View Full Version : Random Procedureal Images as streets...

09-28-2007, 09:48 AM
My daughter was googling about for images of trees (for a school project) and bumped into a site that ended up catching my attention.

Specifically this gallery of work, entitled Substrate (http://www.complexification.net/gallery/machines/substrate/index.php). Now the whole site is cool, but these images (to my eye) looked like street diagrams! (Just click on the "small" "medium" or "large" links to render a random image in your browser.)

The neat thing is, these were generated with Processing (http://processing.org/) which I actually have some experience with (and is even installed on my computer!) and is a really cool piece of software for programatically working with graphics (and can generate java applets for use on the web).

So now I have to download the Substrate code and play with it to see if I can get it to generate nice street pattern as a starting point for city maps....

(I also love the colour palette used!)

-Rob A>

09-28-2007, 10:02 AM
That's fantastic - I am definitely going to be using this in my next city map. It's got a very architectural drawing feel to it. The trick will be to get the rest of the map consistent.

have you seen/tried context free? (http://www.contextfreeart.org/)

It's the same sort of idea but looks more vesatile to program. Have a look at the galleries sectio (http://www.contextfreeart.org/gallery/view.php)n to see examples. You may have to register first though.


09-28-2007, 10:45 AM
Now that you mention it, this is a use of Processing that could probably be done in Context Free.

I had seen CF a while back, but like most of the L-system programs out there, found them kind of confusing to figure out and get the end results I want.

Processing is definitely more versatile, especially as it can respond to input, supports 3D space, and has been extended to include things like audio and video in, real time image access/processing, particle systems, physics models, and so on.

People have used it for art, games, GUI's, and even interaction with real word devices (so called physical computing). I had used it to perform some RT video processing, but played around a bit just because of the cool things you can do with it. (Just check out the Flickr processing.org pool (http://www.flickr.com/groups/processing/pool/))

-Rob A>

09-28-2007, 11:18 AM
Hey, I really like these could you tell me the program that you are using and mabey some tutorials. that would be awesome. And do you know of any filter in photoshop that I could use to get this effect.

09-28-2007, 11:35 AM
Hi Qin -

The program is called "processing" (or proce55ing) and can be found at http://processing.org

There is a section at that web site that provides 100's of small sample programs (and if I recall, most are bundled with the software installation, itself) that you can play with and modify.

-Rob A>

09-28-2007, 03:39 PM
Wow--if manageable, I see tons of uses for this application!!!! I cannot think of an easy way to do this same in any PS filter.

Good find; I look forward to seeing your "play," Rob.

10-22-2007, 02:04 PM
Well, I had the chance to play a bit with the processing sketch (which is what they call programs for Processing).

I modified it to seed cracks in the center first, to force a central "clump" of streets. I also changed the code to allow a percentage of roads (cracks) to curve.

I set up the script to randomly re-seed and fill up the page to a predefined density, then save it out and start over. Some of the more interesting outcomes (of the hundreds generated overnight) are attached.

I also initially turned off the shaders, but turned them back on, liking the look.

-Rob A>

10-22-2007, 02:40 PM
Nifty! Can it do it at a high enough resolution that you can actually get "into the map"? Ie, zoom in.

10-22-2007, 04:42 PM
Nice find, and a good addition to the toolbox.

It does look like it would work better with maps of contemporary urban centers than with those featuring older ones. The straight lines of the roads are more suitable for a city where planners and road graders have been at work. Really old streets are more likely to follow the terrain than blast right through it.

10-22-2007, 05:15 PM
Really old streets are more likely to follow the terrain than blast right through it.

depends where you live :)

I grew up in the prairies, and pretty much every street WAS straight, in every town I went to. When building on grasslands, the straightest line between two points IS a straight line :)

-Rob A>

10-22-2007, 05:29 PM
Lol....sorry Rob, Canada doesn't count as 'really old'.

Ravs :)

10-22-2007, 06:30 PM
Hey - "old" is a relative term ;)

-Rob A>

10-22-2007, 07:13 PM
Hey - "old" is a relative term ;)

-Rob A>
Yup, his relatives use it all the time. ;)