« Still Searching for Bob Crimi | Main | Flash to Tangible »

The Algorithmic Beauty Of Plants

For those who are interested in Lindenmayer Systems (aka L-Systems), the authorative book on the subject is 'The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants' by Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz & Aristid Lindenmayer, a book from '90 that saw its 2nd & last pressing in '96. Needless to say, it is hard to come by. Until...

Today I came across this site called Algorithmic Botany, 'the website of the Biological Modeling and Visualization research group in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Calgary'. And guess who leads the department? Professor Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz, the one and only! And what is even better, the aforementioned book is available for download, edited & updated in 2004! Another classic book available to us all! There are also other publications from the department available for perusal and download. How nice :)


Yup... it's good stuff. I've had the book for almost a decade now and still pick it up every once in a while to read. I started off programming L-Systems and algorithmic growth models in C++.

I made some feeble attempts to do the same in Flash, but the processing requirements were always too much of a load on the computer.

Here's a were-here link that's slightly dated where I offered up a bit of assistance to some readers looking into doing growth patterns...


The discussion is mostly related to the parsing of a simplified L-System string - since L-Systems just are a structured way of re-writing strings unless you are using OL or DL systems and parametric equations.

Enjoy playing around. They definitely can be fun...I wonder if you're research was based on the cell competition... :) Hehe...I'm looking into some old experiemnts I did with cellular texture synthesis (Worley algorithms and reaction diffusion systems).



Eh... better URL for that discussion (the previous one was a bit newer and referenced back to the old chat):


psst, Kristin, if you'd like a hardbound copy then there's a copy here that you're welcome to... I got introduced to it from the POV-Ray world and played a bit with writing RenderMan scenes from it, but I haven't used it for quite awhile. You're on the other side of Twin Peaks from me, right...?

In SWF it's more work, because you'd have to construct an in-memory model of a 3D world, then project that to a 2D plane for rendering... Director's Shockwave is more natural for this in a web browser, because it's easier to set up in-memory 3D scenes and it's got its own great renderer built into it. Not impossible in Flash, just more natural in Director, that's all.

Hey, it's great to hear from you Jon B! Those are great discussions, Thanks!

Could this be related to the cell challenge? I hope it is. I can't wait to see what you and Edwin cook up :-)

JD...a free book?! On L-Systems?! Of course I'll take it :-) I'd email you, but your spam filter doesn't recognize my addy. kristin at galaxygoo dot org.

I wasn't 'researching' cells when I came across this site, but I do have some ideas on 'cells', so I might have a go at it... It's been a while since I did anything of this sort of stuff in Flash, so that would be nice :)

I remember that thread well, Jon... Have my own old L-Systems implementation in FMX lying around somewhere never to be exposed (unless I build a GUI around it), hahaha... Fun thread, also to read back :)