Abstract Generation

XGen is Used to Create Abstract Computer Generated Imagery

Technical author for the Arnold renderer, Lee Griggs, has created a series of spectacular images of realistic textures and colours. His work allows him to test and document Arnold’s latest features, and it is through these trials that he decided to experiment with X Gen; combining both the softwares to see what could be created.

X Gen is a powerful program that offers creative opportunities for positioning an arbitrary number of primitives, (i.e. spheres, splines or geometry that has been exported as an archive), either randomly or uniformly placed over a surface. In this way, Lee has created these abstract images, which tend to resemble dreamlike, otherworldly landscapes. He then uses an Arnold renderer (solidangle.com) to create the final image.

We asked Lee a little more about the images:

The Plus: How do you balance the creativity and the technicality required in your work?
Lee Griggs:
I am quite fortunate at the moment, in that my current job requires a bit from both areas. I am currently working as a technical author for the Arnold renderer. This means that I get to test and document its latest features. In fact, that is how my recent work with XGen came about, as I was testing how it worked with the Arnold renderer.

TP: What is your normal creative process?
Sometimes I will see something, such as a shape, texture or lighting scheme and I will see if I can recreate it in 3D. I also like to have creative ‘fun’ time where I just play around with a tool and see what happens. A lot of the time it fails miserably but just occasionally something sticks and then I explore that rabbit hole.

TP: What kind of things do you hope to create with it in the future?
I have lots of ideas but not much time. They are just vague ideas, but I want to see what happens when I play more with XGen.

TP: What’s the best piece of advice you feel you’ve given to students?
Don’t reach for the mouse first. Always try to use keyboard shortcuts for what you want to achieve.

TP: Who are your biggest inspirations?
Václav Pajkrt, Christoph Bader and Beeple are some that spring to mind. They are crazy good!