Android, openFrameworks
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Ink Space – Experimental drawing tool and Rhonda tribute


Created by Zach Lieberman and part of the Android Experiments initiative, Ink Space is a experimental drawing tool which uses the accelerometer on your Android device to manipulate your drawings in 3D.

The app builds on the long history of exploring new methods of drawings on the computer, a special interest Zach has been investigating both in his practice and through his teaching. Using the mechanics of Amit Pitaru’s Rhonda (the later versions of which Zach helped with) and with kudos to Matt Deslaurier’s article drawing lines is hardInk Space allows you to create an animated line which pulses and re-draws itself (see Yellow Tail). These can be recorded and converted into an Animated Gif and shared publicly.

InkSpace was built using openFrameworks and for Android uses a makefile system, which the eclipse IDE interacts with, to compile and run your app. The app uses uses a special technique to project lines in the shader so that they are “volumentric”. This means passsing the polyline data and on the shader side and compute the screen coordinates of a “ribbon” like shape to give the line depth. This allows Zach to even thin or thicken the line based on it’s distance away from the viewer (shader source). Liekwise, since openGL on mobile devices tends to be quite slow, Zach is batching the lines into one giant VBO (vertex buffer object) which generally has huge implications for performance but the more you can put all your draw calls in one place the better on GLES. With Ink Space, Zach take the data from all the 3D lines and add them to a giant arrays of points, stroke widths, etc.

At CAN, we are especially fond of Rhonda and have eagerly hoped to see it develop further. In my recent discussions with both Amit and Zach, they mentioned how the project needed funding to move forward. Whether Ink Space is a move forward for Rhonda is questionable but is is definitely a great attempt to continue to explore how we should be drawing on the computer. We highly recommend Zach’s recent talk at Eyeo (embedded below) where he discussed, in great detail, aspirations and inspirations behind his interest in drawing.

As an artist I’m constantly thinking about new types of drawing tools, and what does drawing in the 21st century look like — ink space is research in that realm. If have a drawing basically in your hands, what does it look like to move around that drawing and experience more as a dimensional form that requires you to both draw and move.

Read more about the inspiration behind Ink Space, the process, tips on working with oF + Android and source download here.

Project Page | Zach Lieberman | Rhonda | GitHub

  • FreezeFrozen

    wish this could be ported on iOS

  • FlexMonkey

    I’ve done it :)

    I created an experimental app inspired by this. You can read about how I created it, watch a demo video and access the source code at my blog here:

  • FreezeFrozen

    I ‘m back from your blog, well, I know a very few and wont be able to do it myself :) , anyway, I have android devices to & tried allready … its a very cool experience! Have you submitted your app to the apple guys ? I think this shall fit easily in their guidelines :)

  • FlexMonkey

    Hi, mine was just a quick experiment and I’m not sure how ethical it would be to release an app so blatantly based on somebody else’s idea. I might reach out to Zach to see if he isn’t already working on an iOS port.