Grow Yer Own Mountains!

(Above) I India Inked the original image from the program. That had the effect of darkening the colors and applying the fine scratches (engraving pattern) to it. I always India Ink everything. It's almost as natural as framing.

Thanks to my fellow Computer Artist and software enthusiast, Dan Riles, I discovered Capow.

(From the website:)
CAPOW (Cellular Automata for Electric Power simulation) is a research project of Rudy Rucker's which was born under the CAMCOS program at San Jose State University. Since 1994 CAPOW has been exploring new kinds of continuous-valued cellular automata.

There's more of that sort of thing on the website. It's a fine example of how the graphical study of mathematics and other scientific subjects can have artistic applications that are completely outside the scope of the developer's initial intentions for the software. I'm sure anyone, art-minded or science-minded, appreciates the interesting graphics, but I get the feeling the program wasn't written exclusively for making artwork. That makes the program even cooler in my mind.

I've tried other cellular automata programs. Apart from the freaky name, there hasn't been anything really exciting about them until I found this program. I guess because it's not advertised as a computer art type program like fractals are, it never even showed up on my radar screen (I have one).

The program can be fun just to watch; especially when you can view it in split screen with the wave graph at the bottom of the screen "drawing" the graphics as they flow out of it. There's a real mechanical feel to this program, which is something I like. Art machines should be dirty beasts of steel dripping hydraulic fluid (you knew that, right?).

It's a Windows program but works just fine on Linux using the Wine emulator. I haven't been able to get it to capture and copy an image to the clipboard, but taking a screen shot is almost just as easy, and that's the technique I've been using.

What else? I don't understand much of any of the techo-options. Just like fractals, you don't need any math skills, all you need are a pair of eyes and a healthy amount of curiosity to make you wander through all the menu options in search of something that works well.

There's something in there about viewing with 3-D glasses. This is pretty freaky piece of software.

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