Virgina Woolf drawing strategy

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    The AxiDraw is a great piece of hardware.

    I was looking at Virginia Woolf portrait in the examples ( [link]( “link”) ) and I am wondering what is the strategy used here.

    I guess that the input image is the portrait done by George Charles Beresford in 1902 ( [link]( “link”) ).

    I had a look at the SVG file ; it contains ~11 656 lines (11 656 path with a single segment).
    I tried StippleGen but it is limited to 10 000 stipples and gets really hard to work with that many points.

    Was it generated with StippleGen ?
    (I thought that the portrait may have been generated from a TSP stopped very quick [ie. when not optimal but visually appealing]).

    Would you have some pointers to replicate what has been done for Virginia Woolf ?

    Great thanks !

    Note : I received (in France) my AxiDraw V3 in 5 days ! Props for that too !

    Edit: Stipples were double counted.

    Windell Oskay

    Yes, that is the correct source image.

    This was not made by StippleGen, but with a similar program that we have written in Processing, which creates “string art” style drawings like that. We have not yet released the software — we are still tweaking it and it’s pretty rough around the edges — but if you (or any other AxiDraw owner) would like to give it a try at this early stage, we would be happy to put together a beta version that you can try out. Please use our contact form to make the request.

    Also, secret StippleGen feature: press the ‘x’ key to increase the allowable stipple count. Just beware that things are slower (and less stable) with higher stipple count.


    For anyone wanting to give this a shot, I’ve managed to reproduce very similar drawings by using the following algorithm:
    * divide the circle into x equal parts
    * pick a constant stroke length
    * pick a point that’s got the most black. This is your first “current point”
    * then for each current point:
    ** try the x equally spaced directions from the current point
    ** pick the one with most black in the image
    ** subtract the black from the copy of the image in memory
    ** set the new current point
    ** repeat for the chosen number of paths

    The result can produce some lovely-looking results, but it’s very random – very dependent on the stroke length, number of angles you try, and so on. The randomness is part of the charm.

    In the Woolf image, part of the charm comes from the partial exploration – the line at the bottom follows one of the dress creases in the original image.

    This is not something which will produce reliable results – it’s more something to experiment with.

    While the Axidraw algorithm *may* differ from this, given the similarity of the results I’ve received to the image they supply, I’m reasonably confident that this is similar to what they’re doing.

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