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Nodebox projects by Tom de Smedt

Tom de Smedt: Supercurly / Photobjects (done with NodeBox)

NodeBox was blogged here last year, but checking in on the project there are a number of developments that warrant an update. To refresh your memory, NodeBox is a code tool for visuals based on the Python language. It is being developed by Lucas Nijs, Frederik De Bleser and Tom De Smedt, all teachers at St-Lucas Art College, Antwerp.

Taking inspiration from Processing, NodeBox lets the user get to work coding graphics using a simplified syntax, without worrying about the underlying technology. Unlike Processing, NodeBox is based on vector graphics rather than pixels. That means that it is an excellent tool for exploring 2D graphics intended for print, and in particular typographic experiments. The exported results take the form of PDF files, ready for use in Adobe Illustrator or any professional vector graphics package. NodeBox can also export Quicktime movies for animations.

The NodeBox Gallery shows off some good-looking sketches. Tom de Smedt has published two good examples: Supercurly uses the modular font Superveloz by Andreu Balius to construct organic compositions, while Photobjects is a database of images which can be queried for images connected to certain keywords. These are then used to create randomized collages of images.

NodeBox is now up to version 1.0 release candidate 7, and is sophisticated enough to count as a real production tool. Sadly it is only available for Mac OS, but the source is released under the MIT license in case anyone wants to have a go at porting it. NodeBox is based on DrawBot by Just Van Rossum.

Related links:

  • The NodeBox research wiki.
  • Trapdoor: More projects by the NodeBox team and associates.
  • Replica: Even more projects and texts by the NodeBox team and associates.
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