The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants (The Virtual Laboratory) Gebundene Ausgabe – 1990
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This book explores mathematical models of developmental processes and structures of plants, and illustrates them using state-of-the-art computer-generated images. Plant models which grow, interact with the environment, produce flowers and fruits, and finally die, have an immense intuitive appeal of "bringing life into the computer". In front of a graphics monitor it is easy to forget the underlying mathematical formulae and simply look at plants growing, self-replicating, responding to external factors, even mutating. Without compromising the mathematical rigor of presentation the authors have tried to preserve this area in their research. The following areas receive particular attention: methods for the modelling and rendering of plants which are suitable for realistic image synthesis; the scientific potential of computer graphics in the visualization of biological structures and processes; the relationship between control mechanisms employed by living plants and the resulting complex developmental sequences and structures; and the relationship between developmental processes, self-similarity and fractals.The formalism of L-systems are adopted as the primary mathematical vehicle used to express developmental processes. The notion of L-systems was conceived in 1968 by Aristid Lindenmayer as a formal model of plant development. Its elegance was promptly recognized by mathematicians, who soon developed a comprehensive theory of L-systems. However, only recently has computer graphics revealed the full potential of L-systems applied to plant modeling. Although the focus is on the results of joint research led by the authors, a survey of alternative methods for plant modelling is also included.
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I discovered this book years ago, as a teenager, and just bought a copy to relive its pleasures.
This book applies the basic idea inherent in recursive graphics programming to modeling natural organic phenomena to the greatest degree of accuracy possible. This book uses L-systems, which is a method of specifying rules that enables very complex ideas to be expressed in a very exact way. The book contains no information on specific programming language implementation. However, the L-system specification is given in enough detail that an implementation of a basic L-system compiler should be attainable by most programmers with a talent for efficient algorithms implementation and sufficient motivation. All of the graphics are done using either two or three dimensional turtle commands, which are also easily adapted to fit into whatever compiler you choose. Efficient display routines will require some work, and as most of the algorithms described produce very large amounts of data, speed is very important for all shapes apart from the most basic structures.
The results of using an L-system is quite impressive. The book contains many photographs of computer generated trees using L-systems that are almost identical to their natural counterparts. The book is very well written, with lots of examples and many illustrations. It starts off as quite easy reading, but by the time it reaches sections on the simulation of internal balancing of cellular structures, the math gets very complex. Although you need an interest in artificial life, graphics, and fractals to find this book interesting or even just comprehensible, you probably also need some skill in the analysis and design of algorithms to make any of the ideas contained in the book a reality. The table of contents is:
1. Graphical Modeling Using L-systems 1
2. Modeling of Trees 51
3. Developmental models of Herbaceous Plants 63
4. Phyllotaxis 99
5. Models of Plant Organs 119
6. Animation of Plant Development 133
7. Modeling of Cellular Layers 145
8. Fractal Properties of Plants 175
A. Software Environment for Plant Modeling 193
B. About the Figures 201
C. Turtle Interpretation of Figures 211