Experiment 1: Mushrooms, Ferns and Grass

Francisco Samayoa, Isaak Shingray, Annie Zhang
Nick Puckett
Atelier II
January 28, 2019
Project Description

Our project – Mushrooms, Ferns and Grass – was inspired by the book of the same name. It is essentially an interactive painting with an ever changing aesthetic. With the user’s input, the painting shifts, adds glitch effects, changes textures, and switches colours. All with an audio track playing in the background: Pass the Hours by Toronto’s own, Mor Mor. It is supposed invoke emotion, similar to that of a psychedelic trip. With each development, the experience feels like a descent down the rabbit hole. With a name like that, how could we not be inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland?

The project was created using p5.js and utilizes PubNub. One computer is running the sketch, while two other computers are controlling the effects on screen, similar to an installation in a public space. One input is translating the background image from left to right using the mouseX and mouseY coordinates. Another input is changing the colour tint on screen using the arrow keys. The secret is in the arrangement of each function. Since we are not clearing the screen after every function, the result is an amalgamation of several functions all coalescing into one surreal painting. This was not intentional at first, but through careful experimentation we were able to birth a new creation. One better than our previous ideas.


At first we had our sights set on using Unity. It seemed like a long shot, but we felt the end justified the means. Should we use Unity, we would have a immersive 3D environment that fully utilized the book to its fullest potential. Imagine being able to walk around and interact with different mushrooms and trees. However, we hit various walls due to our inexperience. Around the halfway mark, we decided to switch over to p5.js. It was better to use what we already knew, since we realized we bit off more then we could chew. While we couldn’t create a 3D environment, we decided to approach it differently. We had a canvas to “paint a picture” essentially. From there we delegated the tasks and merged our works together into one, surreal interactive painting. In the end we simply experimented with different functions, and the result is something we’re proud of.

Photos & Video









Project Context

Van Hemert, Kyle. “These Psychedelic Paintings Were Made Entirely From Code.” Wired, Conde Nast, 10 July 2018, www.wired.com/2013/10/psychedelic-digital-paintings-made-entirely-with-code/.

This project helped guide our aesthetic for the final product. If you see the pictures of Ferris' project, they are in most ways similar to ours. The glitchy effect was caused by using a Perlin noise function, whereas we opted for more basic methods like offset functions and stacking objects in different orders. If we were to continue working on our project, we would incorporate a Perlin noise function for a more surreal effect.

“Human/AI Collaboration.” Deep Dream Generator, deepdreamgenerator.com/.

We stumbled upon this website on our quest for inspiration. The infamous Deep Dream Generator, built by a team of programmers from Google. Google's AI neural network was notorious for creating artwork that sold for thousands of dollars. The realm of possibility for AI collaboration is immense. The website offers a variety of styles to tap into, like the Deep style or more psychedelic Dream style. If we hadn't proceeded with Unity or p5 we would've utilized the website's tools to bring our vision to fruition. Based on our initial Alice in Wonderland theme, we would've experimented with the Dream style.

Leave a Reply