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 Cellular automata: Transition rules for an image by Juergen Schwietering?

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I stumbled upon this great image "blue velvet" by Juergen Schwietering back from 2002.

(I wasn't sure about uploading someone else's image and copyright, so I'd rather put up the link. Sorry for the inconvenience).

Does anyone know how it was made exactly?

From various sites I gathered that it was based on a software for modelling chemical reactions for crystal growth and probably a cellular automaton, but I couldn't find the transition rules' description.

EDIT Dec 30, 2019: Question tag removed


At his recent website there is a mail link at the bottom. Don't know if it works, but you can give it a try.

Thanks! That's what I was looking for - and did not find myself (not sure why, "Schwietering" must be my most-often entered search term of last week).

I sent Juergen Schwietering an email and got a very quick response.

His approach was not based on cellular automata (I was wrong there), it simulated crystal growth by spontaneous crystallization of regions in the plane, extending to some directions, where end points grow further, but were inhibited by other close regions.

My method was not based on chemical reactions: I start with a set of crystallization points, growing in direction of lowest-number-of-crystals in a finite neighbourhood (a ray in that direction). Randomly I chose the horizontal/vertical direction or the diagonal one, randomly extending to the opposite a very short distance.

The image below is an overlay of a time series of some hundred iterations. A pixel indicates in how many time snapshots that pixel harboured a crystal.

I'm quite satisfied with the outcome here. It looks like some underwater corals growing.

Hi there

I am the author of these images. I will create a public repo on github for the source code and also post some examples created. Currently stripping the sources down to an understandable version and some modernization as the original source code dates back to 1991 or so.

J├╝rgen Schwietering


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