Generative Design: Beyond Photoshop


An old man on the bus yesterday told me that all bunnies know something we don’t. If you dig a tunnel deep enough it’ll actually take you to Atlantis, not China. And the bus drivers there only accept juice and electricity as payment. Brim full of juice & electricity, and therefore sorted for the long Atlantis rides, are the four artists/ coders explored in the book Generative Design: Beyond Photoshop.

The Artist as Coder
Making refined art, and refining tools for artmaking, please make browser-welcome:
Lia – creator of,,
Adrian Ward – creator of,
meta – creator of
Golan Levin – creator of

These cats X-plore programming and a range of apps such as auto-illustator, java, DBN, director lingo, max and nato, which allow them to transcend software limitations and create new customised software or new ways of making art, or allow them to develop generative processes which continuously generate art according to the parameters defined by the programmer. And slowly, software itself is being seen as an artistic creation, not just a tool.

The Book in a Nutshell
Generative Design: Beyond Photoshop is broken into 4 sections, each delving into the personal processes and perspectives of each artist, then walking through a particular example of their code and showcasing its results. This involves web-site pix, graphic design, thru to snapshots from real-time apps showcasing the flexibility of the artists approach. Some of it looks fantastic, some was perhaps more fun to make than appreciate, but combined with the artists comments makes for a rewarding read.

An end-section shows the results of the artists remixing each others work and commenting on it which is a nice touch, and an accompanying website encourages readers to download and mutate the software, then swap it with others. See:×4

Why You Might Like It
– Seeks to demystify and encourage computer programming and coding for artists.
– It has code u can type out and play with
– Very interesting artist writings about their work
– Nice pix
– It’ll look better than Rugby League Week on your coffee table.

“Computers are capable of an unimaginably greater number of things than any specific piece of software might lead one to believe. I believe individual artists should dictate the possibilities of their chosen media, and not some big companies like adobe or macromedia.” – Golan Levin

“liquid crystal displays. 3d headsets. instrument panels in automobiles. electron microscopes. radar. sonar. infrared. x-ray. humanity is attempting to reinvent the optic nerve so that it may see again, and the inevitable next step will be to reinvent the creative process to free it’s imagination.” – meta

“Code shapes technology into whatever form it desires. Before code, any system was fixed by its design, no matter how flexible. With code, despite it’s structure being fixed and defined by the system on which it is executed, a new area of creativity is opened: a definition of process rather than product.” –
Adrian Ward

“What I aim to achieve with my work, in general , is to show how beautiful mathematics can be when depicted. ” – Lia

Generative Design: Beyond Photoshop is from a series titled 4×4, the others tackling photoshop and 3D: geometry and chaos, photoshop and flash: time and stasis, and photoshop and illustrator: light and dark. Costs $US49.99, and is distributed in OZ by

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