  • Births. Each empty cell adjacent to exactly three neighbours–no more, no fewer–is a birth cell. A counter is placed on it at the next move.

For this version of it a cell’s neighbours are the 2 cells either side of it in each of the 3 planes. The rules used are:

  • Survivals – cells with 2 live neighbours will continue as they are
  • Deaths – cells with 0 or more than 4 live neighbours
  • Births – cells with 1, 3 or 4 live neighbours

In the application the dead cells are coloured green, live cells start off pink and get brighter turning yellow and then white depending on how long they’ve been alive.

As the neighbour cells being used to determine the future of each call do not wrap this can lead to the edges of the cube becoming permanently white. The two examples below show how this can, but doesn’t always, happen.

In these versions the dead cells are not drawn.