Background: Inspired by the intersection of nature with the digital, I created “Growing Tree, Growing Me” for my final project in my intermediate Creative Programming course as a personal interactive project that is reflective of my personal growth through a fractal tree.
Process: This project required a lot of research, prototyping, and experimentation in order to create a tree that resembles a real one, but also has its own unique characteristics of being in a digital world. The fractal tree was created in Processing and uses Perlin noise to create a lively, breathing effect. The tree starts small and slowly grows over time until it is fully blossomed. In total, the tree takes about six minutes to grow, forcing the user to watch it grow in real time through patience. However, if the user clicks the tree, they hinder its growth. It is only after a certain amount of time that the tree can start slowly growing again. The tree represents my personal growth and how toxic relationships hinder that. Once fully grown, it blooms white flowers that represent purity and innocence, something that can only exist without toxic relationships.
The purpose behind the project weighed significantly on the interaction. The decision for minimal interaction, tapping the tree, reflects the hinderance of growth from even the most seemingly innocent interaction. However, such tapping, even done lightly, represents a a negative touch, compared to a touch like petting, which comforts. The final piece was created for Microsoft Surface Tablet, as a tablet allows for intimate user interaction with this “self-portrait” through the touch of a finger.
Result: Overall, this project challenged me to create a self-representative, interactive and creative piece that required a well-thought out plan regarding user interaction and experience. Users found the tree calming and enjoyable to interact with, and its purpose significant.
View code on Github.