Pixel

A Pixel. An essential building block of every digital experience. Always neglected by both users and programmers, and is noticed only when it starts to malfunction.

This project is my creative dive into the microcosm of a single Pixel – the smallest unit of digital imagery. It celebrates Pixel as the core element of any digital representation that serves as the bridge between the digital and physical worlds. It treats Pixels as both the medium and the message, and rethinks the act of coloring pixels from a merely mechanic task into a form of artistic expression.

And of course, a project named Pixel could not be written in anything else than shader code – code that talks directly to pixels.

WebGL: Pixel as the Centerpiece of the Creative Process

My inspiration for this project was drawn, surprisingly, not from existing creative works or the wonders of nature, but rather from my own exploration of code-based image generation techniques. As I started learning WebGL and GLSL shader language, I was struck by their power to push the creativity limits and harness the graphical processing power. But what struck me more, was the shift in paradigm that was needed when switching to shader code. It required abandoning the conventional notions of points, lines, shapes, paths, and instead embracing a pixel-centric mindset. Unlike other programming libraries or languages, where graphical elements are abstracted to a much higher level and where a pixel is never in your focus, GLSL interacts with individual pixels directly. Every line of code operates inside each pixel, unfolding and unleashing an entire universe within its confined space.

Thus, the code executed within a pixel is not merely a command to paint it a certain color. It is a narrative – a saga of evolution, a metaphor of life itself. Its elaborated logic simply cannot provide a result that is a solid color. This result bears marks of the long journey – its depth, texture, and richness tell us the story of countless logical battles, developments, and interactions that took place behind the scenes.

Artificial Creativity

The project explores the boundaries of artificial creativity, it’s an attempt to create a space where the human sets the stage and the computer takes the main part in the performance. Absence of preset palettes, precalculated shapes or patterns, grants the computer with freedom to select the color, placement and movement of virtual paint. Its actions are also not confined within the 1×1 boundaries of a pixel. Artificial creativity defies imposed limits, making splatters, spilling paint, applying forces, mixing colors both inside and outside the canvas defined by strict rules of computer graphics technology. And the outside-the-box picture often tells us more of a story than what is seen inside the Pixel.

In this interplay between control and chaos, logic and organic dynamics, the unpredictability of the digital medium is intentionally hyperbolized, so the entire digital space takes on a humanized quality. This imparts emotional characteristics to it, bringing it closer to our comprehension.

Technical details

The project is written in JavaScript with WebGL and GLSL ES. It utilizes no dependances other than the ones that are natively supported by most modern browsers. Fluid simulation algorithm is very heavy on calculations, thus for smooth experience, the project relies on hardware acceleration and needs WebGL 2.0 enabled.

The digital canvas uses fluid dynamics simulation to replicate the behavior of liquid paint. The dynamics and physics of the digital paint and the digital canvas do not always follow the physical laws of the real world, creating visually unexpected imagery the interplay between fluidity and structure, the unpredictable harmony of chaos and order.

Following the determination to emphasize computer’s free will in determination of the outputs, the element of chance takes the central piece. The structure of the paintings is very loose, and is majorly controlled by natural-ish forces: gravity, friction, momentum. This is layered by the invisible artist’s kinetic actions, like pendulum movements, broad sweeps and splashes, varying drip types and directions. The project also has no preset palettes. Although each pixel is centered around a certain hue, and all color choices are purely generative with a major randomness factor.

Each piece starts with an empty square canvas, which represents a digital pixel, and with every stroke and drip, a story unfolds in front of viewer’s eyes. Application of various paint types with different properties, velocity, viscosity, creates unique patterns that would not always be possible to create in a physical world. The canvas itself features the texture and shading of a real world canvas, creating yet one more parallel between the digital and physical realms.

KiloPixel

Of course, each pixel is also a part of a bigger message. Upon minting all the pieces in the collection, a KiloPixel will be generated – an image compiled of all the minted pixels.

All collectors are encouraged to explore the minted pieces of the collection and decipher the contents of the KiloPixel. The first three owners of the original Pixel mints who successfully guess the subject of the KiloPixel image, will receive the opportunity to mint KiloPixel for free. All other owners will have a chance to mint their own KiloPixel at a later time.

If you want to dive deeper into the progress of Pixel development, you can find some in-progress images here:

Pixel – Progress

In order to explore the possibilities of the final script, please follow this link:

Pixel – Live script

Specifications

Dimensions

Adaptive

Language

JavaScript
WebGL

Pixel

This art is not currently available for sale. Contact me at hi@anapet.art for custom artwork

Minting details coming soon