The Persistence of Evolution. An Evolutionary Art Project: Creating artworks by evolving scripts for a ray-tracing program

Leach, J. (2007). The Persistence of Evolution. An Evolutionary Art Project: Creating artworks by evolving scripts for a ray-tracing program. Student dissertation for The Open University module M801 MSc in Software Development Research Dissertation.

Please note that this student dissertation is made available in the format that it was submitted for examination, thus the author has not been able to correct errors and/or departures from academic standards in areas such as referencing.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.00016056

Abstract

Evolutionary art is art produced by computers using genetic algorithms and similar techniques based on natural evolution. This project involved the design, implementation and evaluation of a novel evolutionary art system for creating 2D or 3D graphical images. The system uses the principles of natural evolution to ‘evolve’ scripts for the popular ray-tracing program POVRay (POVRay, n.d.). A POVRay script contains instructions for drawing a scene; it describes the forms and textures that make up the scene and how they are to be viewed. In this system, ‘child’ scripts are generated from a ‘parent’ script by replication and random mutation. The child scripts are then rendered to produce an image and the user selects one of the resulting images to become the new parent. Once finished, the system was used to examine various live issues in the field, such as which points in the creative process are evolutionary systems most useful, and what kinds of artwork are most amenable to evolution? The system was also evaluated by testers to gain feedback, both on the system itself, and on attitudes to evolutionary art in general. Informal testing and interview sessions were used to see if users like the system and whether they think it might be useful.

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