Evolving Assemblages

Fernando da Graça
Penousal Machado
Department of Informatics Engineering,
University of Coimbra, Portugal.


"Evolving Assemblages" is a a research project in the domain of evolutionary art. This project is a novel approach to the creation of assemblages of three-dimensional (3D) digital objects. The proposed evolutionary art approach allows the evolution of the distribution of 3D objects, which are placed on a virtual canvas, constructing a non-photorealistic transformation of a source image.

The main goal of research is the creation of an interactive evolutionary art tool for the creation of large-scale assemblages. Being an interactive tool, we are particularly interested in ensuring that the users are able to convey their artistic preferences and ideas through it.


The system has two main components: an Evolutionary module and a Previewing and Rendering module.
The evolutionary module is an expression-based GP interactive breeding tool. It comprises a Function Visualizer that depicts a grayscale visualization of the individuals' expression trees. As is usually the case in expression based GP, the grayscale value of a pixel at the (x,y) coordinates (in our case, x,y in [-1,1]) is determined by the output value of the individuals' expression trees for (x,y).

The 2D previewer runs on the master computer. It evaluates the genotypes and places objects accordingly. However, it doesn't take into consideration the 3D nature of the objects, lighting effects, shadows, etc. The 3D previewer resorts to a Condor-based render farm. The master creates and submits several Condor jobs for each individual of the population. Each job is responsible for: converting the genotype in a Persistence of Vision (POV) 3D scene file; rendering a slice of the resulting 3D scene using POV-Ray; transferring the rendered image slice to the master, that merges the slices, displaying the images as they become available.

Instead of assigning fitness, the user selects two parents, which generate offsprings through crossover and mutation. We also provide a chromosome replication operator, which allows the user to select a specific chromosome and transfer mutated versions of it to all the individuals of the population.


We would like to express our gratitude towards Jennifer dos Santos which posed for the photographs. We also acknowledge the contribution of Paulo Marques provided valuable support in the support of the clusters.

Winner of the GECCO-2010 Competition.


da Graça, F. and Machado, P., Evolving Assemblages of 3D Objects, in Proc. of Computational Aesthetics in Graphics, Visualization, and Imaging (Cae2008) Art Catalogue, Computational Aesthetics 2008, Lisbon, Portugal, June-2008.

Machado, P. and da Graça, F., Evolutionary Pointillist Modules: Evolving Assemblages of 3D Objects, EvoMUSART, Sixth European Workshop on Evolutionary and Biologically Inspired Music, Sound, Art and Design, Napoli, Italy, March-2008. (Download PDF, 80MB, with additional images)

da Graça, F. and Machado, P., Evolving Assemblages of 3D Objects, New Creativity, The 11th Biennial Symposium on Arts and Technology, New London, USA, Feb-2008.(Download PDF, 2.9MB)


Mars, 2009: "Evolving Assemblages", Almedina Estádio, Coimbra, Portugal
June, 2009: "Evolving Assemblages", Art Program of Computational Aesthetics, Lisbon, Portugal
April, 2008: "Evolving Assemblages", Fonlad - Digital Arts Festival, and I Bienal Madeira