In Depth: Using Artmatic 5

I’ve been using Artmatic since the first version came out. I don’t even know how long ago that is but I recall the first time I opened the program and how much I was just blown away by the visuals you can create with it. Ever since I’ve been a big fan of Artmatic and its endless possibilities. Come to think of it, I basically grew up with the program, and in all honesty I wouldn’t be who I am right now without it.

Most of my Artmatic experiences relied heavily on playing with Mutations and the ultra-awesome randomizer feature. Though I eventually realized I wasn’t getting anywhere with that. I had ideas but I wouldn’t get there just by hitting the random button, and so I began to play with the structure. Although here’s the really interesting thing about this program. It’s really easy to play with but gets very very deep with a couple clicks of a button.

Let me show you some pictures I’ve been lately producing with the program. (Post processing was done using Photoshop’s ACR)

They look very complex, but I assure you, what you see isn’t that hard to create. The catch is in the use of compiled trees and iterators. It’s pretty basic, but it can result in really cool things quite quickly.

Main components important in creating stuff

And that’s pretty clean simple. Much of the color comes from the 3 in 3 out component (the 3rd component from the very bottom of the tree.) Iterations are additive, hence resulting in a nice “glowing” look to it. You can choose other iterative modes but it seems additive works best in this case.

You can additionally change parameters around within the compiled tree. Let me show you what it looks like inside.

Basically what the picture says. Most of these components were chosen by trial and error, and I also look around in the given presets for inspiration and “how-tos”

That’s the basic idea behind it all. In post, I add grain, a bit of sharpness or glow depending on how I want the image to look. I also process some colors via Color Balance in Photoshop.

If anybody’s really interested in seeing this work in person, you can email me: and I’d be happy to send you the Artmatic file. (Requires that you have Artmatic 5, although the structure can be recreated in Artmatic 4.8 as well.)

Update: images were broken. Fixed 🙂


3 thoughts on “In Depth: Using Artmatic 5

  1. Thank you for posting your methods here. For some reason, your system snapshots aren’t loading for me this morning, although I could see them last night.

    When you say “and in all honesty I wouldn’t be who I am right now without it,” I really hear you. Both ArtMatic and Voyager have been a big part of my life for the 12 or so years I have been involved with them (from version 1). I personally believe that the basic principles involved (emergent complexity from simple rule systems) underlie all we see in the universe. It is very gratifying to find a like mind here in the AM world!

    One thing I truly love about your work is that you have found a corner of ArtMatic that is really yours. You have developed a unique, original and valuable style. In the early days I argued very strongly that this was possible, against many voices that kept saying there was an ArtMatic ‘look’. I believe that ArtMatic is powerful enough that there are millions of possible original styles, If only people will spend the time.

    I don’t know if you’ve seen my Watching Europa project, but this is what I have been doing with ArtMatic over the last two years:

    As always, I feel I have only dipped my toe in the water of possibilities though, and even seeing your fantastic systems has given me a whole new flux of ideas.


    Peter Miller

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s