Faculty of Information Technology, BUT

Course details

Computer Art

VIN Acad. year 2016/2017 Winter semester 5 credits

Current academic year

Introduction into computer art, computer-aided creativity in the context of generalized aesthetics, a brief history of the computer art, aesthetically productive functions (periodic functions, cyclic functions, spiral curves, superformula), creative algorithms with random parameters (generators of pseudo-random numbers with different distributions, generator combinations), context-free graphics and creative automata, geometric substitutions (iterated transformations, graftals), aesthetically productive proportions (golden section in mathematics and arts), fractal graphics (dynamics of a complex plane, 3D projections of quaternions, Lindenmayer rewriting grammars, space-filling curves, iterated affine transformation systems, terrain modeling etc.), chaotic attractors (differential equations), mathematical knots (topology, graphs, spatial transformations), periodic tiling (symmetry groups, friezes, rosettes, interlocking ornaments), non-periodic tiling (hierarchical, spiral, aperiodic mosaics), exact aesthetics (beauty in numbers, mathematical appraisal of proportions, composition and aesthetic information).


Language of instruction



Classified Credit (written)

Time span

26 hrs lectures, 26 hrs projects

Assessment points

100 projects



Staudek Tomáš, Mgr., Ph.D. (DCGM FIT BUT)

Subject specific learning outcomes and competences

Students will get acquainted with the principles of mathematics and computer science in the artistic fields, understand theoretical foundations of algorithmic creativity and software aesthetics, get acquainted with examples of the applied computer art, its history, current tendencies and future development, students will also learn practical skills from the field of computer art and finally, they will realize practically artistic creations with the aid of computer.

Learning objectives

The aim of the course (http://artgorithms.droppages.com) is to get acquainted with the principles of mathematics and computer science in the artistic fields, to understand theoretical foundations of algorithmic creativity and software aesthetics, to get acquainted with examples of the applied computer art, its history, current tendencies and future development, to learn practical skills from the field of computer art and realize practically artistic creations with the aid of computer.

Prerequisite kwnowledge and skills

Artistic sense, basic mathematical knowledge, basic knowledge of computer graphics principles.

Study literature

  • Adams, C. C.: The Knot Book. Freeman, New York, 1994.
  • Barnsley, M.: Fractals Everywhere. Academic Press, Inc., 1988.
  • Emmer, M., ed.: Mathematics and Culture II: Visual Perfection. Mathematics and Creativity. Springer Verlag, 2005.
  • Emmer, M., ed.: The Visual Mind II. The MIT Press, 2005.
  • Glasner, A. S.: Frieze Groups. In: IEEE Computer Graphics & Applications, pp. 78-83, 1996.
  • Moon, F.: Chaotic and Fractal Dynamics. Springer-Verlag, New York, 1990.
  • Ngo, D. C. L et al. Aesthetic Measure for Assessing Graphic Screens. In: Journal of Information Science and Engineering, No. 16, 2000.
  • Peterson, I.: Fragments of Infinity: A Kaleidoscope of Math and Art. John Wiley & Sons, 2001.
  • Prusinkiewicz, P., Lindenmayer, A.: The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants. Springer-Verlag, New York, 1990.
  • Schattschneider, D.: Visions of Symmetry (Notebooks, Periodic Drawings, and Related Work of M. C. Escher). W. H. Freeman & Co., New York, 1990.
  • Sequin, C. H.: Procedural Generation of Geometric Objects. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 1999.
  • Spalter, A. M.: The Computer in the Visual Arts. Addison Weslley Professional, 1999.
  • Turnet, J. C., van der Griend, P. (eds.): History and Science of Knots. World Scientific, London, 1995.

Fundamental literature

  • Bentley, P. J.: Evolutionary Design by Computers.Morgan Kaufmann, 1999.
  • Bruter, C. P.: Mathematics and Art. Springer Verlag, 2002.
  • Deussen, O., Lintermann, B.: Digital Design of Nature: Computer Generated Plants and Organics.X.media.publishing, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2005.
  • Grünbaum, B., Shephard, G. C.: Tilings and Patterns. W. H. Freeman, San Francisco, 1987.
  • Lord, E. A., Wilson, C. B.: The Mathematical Description of Shape and Form. John Wiley & Sons, 1984.
  • Kapraff, J.: Connections: The Geometric Bridge Between Art and Science. World Scientific Publishing Company; 2nd edition, 2002.
  • Livingstone, C.: Knot Theory. The Mathematical Association of America, Washington D.C., 1993.
  • Mandelbrot, B.: The Fractal Geometry of Nature. W. H. Freeman, New York - San Francisco, 1982.
  • Paul, Ch.: Digital Art (World of Art). Thames & Hudson, 2003.
  • Peitgen, H. O., Richter, P. H.: The Beauty of Fractals. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1986.
  • Pickover, C. A.: Computers, Pattern, Chaos and Beauty. St. Martin's Press, New York, 1991.
  • Stiny, G., Gips, J.: Algorithmic Aesthetics; Computer Models for Criticism and Design in the Arts. University of California Press, 1978.
  • Todd, S., Latham, W.: Evolutionary Art and Computers.Academic Press Inc., 1992.

Syllabus of lectures

  1. Towards mathematical art: Art overview in the 20th and 21st centuries.
  2. Software aesthetics: Visual forms of computer art.
  3. History of computer art: From analog oscillograms to interactive media.
  4. Aesthetic functions: From sinus and cosinus to the superformula.
  5. Aesthetic transformations: Repetition, parametrization and the rhythm of algorithms.
  6. Aesthetic proportions: Golden section in mathematics, art and design.
  7. Spirals and graftals: Models of growth and branching in nature.
  8. Geometric fractals: Iterated functions and space-filling curves.
  9. Algebraic fractals: From the complex plane to higher dimensions.
  10. Chaotic fractals: Visual chaos of strange attractors.
  11. Symmetry and ornament: Periodic tiling and interlocking mosaics.
  12. Nonperiodic and special ornament: Semiperiodic, aperiodic and hyperbolic tiling.
  13. Mathematical knots: Knots and braids from the Celts to modern topology.

Syllabus of computer exercises

Syllabus - others, projects and individual work of students

Creative assignments follow the lecture topics and are realized in a form of non-supervised projects supported by freely available creative applications for each topic. Outputs will be exhibited in students' virtual gallery.
  1. Letterism and ASCII art
  2. Digital improvisation
  3. Computer-aided rollage
  4. Generated graphics
  5. Quantized functions
  6. Algorithmic op-art
  7. Genetic algorithms
  8. Chaotic attractors
  9. Context-free graphics
  10. Fractal flames
  11. Quaternion fractals
  12. Fractal landscape
  13. Escher's tiling
  14. Islamic ornament
  15. Circle limit mosaics
  16. Knotting
  17. Digital collage
  18. Graphic poster
  19. Artistic image stylization
  20. Generated sculpture

Progress assessment

Creative assignments -- up to 50 points (10 evaluated pieces by 5 points):
  • 3 points: technical realization
  • 2 points: aesthetic quality 
Final project -- up to 50 points (creative graphics application):
  • 15 points: concept originality
  • 20 points: programming intensity
  • 15 points: interface quality

Controlled instruction

The monitored teaching activities include lectures, individual creative assignments, and the final project in a form of a creative graphics application. The classified credit has two possible correction terms.

Course inclusion in study plans

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