Atom Cuts

atom cuts atoms cuts 2

I first showed this piece at FOTB 2007, and posted it during the 2007 GalaxyGoo Flash-a-thon.

While working on my presentation for FOTB, I had atoms on the brain. For a while I was researching quantum mechanics (only on the surface) and looking for a way to incorporate it into my talk.

Along the way, I was reminded of the ancient Greeks, and their concept of the “atom”. They proposed that 1) if you divided a substance into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually you’d get to a piece that could not be divided (an atom), and 2) all material was composed of these atoms.

I started thinking about how I could visualize this. First, I did a quick prototype in the Flash authoring environment, using the line tool, keyframes, and tweens. A nice little sketch took me a few minutes, and captured the idea, but it wasn't very precise.

So then I developed an algorithm for cutting into smaller and smaller pieces. In the last iteration, I took some inspiration from an early Keith Peters experiment, and replaced the single object (with lines drawn on it), with a grid of cell/objects positioned in the spaces between the lines. Visually, you shouldn't see any difference, but inside the code is another story.

Fair warning: I'm playing around with events and integrating as3 practices with more traditional Flash programming. The structure of this code is not nearly as elegant as it could be.

Click on the box to proceed to next iteration. Requires click for each step.