Drifting Dreams

Licia He , 2023

Drifting Dreams is a long-form generative art program by Licia He. It was released through COMPANIONS OF CODE, an online and IRL (London & New York) exhibition in 2023. The exhibition is curated by Micol, hosted by Vertical Crypto Art and The NFT Gallery.

100% of the artist's proceeds (on both primary and secondary sales) were (and will continue to be) donated to three organizations supporting female and non-binary technologists, including AnitaB.org, Code/Art , and Girls Who Code.

Follow @Licia_He for project updates.

Drifting Dreams is a generative art system that captures bittersweet moments along journeys to dreams.

You can feel the river rushing, the wind screaming, and thunder lighting up the sky: the storm is about to take over. But if you look closer, it is also a wonderland filled with dazzling rainbows, comforting warmth, and hope.

It is a journey worth remembering.

This project page documents Drifting Dreams with many (lazy-loading) examples in the following orders:

Sample Output 🗘

Drifting Dreams is a long-form generative art system that explores the concept of chaotic repetition. As repetitive soft curves gradually fill the space to construct the main view, they expand, distort, and mutate to break the controlled composition. Nevertheless, despite these breaking-free attempts, a clock-like rigid structure will always govern the composition.

There are two major compositional elements in Drifting Dreams: Curves and Lines

There are five major types of curves in the Drifting Dreams system. The [Mode] feature denotes the type of curves used. The following illustrations showcase the key characteristics of each type of curve.

The thickness of the curve varies based on its distance to the center. In the standard composition, curves closer to the edge of the image will be thicker than curves closer to the center. The thickness setting is reversed if a special mode [Reverse Mode] is enabled.

Base Texture 🗘

The rendering of Drifting Dreams is inspired by colored pencils. Instead of realistically simulating the colored pencil texture, I aim to capture the essence of this versatile medium by overlaying texture-treated dots and lines.

Grid Texture

[Grid mode] is a special mode in Drifting Dreams. If this mode is enabled, a faint grid system will be generated in the background.

Section Texture 🗘

The composition of Drifting Dreams is governed by a clock-like structure. Each clock section has its unique texture made with a combination of dots, curves, and lines. If a special mode called "[Double Mode]" is enabled, the texture within certain sections is enhanced and emphasized. "[Cross Mode]" has similar effects, but enhances the texture with different priorities compared to [Double Mode]. The following illustrations display some possible section textures.

Outline Texture

The last special mode in Drifting Dreams is called [Full Outline Mode]. When this mode is disabled, a selection of curves is visible. When this mode is enabled, all curves will be rendered.

Color Scheme

Unlike my previous projects such as Endless Monologue and Running Moon, the Drifting Dreams system utilizes fully-generative color scheme. In my previous approach, a selection of seed colors is curated first. Then, a color-expanding algorithm enhances this selection of colors to form the final palette.

My new color approach replaces the seed-color-generating process with a rule-generating process. For example, instead of selecting a single green color, I identify a section in the color spectrum and set up a rule to draw shades of greens. Combining with the color-expanding algorithm, this approach gives me more space to explore, as outputs within the same color palette could be more distant from each other.

The curation of these color-generating rules is made possible with my open-sourced tool, Color Rules Generator. You can read more about my approach on its website or play with the online demo.

There are 16 sets of color rules in Drifting Dreams. The following examples display potential outputs in the "delusion" mode. You can use the 🗘 icon to regenerate sample colors for each set.

Development Story