Computational Plotting

Project 04 from 60-212, Fall 2017


I kicked off my thought process for this project thinking about this font specimen and how I liked the seemingly arbitrary selection of numbers used. I wanted to create a system that would allow the continual generation of such values and also the spatial placement of such (typographic) numbers.

Technical Approach

From an engineering point of view, I used a dynamic-grid-column drawing system to define the regions of my canvas. Then I use those predefined rectangular shapes to write numbers inside of them using the
method, but importantly, instead of drawing the fonts to the canvas, I drew them to a JAVA2D PGraphics ‘offscreen’ canvas. I remixed some of the code for this from this github project. This means all of the numbers are being drawn in my custom font, GT Walsheim, directly onto an image object instead onto the primary canvas. The reason I do this is to allow for easy distortion and warping of the pixels and elements without having to convert text to outlines and deal with bezier curves.

The next technical question was how do I get my design back out of raster format into ‘vector/object’ format, so I can use an exported PDF with the AkiDraw device? I used a method for scanning the pixels of the raster with the
method, then I’m able to ‘etch the drawing’ back out of pixels and place objects that will export in the PDF where the colour values register in certain ranges.

Code & Technologies

Evil Mad Scientist Axidraw

Note: This project, completed for 60-212: Interactivity & Computation for Creative Practice with Prof. Golan Levin, is primarily an arts-engineering exercise, not a design project. See the original course-blog documentation for this project here.

September 2016