This piece was inspired by cherry trees blossoming in Japan, as well as Japanese ink paintings. I wanted to create a system that grew generative trees where not only were the branches random but also every single blossom. This piece borrows concepts (and code) from my vine-g experiment [source] , as well as my more recent flowerGarden piece. Each tree is drawn randomly following a set of loose rules, and each blossom is also assembled randomly. Establishing rules that resulted in attractive but varied tree structures was definitely the challenge for this piece, and was quite a bit more difficult than I had anticipated. It still draws the occasional mutated tree, but then so does nature.
Flash 8 player required. Note that I had to squish this piece to fit it in the blog. If you want to see the full size version, or just want to reload it a few times to generate new trees, you can view it here.
This experiment would not have been possible in Flash 7. It has far too much visual complexity to run well as vectors. As such, I’m utilizing my usual custom bitmap caching routine. Each frame the branches draw onto a canvas clip, and are then blitted onto a bitmap (one per tree to enable independent blurring) and immediately cleared. Likewise, the blossoms assemble themselves as vectors, then the completed flower is blitted onto the bitmap and the original vector is removed. Once a tree is complete, it’s bitmap has a blur filter with progressively higher settings applied to it to create depth of field. This progressive blurring is what causes the slight choppiness. I’m hoping to find a way to minimize that, and perhaps create a version that looks more like sumi-e style ink painting in the future. Of note, there are no bitmaps in this piece, the background is made with a set of layered alpha gradients, with a traced image of a temple – thanks to cacheAsBitmap, I can draw over it with no performance hit.
Aesthetically, this is one of my favourite Flash 8 pieces I have created so far. I’m really looking forwards to seeing what more artistic peeps do with Flash 8 when it ships.