Bob Ross is a man that needs no introduction, but I’ll write one anyway. Bob was a television host from long ago that taught the world how to paint. His signature afro, calming voice, and beautifully hand-painted vistas made him a household name in the 1980s and 1990s, until he lost his battle with lymphoma in 1995. Though Bob has remained a legend, still. And now there’s a Twitter bot paying homage to Bob’s life’s work.
Happy Little Painting 594282521-9 pic.twitter.com/2UZt2UNJQ3
— Bot Ross (@JoyOfBotRoss) January 26, 2017
Created by Brent Werness, the Twitter bot generates an endless cascade of new pixelated landscapes, inspired by the great Bob Ross and his work in The Joy of Painting. For inspiration, Werness didn’t look to other same-y fractal art or generative work, but to Bob himself. “[Bob] often talked of tapping in simple shapes, and he let the brushes and the fact that the paint moved over the canvas add character,” wrote Werness in a write-up describing the code. “So I start also with simple shapes: lines, triangles, and circles which are arranged to coarsely imitate the shapes of the intended objects and then distort it all with a procedural noise function picked to match the idea that you can move paint around on a wet canvas.”
Werness tackled the project as if he were carefully following Bob’s televised process himself: progressing carefully, step by step. For the bot’s code (the bot aptly named Bot Ross), each object in a work is dithered (or, made to look noisy and obscured) separately on a very limited color palette. The end result are meticulously generated pixelated landscapes that would make Bob proud.
(via Prosthetic Knowledge)