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List of Generative Art and Live Coding Tools (opinionatedguide.github.io)
144 points by vegadw 30 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 13 comments

Generative art is an interesting niche. It has some points of contact with the demoscene of the olden days (the eyecandy part mostly) but the emphasis seems to be on easier to use tools (like Processing), maybe even aimed at people new to coding, as opposed to the technical depth and proficiency most appreciated on the demoscene.

Also I think most generative art works I've seen consist of a single scene, as opposed to a demoscene production that has more of a music video clip vibe.

For sure. This list started as a collection of links for a bunch of my friends that are into both art and storytelling but none of them have the programming experience I have so I tried to link the more user-friendly stuff up top and get generally more esoteric going down, though I haven't gone though and really enforced that ideal into the list yet. I think there's an interesting balancing act going on here as some of the appeal of these tools is their inherit complexity and strangeness acting as a sort of creative propellant as it puts you into a different mindset. I think that tools that are on the surface approachable but still let the user get into the really deep aspects have a lot more potential to allow for artistic revolutions (for lack of a better way to put it).

I also don't think it has to be just for newcomers as Processing and the like try to be, For example- the multiple Rust frameworks on the page.

Honestly I'm not even super into the generative art scene much beyond being a general nerd and observer. I am really into generative music, with tools like Orca [1], the various modules in VCV Rack [2] being my go-tos but I still love looking into and toying with other generative and/or live coding music tools too.

I think there's a certain nostalgia for the demoscene that while I completely understand, clouds the reality that it was at it's core about pushing hardware beyond it's limits for the sake of creative uses. If we have all the compute we could ever need now then I think it's great that people who may have been into the demo scene are instead able to spend their time on making cool, usable tools and art with those tools. Besides, for the people that crave the highly technical, it's not like esolangs or ioccc or making Quines etc. are going anywhere. Plus, the demo scene isn't even truly dead, if you look around there's definitely still plenty of the same old-school stuff going on. Some of it on the old hardware of the era, some of it pushing today's micros or even beefy x86 systems to their limits.

[1] https://github.com/hundredrabbits/Orca [2] https://library.vcvrack.com/?query=&brand=&tag=Random&licens...

How long have you been collecting this list?

There's a handful of projects like tooll.io that seem to have been dropped years ago.

Also thanks a lot for sharing, this is actually really relevant to me professionally right now.

A fair while, probably about 3 years? But the majority of it I re-researched for making this page in the last week or so.

I'm keeping some of those older projects up despite their age and development status as I think they're still useful tools, though I haven't used everything on the page personally so I could be wrong.

There's also a ton of projects and links I didn't include because I thought the learning curve was too high to be of use to anyone but the people that wrote the code to begin with or because the art they make is just sorta ugly (The guide is opinionated after all)

Some of the other livecode projects and tools I found along the way wound up in https://opinionatedguide.github.io#/Music/m8-musicsoft but I haven't really done anything but drop links into that page yet.

> But the majority of it I re-researched for making this page in the last week or so.

I'd love to know what terms you use or where you find these. I'd assumed that a list like this comes from posts in various communities that then get buried and are eventually very hard to find again.

Stuff like the city-generator I've seen in game dev circles, but things like tooll.io don't seem to have been advertised much the authors. Googling it led to some youtube videos and some posts on places like reddit/hn with little traction. It's stuff like this that I would have no idea on how to find it.

I'd love to see the other list of all the projects you have even if they're just links in a txt file.

Keeping curated lists like this seems to be growing more important given how search isn't what it used to be 10 or 5 years ago - things seem to get deleted, or buried under so much more new information.

If it's remotely technical looking for for an Awesome-whatever page on github is always a good start. From there, I usually look for relevant subreddits and see if they have active wikis. Generally you just need to find an 'in' to where the community in question is most active (or was before it died) and links will snowball until you've covered most of what's available. Either way there's often a lot of 'I am now on page 104 of 321' on a github search, itch.io list, etc. so there's still a large amount of manual labor.

There's also a bit that comes just from having varied experiences and thinking about how things are related, for example, the aforementioned ORCA has an entry [1] on Esolangs.org, so knowing that I can also add the term esolang to my keywords for searches and mix-and-match relevant keywords until I've covered most things.

Of course, the best resource is someone that's already passionate about whatever you're looking for. I run a chat on Telegram mostly about Modular Music [2] (VCV Rack, Eurorack, etc) but we talk about tools like ORCA, Pure Data, FoxDot, SonicPi, etc. and that's led to finding a lot of links too.

[1] https://esolangs.org/wiki/Orca [2] https://t.me/vcvrackchat

It misses the program Debris (or Visual Debris?). It'd use a search engine such as Google Images to download pictures and blend them with each other. The result was a unique, colorful experience which was unique every time, where you could look into and try to figure out what is included (it had a NSFW filter, and also allowed you to include search words). You could save the result to a lossy format, but you could also edit the canvas to remove pictures it found. IIRC it was made by a NullSoft employee who also worked on other visualization plugins in WinAmp (unfortunately I don't have a link!). I used it in the early '00s, though it was Windows only. I don't remember if I got it to work on Wine.

Nowadays I have Bing Wallpaper on most of my machines. Every day I get a curated, unique wallpaper of the day (the Bing background of the day). Sometimes I like it, sometimes not. No matter which machine I'm on though, the wallpaper is the same for every machine. I'm not a Bing user other than that but I love this Bing feature!

[EDIT]I found it! Debris Visual Art [1][/EDIT]

[1] https://fileforum.com/detail/Debris-Visual-Art/1190339066/1

Hmm, I actually thought I already had that. Thanks for the catch! To be honest I'm not quite sure what category to put it under though?

Also missing shadertoy. https://www.shadertoy.com/

It's there, just at the VERY bottom as I deemed it more of a site of examples than a site to make shaders directly. I think you're right though that maybe that was a bad call.

Love the list. Only bit of feedback would be to improve the UI a bit. Instead of a table, use a grid of cards? Or list of cards? Adding filters would also be useful.

more importantly, don't use 1920x1080 images for thumbnails

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