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Balloon Experiment [Processing, Mac, Windows]

I’ve been following Manny Tan‘s for about 10 years now or so and it’s a great pleasure to introduce him to CA readers. In case you missed his work, Manny belongs to the generation of early creative code flash developers alongside people like Joshua Davis, Lia, Yugop and others. His site, uncontrol (the old version you can see here) was flooded with beautiful flash experiments that I and many other downloaded and played with over and over again. Most if not all experiments have download code button meaning Manny was always about sharing. In the recent years, Manny got a little quiet, focusing on his work at Method and most recently at Microsoft, working on projects most of you have heard of. Recently, Manny has been playing with Processing and Ballon Experiment is one of those projects, inspired by Jeff Koons.

My idea was to create a randomly generated balloon animals, looking specifically at how the joints are connected from segment to segment. Each segment  has a specific length and a specific rotation which would be nested into the next segment until the dog shape emerges. It seemed simple and straightforward enough until I started rotating each balloon segment in 3d space. I assumed all rotations would be easy to create using only the base x,y,z axis rotations but boy was I wrong. Once I started nesting the segments it became harder and harder to predict where the rotations would end up. There was no easy way to solve this and the deadline was fast approaching so I had to shelf the project until I solve the rotation issue.

Manny beautifully documents the process. Step by step, it’s wonderful to see how complex the simple things can be. Of course, the end result is beautiful and you can see each step at the time as an applet, app download for Mac/Windows + source.

Head over to balloon.uncontrol.com and have a play.

Posted on: 24/11/2010

Posted in: Mac, Processing, Windows

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