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First Algorithms

October 20, 2009

This week I’m generating my first algorithmic objects using Rhino and its associated visual scripting language Grasshopper. My goal is to create a set of light “screens” to be used to reduce light intensity impinging on a window. But it is not enough to create just a screen with a bunch of regularly placed holes. I want to place two screens, one in front of the other, such that the light passing through the pair produces something like a moiré pattern, something encaustic, like light shining through leaves.

So the goal of this experiment is not just to produce a screen object, but to experiment with a number of screen objects, with different sizes and spacings of holes, with colors applied to the inner screen surfaces to hopefully tint the light as it passes through, and with spacings and patterns of the paired screens as well. The point of using a computer here is both generative and analytical. I want to generate the screens using parametric controls and then simulate the passage of sunlight through those screens through rendering.

I’ve started out by taking a flat plate and attempting to punch holes through it… about 100 x 100 as a matter of fact, some 10,000 holes. But with this sort of generative algorithm it is easy to bog the system down! As I sit here watching the little hourglass symbol on my Rhino window I’m wondering if it’s stuck or doing something?  What alternative approaches would make this better? How long do I give this first experiment before I try a different approach?

I think I’ll start by taking a break and making some dinner.

I’ll post images soon…

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