Generative Art cover
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an online version of the Manning book.
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About this Book


Within these pages, you’ll learn how to begin experimenting with generative art. We’ll explore tools and algorithms and creative approaches, and look at ways you can take ideas and develop them further. But there is one thing you won’t learn from this book, and that is how to be an “artist.”

If this book were to be just a collection of recipes for you to follow, to produce certain aesthetically pleasing results, it would be missing the point—not to mention hugely arrogant. The appreciation of art is entirely subjective, so if I were to declare that there is a right way to go about creating art, I would be in need of a slap.

Similarly, this isn’t a book about “design.” With design, the intention is to produce a visual that produces the same response in everyone who sees it—the intention (such as “street,” “retro,” or “subtle”) should be mostly unambiguous. With art, you’re still aiming to produce a response, but if that response is different in different people that doesn’t matter. It’s fine for one person to like a piece while another sneers. Even better, if one viewer loves the work, we would hope another might hate it. If we can foster such an extremity of reaction, it’d be a measure of success. Perhaps the only cardinal sin of art is to be boring.