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Don Relyea 
Home | Art Projects| Hair Particle Drawing

Big Hairy Bush a generative portrait of President George Dubya Bush by Don Relyea(click to enlarge)

New! Create your own Hairy Drawings with my hair particle drawing generator! (69k shockwave)! Or you can generate hair drawings from application versions that allow you pull local files and save your output.

Windows exe version (2.3 mb)
OSX Version (2.3 mb) (G5 mac and Up, local files not supported on all G4)

Images with good contrast work best, I have provided some rudimentary controls that allow you to lighten lights, darken darks and bump contrast. I may add more controls in the future. You can press the load image button which will allow you to copy and paste the url of any image on the internet to create a hair particle drawing of. Be patient the hair may take several minutes to grow into a recognizable image. Enjoy!

Small version of Hairy Bush (188k shockwave generative animated drawing)!

Nov 6th 2008- Jan. 18th 2009
DIGITALEYES 2008: New Esthetic Dimensions in Computer Visualization Technology featuring the Siggraph Travelling Art Show. Hair particle drawing project (Hairy Bush) is at Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery Los Angeles CA.

June-July 2008
A New Perspective on Politics
Hair particle drawing project (Hairy Bush) is at Artworks! Gallery New Bedford MA : June 9th- July 19.

May 2008
Something Made Easy: 500x Annual Open Invitational
Big Hairy Bush II is at the 500x Annual Open Show Dallas TX : May 10 - May 31.

October 2007
Big Hairy Bush II was accepted into the Art of Digital Show, in San Diego, California! The show was juried by Mr. Neal Benezra, director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). It runs October 6 to November 11, 2007 at the Lyceum Theatre Gallery, located in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter. The Lyceum Theatre Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on the weekends.

August 2007
Big Hairy Bush was accepted into the Sigraph 2007 Art Gallery in San Diego! August 5-9th in San Diego CA. A photo of the actual print is here. Print 1/30 is now part of the Siggraph 2007 Travelling Art Show. It will go on the road with this show for 2 years.

Hair Particle Drawing Project - OpenFrameWorks version

meret oppenheim sketch openframeworks Meret Oppenheim Sketch openframeworks meret oppenheim ksetch openframeworks
various Sketches of Meret Oppenheim in OF
Click on the above thumbnails to enlarge

The new openframworks version of the hair particle drawing project with some sample source code is here!

110th Congressional Assembly, worst ever!

The 110th Congressional assembly has the worst job approval rating since pollsters have been able to track such things. So this particular congressional leadership has been immortalized in infamy with the hair particle drawing project.

This series was done in openframeworks.

Adam PutnamChris Van Hollen Jrdebbie wasserman shultzdiana deGetteEd Pastor
eric cantorGK Butterfieldjanice schakowskyjohn boehnerjohn carter
john larsonjohn lewisjohn tannerjoseph crowleykay grainger
maxine waters nancy pelosi rahm emanueljames clyburnrosa delauro
roy bluntsteny hoyerthaddeus mcottertom colexavier becerra

I have uploaded these images to my Flickr account so be sure to check out the set!

Hair Particle drawing algorithm

The hair particle drawing project is a drawing engine based around a particle fx engine I wrote for a game. I modified the particles to behave like growing hair. Hair growing in darker areas grows longer, thicker and maintains a tighter curl. This is to preserve some of the detail that would get overgrown otherwise. Hair will continue to grow over time. This portrait of President Bush was grown over a weekend.

I write my own software to create generative art and video.

The hair particle drawing project was originally intended to be and still is a component of a larger ongoing project. It is based around a particle fx engine I wrote for a game some time ago. I altered the particles to behave like growing hair. In the early stages of development the particles rendered long and flowing hair with loose curls. For the Big Hairy Bush application hair with a tighter more erratic curl was required. In general, hair growing in darker areas grows longer, thicker and maintains a tighter curl. This is to preserve some of the detail that would get overgrown otherwise. Hair will continue to grow over time. This portrait of President Bush was grown over a weekend.

Big Hairy Bush is intended to be non-partisan and humorous. It is my belief that all career politicians have something unattractive that they hide. Intentional or not the nature of their careers require compromise and back door dealing. President Bush was a convenient subject for this exercise but it is certainly possible to replace Bush with any career politician from either political party.

The beauty industry and the advertising industry have conditioned us to hide or cover up so called "unwanted hair" such as back hair, pubic hair, arm pit hair and leg hair. We cover it up, shave it and wax it off. With the proliferation of mass media it is desirable to white wash the unattractive traits of politicians. Using hair as a metaphor for that which is undesirable, what would politicians look like if they did not cover up their unwanted hair?

Technical Brief:
The Big Hairy Bush print was generated by a custom particle fx application written in image lingo within Adobe Director.

A small gif thumbnail of the President was downloaded and is used by the application for reference. The gif is parsed by the application at runtime grayscale index color values are stored in a lookup table. A particle manager was coded to prevent the application from overloading. The particle manager references the lookup table and based on the lookup table data it assigns a group of hair particles to various locations in the canvas area and initializes them.

Once a particle has been initialized it begins to draw itself maintaining a variety of vectors including, scale, opacity, mutators, growth direction and life span. Mutators are passed to the particles to cause them to grow gray or more kinky. When a particle has reached the end of its life span it disposes of itself and messages the particle manager that it is done drawing.

hairy bush II at art of the digital show in San Diego
Hye, Don and "Hairy Bush II" at the Art of Digital Show in San Diego CA

Hair Delay gone tomorrow

I went ahead and started rendering out some bigger hair particle drawing project images since this project will most likely get some attention from Siggraph. The above drawing is of former Republican majority leader Tom Delay. The photo is from a mug shot. I have a series of Republicans in mind and then I will probably get to some Democrats too. I am not a big supporter of any political party. It is sad and frustrating but I really feel that the average American gets little representation by either political party.

hair delay gone tomorrow
Hairy Bush II (click to enlarge 800k jpeg)

hair delay gone tomorrow
Hairy Dick Cheney (click to enlarge 800k jpeg)



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