Procedurally Generated Landscapes

January 30, 2021

I’ve recenty been investigating the generative art field and came across this Procedurally Generated Chinese Landscape.

You can view the live project here or the source code here. The landscape is completely generated from geometric primitives, and scrolls infinitely. I wanted to explore some of the techniques used, so I made my own version inspired by the landscape in Chicago right now:

I built it with p5.js to generate the graphics, you can view the live version here. The key techniques I used are the procedurally generated buildings and the infinite scrolling effect. Performance can be very slow if objects need to be re-rendered on each frame, so the scrolling effect is done by generating windows of the landscape offscreen and then stitching them together as the scroll moves horizontally. For more detail on the implementation, you can view the relatively short source code here.

Most graphics tools emulate the physical experience of drawing and painting, but that misses some interesting opportunities to approach art differently. I like these infinitely scrolling landscapes as an example of a form of art that couldn’t be done by hand, and maybe wasn’t even imaginable, without computers.

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