All the guys in my group were bringing their laptop to class. They didn’t want to use the lab facilities. During the first half of the semester, in that particular class, we had to learn how to script art, and the language the teacher chose for us was AppleScript. In the labs, we only had access to Apple computers. AppleScript is the easiest scripting language in the world, really. With it, you can script the creation of artistic work in Photoshop, Illustrator... and iMagine, a for-Mac-only application (iMagine as in iMac). The guys with their laptop said no way, they didn’t want to learn a scripting language that would only serve them if they used a Mac computer. They didn’t have Apple laptops. Bottom line, the teacher let them learn processing instead. If I could go back, I would choose to learn processing too (of course, it’s never too late to learn it).
In any case, I went ahead and created all kinds of AppleScript scripts. One of them was an automated vase factory. The script was randomizing the process of creating vases in 3-D, with different shapes and different colors — in Adobe Illustrator.
In another project, much less involved, which did not involve any Bézier curve, I used AppleScript and iMagine to create inspire cards : each time the script was run, it picked a random image and a random phrase, from a bank of images and a bank of phrases, and combined them — picture and phrase — in an aesthetically pleasing way. The resulting card could be saved on disk. It was a modern, artsy, and quite interesting way of producing fortune cookies. You never knew what you were gonna get, and some of the combinations produced ah ah moments for the people who executed the script.
That script is attached. So that anyone can take a look at it, I saved it as a pdf document. If you’re working on an Apple computer, and you have iMagine, you can copy and paste the script from the pdf to an AppleScript file and run it from a directory where you have photos. All comments (my own) are in French.
I have decided to recreate that project within Drupal, as an add-on module. The idea is for a community to submit pictures and phrases, and to generate inspire cards for themselves to use and save (as nodes). This time around, the idea is to use only a portion of an image : the module must randomly pick one image, and randomly crop it, then combine that 200px by 200px portion with a phrase in an aesthetically pleasing way, using Flash to render that combination. I am half way done with creating this module, and would like to somewhat take a step back and document my process — as I am completing the module. Starting tomorrow. Credits go to Corbis for the photos that are part of the make-a-list, slow-down, get-specific and move cards on this page (these are cards that were generated while I was working in my lab at the uni). One challenge of going online with such communal project is to submit and use photos that are free of copyright restrictions...
Something worth looking into : I could use php instead of Flash to generate the cards. With php, I assume that it is fairly easy to generate a jpeg image with text in it. I am just not very familiar with the GD php library. Not yet.