Lines are bent and shaded. There are no wrong turns.
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Bent is generative art. Generative art is created by combining code with randomness. Randomness provides endless possibilities for what the final output will look like, but the number of mints written to the blockchain is finite (1023). The outputs emerge from a combination of features, often with results unimagined by the artist. In that sense, the art is collaborative with the minter. The minter brings the transaction hash, which pulls only one specific configuration from the sea of infinite possibilities. That mint is their catch, as much as it’s mine, and neither of us knew what would result before the token was generated. That is the excitement (and the terror) of generative art.
This is a work in progress and will be updated soon.
This article has two main sections
- Bent Construction
- Bent Features
1. Bent Construction
This section explains how Bent is constructed, from a blank canvas to a final output. The process is the same for each Bent output, only the features change (size, color, bend rules, etc).
Bent follows a simple premise: lines are bent and shaded. But the underlying structure is a more complex. To create Bent, a grid of triangles is selectively split into smaller triangles. Lines are added to each triangular region to create tiles, then bent. Adjusting the shade by darkening some lines brings the structure to life. The multiple scales and bending patters creates interesting overlaps, almost like bent ribbons with Escher-like turns, or cityscapes, or waterfalls. What do you see?
The entire process of the sketch is stored on the blockchain, making each Bent output an interactive piece in live view. Each piece is interactive in the live view. The final results are shown by default, but the viewer can use the number keys 1-7 or left/right arrow keys to explore the stages of sketch construction (1-grid, 2-divide, 3-tile, 4-bend, 5-shade, 6-color, 7-texture). I really enjoy sharing behind-the-scenes and how-to aspects of my work, so I really wanted to build that capability into the output itself. Art doesn’t just appear on the screen. It’s hard work. But artmaking is for normal people and involves skills that can be learned (paraphrased from the book Art & Fear). This is one way I hope to show that art isn’t magic and encourage people to make art for themselves, not just by showing them the final result, but by sharing in the process.
Each of the seven steps will be explained using Bent #0 as an example. Bent #0 live view.
Step 1 - Isometric Grid
First, an isometric grid of equilateral triangles is created. The size of this grid can vary. In this case, the width of the grid is 3.
Stel 1 - Isometric Grid
Step 2 - Divide Triangles
Next, some grid triangles are split into four smaller triangles, and some of those triangles can be split into four smaller triangles. This splitting or dividing happens based on various rules such as random, distance from center, x/y location, noise field, etc. In this example, cells toward the center are less likely to be divided.
Step 3 - Tile Lines
Next, each triangular region is treated as a tile, within which lines are draw. The smallest triangles get only one Primary line. The next size up gets three lines (two Primary lines that align with the Primary lines in the smaller triangles plus one more Secondary line in between). The next size up gets five lines. Odd numbered lines (1/3/5) are the Primary lines. Each tile will always have a Primary lines. Even numbered lines (2/4) share line widths and colors and are Secondary lines. They’re not present in the smallest triangular regions. This method creates multiscale tiles. Line widths will vary.
Step 4 - Bend
Here’s where the magic starts. The lines are bent, creating interesting patterns and detail. Bending follows various rules, similar to the triangular splitting selection process above (random, distance from center, x/y location, noise field, etc).
Step 5 - Shade
Before color and texture are applied, there is one small, final step. Either the vertical lines or angular lines are slightly shaded (darkened). This provides depth and creates three-dimensional structure.
Step 6 - Color
Color is applied to line segments and background based on procedural, but selective, rules. In this example, the Primary thick lines are blue, with a slight gradient from light blue to dark blue from left to right, the supporting Secondary thin line is white, and the background is a dark blue.
Step 7 - Texture
Fine lines are of texture are added as the final step. This adds a realness and a new level of depth to the outputs. It also helps ease and breakup the pattern of the lines and lets the eye rest a bit.
Each minted output will generate these seven steps, all unique to the final result. Collectors and viewers are encouraged to explore their mints and others to see how Bent is constructed.
2. Bent Features
Bent ranges from very large (Jumbo) to very small (Tiny). Sizes are on a continuum and sorted into five groups: Jumbo, Large, Medium, Small, and Tiny. The extreme sizes (Jumbo/Tiny) are more uncommon.
Background color is either light or dark, and sometimes very rarely a color. Light and dark aren’t pure white or black, they’re typically the same hue as the foreground line color, just much darker or lighter than the primary lines and less saturated. If there are two different line colors (Pair) or if the line color is a gradient, then the light and dark background are light and dark shades of gray.
There are numerous different for lines colors:
- Ink and Bone are black and white. These are rare.
- Single colors (Ruby-red, Crush-orange, Medallion-yellow, Juniper-green, Wave-teal, Atomosphere-blue, Jam-purple)
- Gradients (Tiger - orange/red to purple, Ember - orange/red to blue, Mood - yellow to cool, Burst - warm gradient, Crest - teal to blue/purle, Autumn - warm to green, Lagoon - cool to green)
- Rainbow is a hue gradient through the rainbow from yellow to blue and is very rare.
- Pair is two different line colors
The hue, saturation, and lightness of each of these line colors can also be slightly adjusted as a result of the deterministic process generated by the hash - so some colors will be more colorful and some more muted, some brighter and some darker.
Bent - Charity
25% of minting proceeds will be donated to Community First Village using the services of Endaoment. Community First Village provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness in Austin, TX. Learn more here.