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Generating Topo Map Lines

May 31st, 2008 · 3 Comments · Art, Digital Process, Drawing

The last few days I’ve immersed myself in Math. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to generate lines that mimic topography with the ActionScript 3 Drawing API. I studied the math that goes into bezier cubic and quadratic curves, and investigated a little bit in Sin waves. All I ended up with was a headache. I built some line generators but they didn’t really FEEL like topography.

Then I had a eureka moment.

“I’ll use the bitmapData class, blur me some bitmap data. Then I could loop through and select pixel groups by value and trace out the groups!”

Then I had another eureka moment. (Two in one day, it was amazing.)

“Someone already did this, it’s called Live Trace and it lives in Adobe Illustrator.”

So here is what I did. I took this image. Then I killed the saturation, blurred it out and tweaked the contrast to get this;

Then I ran it through Live Trace with a grayscale setting and colors set to about 25. And it came out looking a lot like a topo map.

Pretty Topo Lines

I think I could still do something siimilar in AS with the Bitmap data class, and maybe I will just to prove it to myself I can.

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Josh Chernoff // Aug 12, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    This is very impressive. I would love to see you code if you would share it.

    I think from an artistic standpoint this has a huge number of applications, not to mention all of the functioning usages like for typography.

    What about something being render in real time? Will that give your CPU a heartache ?

  • 2 tom b // Jul 18, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Cool, done some myself, generated a whole loada maps entirely using PS actions. Will mail you some and the actions if I find them.
    I’ve plans for a game using perlin noise in AS3. Would love to hear your take on the ideas. More anon, Tom B

  • 3 Sushil_Teotia // Jun 10, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I wanted to become topographist but could not since i did not do my BSc.

    But i wish i were a topographist.

    Sushil Kumar Teotia

    New Delhi, India

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