Generative Mural Designs | Skillshare Projects



Generative Mural Designs

First off, 
Thanks Josh for being a brilliant teacher. 
For a long time I have wanted to take the plunge into generative compostions, but as a non-programmer, I had no idea where to start. While this class was perfect for getting the theoretical ball rolling, more importantly became the basis of new creative ideas. I must admit I have a lot to learn sill, but now I feel I can just about butcher together some of the ideas the class has given me. 

In my project I wanted to show how I have applied what I have learned from Josh and the other class projects (which are amazing!) in my own mural workflow. I have created 2 murals so far with generative designs so will update the project with the other when I get the chance. 

The Mural


I was recently asked to work with a group of young people to create a mural for the side of this building - Whale Arts Agency in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh. The building is 1/2 art space, 1/2 community centre and the people at Whale wanted a mural as a means to change the feeling of the building to reflect the creative persuits that happened within.
The design of this mural was to be developed over a week long drop in workshop for young people, and the artwork of the young people should be directly referenced in the mural itself. The people we had turn up were quite young, aged 5 -11 so overall the project had to be pretty straight forward.


After doing this class I thought a generative composition that pulled all the young peoples work together from a drawable pool could be a good way to go for the design. 


In the workshops we created icons that represented both good and bad things about the local area. These were drawn as silhouettes, then turned in physical stencils. We then used these stencils with spraypaint to create new compositions that used all the different shapes as sketches for the mural. I also scanned these stencils in to create SVGS to go into the drawable pool. 


This was the initial output from Hype for the mural design. 

I think the assets were radomly scaled, rotated in 45degree increments and coloured from a colour pool, which I think I borrowed from another project :) . I didn't weight any of the assests, as I didnt want t any one of the young people's artwork to seem more important than that of anothers with all the imagery to be treated equally.  

The design then got editted a bit in illustrator for the client - mainly deleting a few objects and sending things back and forward.


To tie in with the brief, and for conceptual reasons that might take and age to write here, it was important that the shapes were coloured with a non-linear gradient from one colour to another in the final design. But as a sum up, the shapes were to have their own colour identity, but belong to a wider colour group as an abstract reference to the different populations that lived in Wester Hailes. As these groups crossed over (in meeting places like Whale), they created new colours that bridged the gap between them.

A perfect time to use colour field! What I really wanted but never managed to do within Hype was to have a colour pool as the original basis of the shapes colour ( an individual colour identity), then stack ontop a colourfield. I'll have to get back to tinkering.  

What I ended up doing was applying radial gradients of colour ontop of the design on Photoshop (in colour mode) ontop of the design that applied the random colour pool. This gave them the transition, but kept some of the randomness. 


I then used a trick I like to do to get the colours ready for painting. 
I use spraypaint mainly to create my murals, and unfortunately all the colours are pre-mixed.To determine the best colours to match the design, I save the design out using only the colours on the paints colour chart. 
To do this I first make a colour table from the colour chart, that only has the colours of the paint with in it.  Then save the image out of photoshop as a non-dithered gif, rememebering to load the colour table I have made of the paint chart. I then go back and match the colours to the chart.  I don't do this every time, just when I am feeling particularly anal! It's not a perfect solution, but is a good place to start. 

After a little time in the shop looking at the colours (they always seem to look totally different) my gif suggested, I settled on these for the acutal painting. This is MTN 94 paint.  




Once I have made a scale version of the mural on photoshop, I am ready to transfer the design onto the wall. For this one, I wanted to keep as much of the line quality as possible. To keep it accurate, I grided the design on into 1m squares. Putting the wood paneling of the wall on the design also helped keep my right on the transfer. 

After that it is just painting. 6 long days later the mural was finished! 
On the last day we got some beautiful sunny weather - very rare for Edinburgh even in summer!




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