A big hairy idea

A big hairy idea

A big hairy idea

#49 – A Big Hairy Idea
Static rendering


Fall is upon us in Sydney, and as I am back from an evening NRL game, I can’t believe we still have 22 degrees Celsius in the streets, on a 30th of April. This month has been the hottest since records began in Australia, kind of nice but worrying at the same time.

What are we doing to our planet? Can we still seriously believe that it will swallow it all, and that the impact of human activities is negligible? My guts tell me not, and facts are piling up to support this idea, from the withdrawal of glaciers in the Himalayas to the whitening of corals for the first time ever in the bay of Sydney.

Hello?… It’s never too late to wake up, and do something before the shit hits the fan … or is it? Even so, that’s rooted deep in our nature: This inextinguible belief that we can still spawn one big hairy idea … and save the day. Well mates, let’s do it now, shall we?

Special tribute also to French illustrator Michel Granger, whose Earth related paintings have been often used by Jean-Michel Jarre as main cover artworks.


Techniques: Processing P5, FX Photo Studio Pro, Pixelmator

Making of:

I forked a very nice piece of code from Jerome Herr (kudos buddy, and hello to Luxembourg!), and added the following features:

  • Define boids color from pixels of an image loaded in memory or in the background. This allowed me to load a graphic image of planet Earth
  • Tween boids color to a specific target hue. I arbitrarily chose full RED here (255)

The rest was just a question of fiddling with the various parameters of the application: Step size, noise scale, field intensity, alpha, etc. I could play for hours with this sandbox, and urge anyone to do so.


(Still struggling with CP’s infinite loop filter)

First I prepared a suitable Earth in Pixelmator:

Then I rendered in P5, several times, until I had a crush:

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 11.06.55 PM



A big hairy idea

The Processing P5 raw code:


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