Click here for the gallery of movies and images.

Random Dali In my world of high-powered procrastination/thesis-loathing, "I want some art for some CD covers" can lead all too rapidly to "I need to write a dead code removal routine for my random art generator."

Dali is a Java application for randomly generating eye-candy. (Yeah, the name is pretentious and not particularly appropriate, but I haven't yet bothered thinking of a better one.) Like most of my goof-off projects, it's currently uncompleted and I'm not sure when I'll ever get back to it, but I've slapped it up on the Web in all its glorious half-assedness anyways.

Dali has a GUI allowing the user to preview images and movies generated via sequences of randomly chosen computations whose initial states depend on the given point in space and time. Currently, full-sized images and movies can only be rendered to PPM files -- and note that you will not be able to render anything to a file if you're running the program as an applet with the usual security precautions turned on. (Any operation that needs to access the file system will either spew a bunch of gibberish to the terminal or simply silently fail.)

Screenshot While the user has little direct control over the sequence of functions used to compute the image, the user can change the relative likelihoods with which different functions will be chosen, as well as twiddle a few parameters that determine the manner in which the different functions interact. These parameters are, of course, currently totally undocumented, and twiddling them to get "interesting" pictures is a bit of a black art.

Once the sequence of functions has been randomly chosen, the user can choose three functions in the sequence to use for the red, green, and blue channels of the final image.

  • Gallery of images and movies
  • JAR file. Running this in a Java interpreter (Java version 1.3 required) is the best way to get full functionality.
  • Sun Java Plug-in version (Java version 1.3 required). Note that browser security restrictions will probably prevent you from being able to render and view any images or movies, unless you figure out how to turn the security restrictions off.
  • Applet version (requires a browser capable of handling Java 1.3; most browsers aren't). Same deal with security restrictions.

Here's a link to Scott Davies's home page.