It’s Alive at the Disposable Film Festival

On 14th August Exploding Cinema ran the  Disposable Film Festival at Utrophia in Deptford – this gave us a fourth outing for our work-in-progress.  The photo above shows the set-up, with our webcam gathering visual data from the Exploding Cinema screen – passing it to our laptop (not in the picture) positioned to the right and the resulting artwork is projected to the left of the audience.

The two pictures below show the variety of pattern and colour arising from the ‘parasitic’ relationship of It’s Alive and the film projections of Exploding Cinema.

Programming notes on the latest version of Its Alive

This was ported from Processing to openFrameworks.

The code was expanded to allow for 3 ant colours and a egg production.  The program is ‘fed’ by a webcam which adds RGB values to a food array.  For example, if the red is greater than the green and the blue then some red food (40) is added to this square on the food grid.

if(r-g>20 && r-b>20) redfood[x][y] = CLAMP(redfood[x][y] + 40, 0, r);

If a cell contains enough food (either R, G or B) then an ant of that colour is born. Ants will randomly wander about. Each ant leaves a fading pheromone trail in its own colour.  The amount of pheremone dropped by each ant diminishes as the ant gets older. Ants that find no food will eventually die.

antage[i]--;
if(antage[i]==0) antstate[i] = 0;

Ants are attracted to pheromone trails of the other colours. Ants will almost always choose to go the route of the most pheromone. That is in the direction of the neighbouring cell where the combined total of the other two RGB pheremones is greatest. The pheremones naturally evaporate over time. I didn’t implement dispersion.

if(antstate[n]==1 && greenmone[vx][vy]+bluemone[vx][vy]>maxm){ maxm = greenmone[vx][vy]+bluemone[vx][vy]; maxd = d; }

When an ant gets to a food supply of a different colour then it is reborn – converted into a new colored ant and importantly creates ‘lays’ an egg.

Eggs will slowly make their way to the border of the screen, where they will search for a space to be deposited. The colour of the egg reflects the colour of the food supply where it was born. Also a permanent mark is made by an egg birth on the screen, a scratch, which builds up as the program goes on.

This screen grab below shows the three coloured ants coming from three colour food blocks, where ants find other food intermediate colours appear e.g. magenta trails.  This is where both red and blue ants are going back and forth between the red and blue food blocks.

Here is the screen grab at the end of the night. You can see eggs round the outside, scratches all over, some red and blue eggs moving top left and some blue ants crawling around the middle.

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