easter colors

Years ago in the batcave I discovered the easter colors.  


Easter comes in spring, the season of rebirth.  These colors seem to announce that rebirth so gloriously.  Here are some photos of naturally occurring easter colors taken this spring by my daughter, Ellena. 



I've been waiting on publishing this post all year because somehow it didn't feel finished.  It's strangely perfect right now in December during such dark and rainy weather we're having. 

The batcave glows and comes alive with these images projected on my movie screen.  They are so powerful, lighting up the dark winter nights better than any full spectrum light possibly could.  

It's what I need to keep my spirits up in the cold, dark northwest winter.  That and a bowl of ramen.




Here are some of the original images I captured when I discovered the easter colors back around 2011.  



The Hydra

These images were created using the input device known as the Hydra.  Three joysticks, a steering wheel and midi gear caused such an amazing color explosion like I had never before experienced.  I mapped the RGB color values of depth fog to be driven by the X, Y and Z axes of my center joystick.  

Using the Hydra I produced color combinations that I would have never dared otherwise.  I discovered amazing new worlds of color such as these easter colors.


the easter set

When Easter came around this year it occurred to me how much I needed to bring back the easter colors.  I felt compelled to celebrate the rebirth that was happening all around me.  We had a few friends over to our house for Easter brunch, so I decided to get their help creating patterns using my affine transformation fractals.  

I asked each of my friends for the following inputs:

  1. Choose any two colors.
  2. Pick a number between 1 and 10. (used as input for fractal iterations)


I entered those values into my fractal code in Unity 3D and here is what we got.  Easter eggs from the year 3 billion. 

I'm calling these shapes Fjori Stars, named after a character from a book in the game Skyrim.  

This technique was invented as a result of having only my laptop trackpad for input.  That's a lot less degrees of freedom compared to the all powerful Hydra.  Here I had to automate the animation using math instead of my own hands on joysticks and midi sliders.  It's the same simple technique from my earlier post on affine transformation fractal glitch where my WaveAnimator component translates and rotates the object on selected axes based on a Sin wave.  It's really fun to tweak the numbers slightly and see what different kinds of shapes I can get.  

The results are somewhat more reproducible than the original shapes made using the Hydra.  But there is still a healthy amount of chaos involved based on when I clear the background with the space bar and capture a screenshot with the enter key. 

Each image is a unique snowflake that couldn't ever be reproduced exactly.

The next logical step would be to build a robot to draw these designs onto real eggs.  Arduino and some stepper motors should be all we need.



easter part 2

Feather and I identified several important ways the easter set could be improved.  

We changed the background to white, chose new easter colors and put the designs onto real eggs.  Well, virtually real eggs inside of Unity 3D.  



Thus, we set out to remaster the easter set. Feather chose the colors and fractal iteration count while I grabbed screenshots.  


Feather and I are both really into the color blue.  It took a lot of self-discipline to move past blue and explore the other easter colors, but we eventually managed to do it.


Here is the complete remastered easter set:




The final step was to texture map them onto 3D egg models in Unity.  The designs work so well on the eggs, I just want to pick them up!  

Arduino powered drawing robots would be a fun project, but we'll save that for later.  The Leap Motion Controller is by far the best way to virtually interact with the eggs.  


Leap Motion Controller is for sale at Best Buy for about $70.  I've always wanted to tinker with this amazing gadget, so I went out and picked one up.  It was seamless to set up the Unity C# scripts and a bunch of great example scenes, all free to download on their website.  It only took about half an hour to get the hand controller up and running with RigidBody components added to the easter eggs.  







Leap Motion is so much fun to play with.  Here I have assigned the MagneticPinch component that comes with the included Unity C# scripts.  It senses when thumb and index finger tips are touching and assigns a dynamic spring to the nearest rigid body object.  That's the part in the movie above where I picked up the purple/blue egg.  

I can think of so many ways to use this amazing device to control elements in my animation scenes.  First order of business, I need to see what it looks like to control R, G and B fog colors using the X, Y and Z axes of the palm of my hand.  

I have finally discovered the successor to the Hydra that is fit for the mobile batcave era.  It is thrilling to imagine the new art that will arise here in the near future.