Generative physics animations in Illustrator most certainly fall into the “because it’s there” / “for no very good reason other than it’s possible” category. But the results are hilariously awesome. See above, Adobe fans.

The tool behind this is very cool, too. Processing lovers who don’t already know the insanely great toxiclibs library – and its ability to unlock complex math and geometry magic with very little effort – should absolutely go explore:
http://toxiclibs.org/ [links, documentation, and loads of terrific tutorials and demos]

It’s Java-ness makes it ideal for other Java-based projects, too, including Android. But that library, in turn, has come to JavaScript:
http://haptic-data.com/toxiclibsjs/

Scriptographer is a scripting plugin for Illustrator that opens it up to JavaScript – and may be a new reason to even use Illustrator.
http://scriptographer.org/about/

Add this easy-to-use JavaScript library to Scriptographer for Illustrator, and within that generative environment you get animated fun. See discussion:
http://scriptographer.org/forum/wish-list/toxiclibs/?pos=0#Post-4222

More animation in Illustrator: Ping Pong in Illustrator, also thanks to Scriptographer.

Brilliant. Anyone else come up with interesting stuff with this environment, we’d love to see it. Found via Andreas Köberle on Google+.

  • http://www.humblesound.com humblesound

    I'd like to suggest that these sort of things aren't just for the "for no good reason other than its possible" category.

    For a website that focuses so much on creative, generative, interactive design that lives inside processing or jitter or what have you, I'd think you could see what great potential these things have for print and graphic design.

    To be able to use a physics simulation on a bunch of vector – not bitmap – objects that live right in the illustrator editor, so you can then further style them and export in any resolution with unlimited fidelity… lovely!

    We so often reach for some 'other tool' that's well suited to doing things like this, only to export it's creation into our work with some diminished quality.

    Pros and Cons abound, of course, but this sort of thing is definitely not just for novelty purposes.

    Related: Nice little article on VideoCopilot about using After Effects for not-motion design-&nbsp ;http://www.videocopilot.net/blog/2011/07/after-effects-for-photoshop-work/

  • Peter Kirn

    Now, hold on a second here –

    As readers know, I routinely embrace and love the proof of concept. Essentially, this is a proof of concept. There's no reason you would *animate* something in Illustrator inside the UI in the way you're hearing there. So that's what I mean, and why I suspect the creator dubbed it "silly."

    If I thought it didn't have value, I wouldn't post it. Obviously, this is pretty damned cool, and shows some potential for doing less silly and very important things! (Though doing silly things can also be very important!)

    That said, I'm not certain of what you mean by this comment:

    "We so often reach for some ‘other tool’ that’s well suited to doing things like this, only to export it’s creation into our work with some diminished quality."

    Processing, which has native support toxiclibs, and even the JavaScript implementation Processing.js which works with the JS port here, are both capable of producing vector graphics. And that's just two examples among many.

    So it would be entirely misleading to suggest that you *need* Illustrator in order to produce generative work that's "high fidelity."

    Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't warp Illustrator to what you're trying to do, which is why having something like this is excellent; I think we agree there. And abuse (or creative misuse, or really finding creative applicability) is a wonderful thing, as your AE example suggests.

  • http://kodama.angrypixel.org Scott

    I'm inclined to agree with humblesound – these plugins could form the building blocks of some very interesting graphic design – not just nifty videos.

    Whilst there's nothing wrong with exporting from other software like Processing, being able to generate physics inside Illustrator could be a nice way to fire up a creative spark.