Design grammars

May 30, 2011 — August 9, 2021

generative art
making things
photon choreography
self similar

See also grammatical inference, syntax.

Figure 1

In computer graphics these are also called “procedural design” (that being slightly more general), or L-systems.

Prusinkiewicz and Lindenmayer (the L in “L-systems” ) had success describing plants and seashells and other CGI-friendly lifeforms as grammars. Lerdahl and Jackendoff applied these ideas to music. Look around for applications to primatology, genetic programming, gene expression, dynamical systems, Barnsley et al and their fractal image compression…

Design grammars are just ordinary grammars (possibly probabilistic ones, but nevertheless…). Unlike classical the usual linguistic use of the word grammar”, though, the emphasis here is not simply on parsing sentences to see if they are valid or not, but rather using grammars to synthesise entirely new sentences/flowers/trees/dungeons.

I should mention that I am interested in this for artistic/creative reasons rather than purely analytic ones, but there are probably uses in both domains.

Figure 2

Where do design grammars come from? One common term is “inverse procedural modeling” which is a design analogue of grammatical inference.

1 References

Genetic Programming. 2000.
Grefenstette, Hermann, Suleyman, et al. 2015. Learning to Transduce with Unbounded Memory.” arXiv:1506.02516 [Cs].
Lindenmayer. 1968a. Mathematical Models for Cellular Interactions in Development I. Filaments with One-Sided Inputs.” Journal of Theoretical Biology.
———. 1968b. Mathematical Models for Cellular Interactions in Development II. Simple and Branching Filaments with Two-Sided Inputs.” Journal of Theoretical Biology.
McCormack. 2004. Aesthetic Evolution of L-Systems Revisited.” Applications of Evolutionary Computing, Lecture Notes in Computer Science,.
Meyer. 1900. Handbook of ornament; a grammar of art, industrial and architectural designing in all its branches, for practical as well as theoretical use.
Prusinkiewicz. 1986. “Score Generation with L-Systems.” In Proceedings of the 1986 International Computer Music Conference.
———. 2004. Self-Similarity in Plants: Integrating Mathematical and Biological Perspectives.” In.
Prusinkiewicz, and Hammel. 1994. Language-Restricted Iterated Function Systems, Koch Constructions, and L-Systems.” In New Directions for Fractal Modeling in Computer Graphics. SIGGRAPH Course Notes.
Prusinkiewicz, and Lindenmayer. 1991. The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants. The Virtual Laboratory.
Ritchie, Thomas, Hanrahan, et al. 2016. Neurally-Guided Procedural Models: Amortized Inference for Procedural Graphics Programs Using Neural Networks.” In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 29.
Smith. 1984. Plants, Fractals, and Formal Languages.” In SIGGRAPH Comput. Graph.
Stiny, and Gips. 1971. “Shape Grammars and the Generative Specification of Painting and Sculpture.” In IFIP Congress (2).
Talton, Lou, Lesser, et al. 2011. Metropolis Procedural Modeling.” ACM Transactions on Graphics.
Vidal. 1994. Grammatical Inference: An Introductory Survey.” In Grammatical Inference and Applications. Lecture Notes in Computer Science.
Yeh, Nischal, LeDuc, et al. 2020. Written in Blood: Applying Shape Grammars to Retinal Vasculatures.” Translational Vision Science & Technology.