Other posts about The Source
- Project page
- The Source page on gm.studio
- The Source Contest 🚀
- The Source: Building process from start to finish
- 11 Tech facts about The Source
We are Camille Roux and Matthieu Segret, the two artists who came up with The Source. We've been friends for over 15 years, starting from our time studying computer science together in college. We both love generative art and often talk about our favorite artists, cool techniques, and interesting art history. We've always wanted to make something together.
The Source started from some basic ideas:
- have fun,
- make a project that we both enjoy,
- use our skills effectively,
- and try to work together in person as much as we can.
It took us a whole year to finish The Source. Now, let's walk through the main steps we took.
July 2022: mosaics and watercolor texture
The start of The Source goes back to July 2022, in a house in the Pyrenees, a mountain range that sits on the border between France and Spain. We had lots of brainstorming sessions which led us to an idea: what if we made mosaics, but with a watercolor texture?
Matthieu liked this idea a lot because he loves textures and things that you can feel physically. Camille was excited about the idea of using a triangular grid because he loves maths and geometry.
We spent a lot of time on Wikipedia looking at topics like "Euclidean tilings by convex regular polygons". We also started figuring out how to create watercolor textures inside triangular shapes in p5.js, using a special way of solving problems called a recursive algorithm.
August 2022: Shifting to Isometric Channels
We decided to drop the mosaic idea because it was too technically challenging. However, we stuck with the triangular grid and chose to use it to draw isometric channels.
Meanwhile, we continued to explore the watercolor texture, trying out different color palettes.
After a few weeks of work, we were quite happy with how the texture was developing. But despite spending a lot of time on the algorithm for the channels, we weren't sure about the overall composition.
November 2022: good bye channels and p5, hello grids and shaders
We were having trouble getting a satisfying composition with the channels, so we decided to abandon them. We then came up with a new idea - drawing watercolor grids with ink borders.
To improve the watercolor texture, particularly to darken the edges, we introduced GLSL code (also known as shaders, a programming language for graphic cards). At this point, we were both beginners in shaders. As we gained more skills, shaders became a larger part of our project, opening up lots of new possibilities. It was really exciting!
A big thanks to Piter Pasma who regularly answered our questions about shaders (and SDF for those in the know).
Late November: Discovering Waves
We continued our journey into the world of shaders, experimenting with our newly-acquired knowledge. This exploration sparked a fresh idea which ultimately set the course for The Source: incorporating domain warping at multiple levels.
The introduction of domain warping birthed highly organic shapes that were evocative of water. Intriguingly, our project's new working title transitioned to "Wave" at this point. We were pleasantly surprised by the success of this idea and decided to delve deeper into it.
December 2022: The Power of Shaders
Gradually, we rewrote the entire project using shaders. This enabled us to create certain types of animations.
December 2022: Euphoria Turns Into Doubt
While we were really pleased with the results, "Waves" was born out of several domain warpings that we couldn't fully control. Even though we occasionally achieved beautiful outcomes, most of the results didn't satisfy us.
Fearing that we wouldn't be able to manage the project and have enough entropy, we pragmatically decided to explore a new path: geometric grids with patterns drawn in ink or white felt-tip.
For several weeks, we dug into this new direction. We found some interesting results, but still had a preference for "Waves".
January 2023: The Return of Waves
We decided to give "Waves" another shot. We dove back into the algorithm to get more consistent results. At the same time, we began testing new domain warping techniques.
February 2023: Focusing on Details
We started to feel good about the project and decided it was time to focus on the details: the colors, the palettes, pencil sketches, spots, and the domain warpings.
March 2023: Palettes, Warps, and Sea Views
We met twice for a week in an apartment with a sea view, close to where we live. Inspired by the view, we continued exploring color palettes, domain warping, and various other details.
Here's a fun little tidbit: we used MIDI and an iPad to test color palettes more quickly.
After those busy weeks, The Source really began to take shape. It started to closely resemble the final project that you know today. Our hard work was clearly paying off!
We also used this time to perfect the animation, making it resemble a timelapse of an artist drawing this piece.
April 2023: Print Testing
While we were waiting for responses from platforms, we took the opportunity to conduct print tests. We tried out different types of paper, settings, and formats to achieve the most accurate and realistic representation possible.
May and June 2023: Preparing for Launch
In early May, we received incredible news: The Source has been selected as the upcoming Blind project by gm.studio. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to launch our project on this platform that we have long admired.
One unique aspect of gm.studio is that the curation panel remains unaware of the artist's identity, ensuring a fair and inclusive selection process.
Moreover, we are honored to be the first project to be unanimously accepted by the curation panel.
During May and June, we shifted our focus towards several crucial pre-launch tasks. We began drafting blog posts detailing our journey and insights, planning to publish them in the weeks leading up to the drop to keep our community engaged and excited.
At the same time, we were designing our communication strategy to ensure the broadest possible reach when the project goes live.
In addition, we dedicated a lot of effort to debugging and cross-browser compatibility checks. We wanted to ensure that The Source would deliver a flawless experience for everyone.
To round it all off, we engaged in regular dialogues with the platform, ironing out the details to ensure a seamless drop of The Source when the time came. It was a period of anticipation, excitement, and diligent preparation.
July 2023: The Drop to gm.studio
The moment we've been looking forward to has finally arrived – we're ready for the drop. It's an exciting time as we're about to share The Source with the world.
The long-awaited moment is finally here. The drop of The Source will take place on July 31st, exactly one year after our initial brainstorming session in the Pyrenees. The announcement kicks off with the release of an incredible teaser by gm.studio.
Leading up to the drop, we will be sharing exciting updates about the project, including new articles on this blog, a rather unique contest where you can win editions, secret features, glimpses of our prints (and our print offer), intriguing anecdotes, and much more.
We're incredibly grateful for your support and excitement. It's thrilling to imagine how you will engage with The Source and we sincerely hope it brings you as much joy as it brought us during its creation. Save the date: July 31st on gm.studio.
What's the Next Chapter?
This collaboration has changed our way of working. We have learned a lot, both technically and artistically. We have delved much deeper into the details than we would have done individually, which has allowed us to achieve an unprecedented level of quality.
In the journey ahead, you can expect to see more from both of us. We're passionate about generative art and this collaboration has only fueled that enthusiasm further. Sometimes we might be creating individually, at other times, we'll team up again, but rest assured, we're committed to pushing our creative boundaries.
Thank you for joining us on this journey.
The Source will be dropped on July 31st to gm.studio. For more information, please visit the project page and follow us on Twitter: @matthieuart & @camillerouxart.