numeric photography problem set 9
golan levin, 20 november 1998

this week i set out to improve my problem-6 applet, PUTTYPIX, which had been designed to suggest or simulate silly putty. puttypix worked by assembling a small set of atomic images according to the rules of a rudimentary shape grammar. although the results achieved a moderate degree of seamless continuity, they nonetheless suffered from an overly-rectilinear suprapattern imposed by their own grid. in this week's amendments, i decided to dispense with the shape grammar altogether and turned instead to a promising if computationally-expensive model based on implicit surfaces, or metaballs.

my first attempt at a revision using metaballs, PUTTYPIX2, was, despite substantial changes to both its interaction and graphics models, frustratingly similar in percept to the original puttypix. in order to achieve a more malleable facsimile of blobbiness, i sensed that i would have to additionally toss out my method of straightforwardly abutting constituent images. instead, i sought a wholly pixel-based way of combining metaballs with photographic source material. I am indebted to my colleagues rich devaul and ben fry for their brainstorming assistance in the course of developing my second attempt, BLOBBY.

all blobs are in some way reminiscent of flesh. as blobby developed it began to take on its own life as an organiform mass of undifferentiated animal matter. its subject is no longer silly putty, but the subject of silly putty.