Monday, April 16, 2012


Illuztrator has been used to create an architectural scale immersive installation at Burning Man 2011, as well as exhibited at the Art Gallery of SIGGRAPH Asia 2011, in Hong Kong. The software continues to be developed!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What is Illuztrator?

Illuztrator is a sketch-based digital illustration interface designed in Processing with a two fold purpose. It is intended as both a digital illustration tool as well as a live illustration suite which emphasizes rapid generation of geometric patterns. The tool features a multiplicity of complex ‘brush‘ macros, variability in ‘brush‘ control and style as well as several geometric modes for drawing. By allowing radial as well as bilateral radial symmetrical drawing modes, in combination with the complex ‘brush‘ macros, it is possible to create highly complex Persian patterns and motifs in a live setting in a relatively short time. In addition to its geometric drawing capacity, the tool also allows for diverse calligraphic styles of writing as well.

Through a projection based setup, it is possible to use Illuztrator in a live illustration setting in order to generate new artworks based on the constructive principles and artistry of Persian geometric patterns. In this way, spectators can watch artworks being created in real-time while gaining an impression of demonstrable principles underlying the design and creation of these complex geometric patterns in an engaging and personal way. The incredible variability and control within the digital tool will allow for rapid generation of many diverse artworks in a sketch-performance setting. Toward a similar end, Illuztrator has been demonstrated in a live environment previously at the Science and Non-Duality Conference 2010 and the Earthdance Summit in Vancouver in 2010.

Persian Geometric Patterns

ILLUZTRATOR: Sketch Based Visualization of Persian Geometric Patterns

Amir Ghahary, Pooya Amini, Dr. Chris Shaw, Dr. Diane Gromala

In the culture of Persian and Turkish Sufism, the aesthetic dimensions of architecture and Persian geometric patterns have historically been an expression of a cultural experience. Traditionally the sense of ‘place’ which emerges from the visual and acoustic aesthetics encountered in these cultural spaces symbolically reflect the alam-i-mithal, or the transcendent Imaginal Realm. To this end, spiritual cultures have always fashioned tools and instruments intended to sacralize ‘space‘ and affect a sense of cultural identity. Today, electronic and digital media constitute an emerging palette by which tools can be designed in order to recapitulate traditional aesthetic cultural motifs within a modern context. Whereas in the past, artisans and master craftsman were involved in creation of geometrically complex Persian ornamental patterns for use in architecture and tapestry, today it is possible to computationally encode many of the constructive principles employed in the creation of these highly ordered geometric patterns.

Even traditionally, Persian geometric patterns have been generated by means of a kind of ‘manual algorithm’ – a well defined set of replication procedures of reflection and translation. The design of these patterns, as well as calligraphy, is a culturally representative aesthetic activity which is often synonymous with the Persian cultural heritage at large. Computational tools allow us to encode and explore the algorithmic bases for these aesthetic cultural activities as well as explore various modes of cultural expressivity through a sketch-based interface. Ultimately in this way, it is possible to identify and express a new range of aesthetic affordances which seeks to carve out a hybrid cultural space – one which expresses a repertoire of both spiritual and technological cultures.