What Is Computational Painting?

Computational painting is a form of artmaking that involves using physical media alongside computer technology to create images that go beyond what the two media alone can do.

It is a combination of graphics programming, drawing and kinetic design. It is like painting with visual effects.

Through a chosen media or physical object, the artist streams in a live feed of the image or data generated during the artmaking session into a software that then processes this data into a computer VFX the artist created themselves.

This can be done a variety of ways using any physical media, different computer hardware and various CG software.

This opens up a wealth of artistic opportunity through experimenting with different media and writing custom graphics algorithms - expanding traditionally still media into time and space:

--> Lines in still drawings can be animated based on their properties written by the artist through code.

-->Marks can be infused with real-time data.

-->Mathematical and gestural expressions can be used within the same context - a line drawn through code or pen, you decide and mix between them.

--> The freedom to choose what to draw or paint with as well as how that media is then processed into an effect; choose the physical, the hardware used to process, the software used to code and then how that software processes the physical data.

These kinetic images can be used as still, video or installation artwork and can be directly developed from a humble sketch into a full piece in a similar process to traditional painting.

You can paint with code and code with paint.

An example of a Computational Painting being made using OpenFrameworks [Shadow Portrait 1 - 2019].