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The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants (1990) [pdf] (algorithmicbotany.org)
146 points by tomlagier 30 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 14 comments

Early in my university days, I was studying for a test in the science and engineering library. Restless, I wandered around and pulled some books at random looking for a distraction.

I found this book, and poof! My study time vanished. I started learning OpenGL just so I could try some of these things. At the time, I thought "algorithms" were something I'd always be bad at, but playing with the ideas in this book helped blunt that fear a bit. After all, I was just having fun.

opengl was definitely my gateway into being better with 3D math. I ended up writing a couple xscreensavers based on my knowledge (glplant and pulsar).

An interesting plant growth simulator for all the Deep Reinforcement Learning people: https://github.com/YasmeenVH/growspace

The growth of the plant follows Space Colonization Algorithm which have been used for rending realistic trees in games. This algorithm is based on a cloud of points which have been inspired by the grown of tree in order to provide a certain attraction to the growing branches.

I find fruit trees to be especially beautiful plants. Part of me thinks its because they've been bred by humans for beauty for centuries. Large color full fruit, interesting bark, beautiful spring flowers, ... The other part, thinks its my 50 million year old monkey brain aesthetic. Some primitive distant memory of swinging from branch to branch to get at the tasty fruit in the distant tree. And positive association with that tree.

A related and excellent book is The Computational Beauty of Nature by Gary William Flake.

My wife bought me the physical copy of this book because I love it so much.

If anyone wants an easy way to play with lsystems the way I did it was to download the non commercial version of Touchdesigner... Drop down an lsystem SOP node and then just play around with the parameters.

Wow. Two turtle geometry-related posts on the front-page today. I wonder if Logo is headed for a comeback. (fingers crossed)

Other work by both Lindenmayer and Prusinkiewicz tends to be equally accessible and equally cool, even the research publications, check it out: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=pjH7e8IAAAAJ

Note that though some features of plant morphology lend themselves beautifully to algorithmic approximation others are more difficult to study and remain poorly understood: e.g., root system architecture

Love this book. Easy to grasp. Fun to code and ever so pretty.

I used to own this book! I think MIT Press produced it. A wonderful read.

I once wrote an l-system to generate class trees to explore where the next version of Turbo Pascal 5.5 would break. It was inspired by this book.

I wonder how you'd write a deep net with one?

If you're familiar with Blender and want to try making some 3D L-systems, the Animation Nodes addon has a handy L-system node.

This book was a major influance on me when I was writing my PhD. So cool to be reminded of it.

Thanks for posting!

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