Generative Art: A look at process

Once again I’m revisiting the process I use for creating generative art. I recently came across this comprehensive blog post on generative art from Artnome, and it’s really inspired me to look back at how my process has evolved, and why I am drawn to this type of image making.

On to the process. I start off with a simple object. In this case I photographed some ribbons, and made them into PNGs with a transparent background. I use the procreate app for all of my processing and design.

generative art ribbongenerative art ribbongenerative art ribbon

Then I combined them into one image. I am going for a metallic look here, so I created a nice shiny background for the ribbons. My generative art is about feeding something organic and beautiful to a machine, and seeing what it spits back out at you.

generative art glitch ribbon before

Here is where the generative art begins. I take my combined image and feed it to the decim8 app. This is a fantastic app for creating random glitch effects. There are many algorithms to choose from and you can even combine different effects. When I use decim8 I go through many, many iterations until I finally decide on outcomes that I like.


Sometimes it feels like I am feeding a dollar bill into a vending machine and it keeps spitting it back out at me. Sometimes it eats my dollar bill and the whole machine crashes. But eventually I strike gold:

generative art glitch ribbon 1

I sometimes question myself. Is it really generative art? I didn’t write a bunch of code that spits out a random image. (Someday I would like to do this.) Instead it’s a negotiation between me and the computer. Will it look organic? Will it look processed? Will it look cheesy? In the end it is me, the human who decides, and the computer is just my assistant.