“Painting with Turbulence” by Wang, Wang and Geist

  • ©Chuqiao Wang, Sam Wang, and Robert Geist



Entry Number: 05


    Painting with Turbulence



    In a 2012 article in Leonardo, Lior Shamir presented an image analysis of 513 works of art created by 9 well-known artists. The analysis used the Wndchrm algorithm, which is based on a large collection of numerical image content descriptors. The conclusion, surprising at first glance, was that the two artists whose work was most similar to one another were Vincent van Gogh, a post-Impressionist, and Jackson Pollock, an Abstract Expressionist. Nevertheless, in retrospect, the essence of the strong similarity can be captured in a single word, employed by Leonardo da Vinci some 500 years ago: turbulence. The goal of this project is to create a software system that provides an artist-directable framework for composing paintings that naturally carry the energy of turbulent flow. To this end, a 3D lattice-Boltzmann model is used to simulate flows with Reynolds numbers on the order of 10 million, e.g., air flow at 100 m/s, and this is coupled with a particle system generated by a commercial package, Houdini, to provide a 3D turbulent flow of paint droplets. At the user’s option, the 3D flow can be captured by an arbitrarily placed, simulated canvas.


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