header photo

Polargraph Vectors


With the Polargraph, it is all about vectors. One can either use the Polargraph Controller to convert bitmap graphic or one generates SVG graphics otherwise. And this is where the fun starts.

Here is a list of programs and tools we are going to use to generate SVG graphics for the Polargraph.

Any Vector drawing program

Any drawing program can generates line graphics and export it as SVG data, like Illustrator, InkScape or whatever can be used in combination with the Polargraph.

TSP Art Tools

TSP means Traveling Salesmen Problem and describes algorithm which try to find the shortest possible route between a given number of points.

Basically the TSP Art Tools are a collection of scripts which read PBM files (from Gimp), apply the Concorde TSP algorithm and produces SVG graphic, representing the shortest path. We got that script running, but we have to play more with it.


StippleGen is a Processing code and it seems it fits nicely to the Polargraph.

Basically it works in two steps:

  1. It divides the image into Voronoi cells according to the grey scale. Each cells get a circle with the radius proportional to the grey scale.
  2. Then it applies a TSP algorithm to connect all those centers of the Voronoi cells.

The cells and the TSP path then can be saved into SVG files for further processing.



Nodebox (1.9.7rc1) is kind of a Processing clone, but to be programmed in Pyhton. It natively produces vector graphic (PDF or EPS). We like it in the first place because programming in Python is fun. Then is allows o produce any kind of generative art. Also we use it to check the command files from the Polargraph controller.

Context Free

Context Free (3.0.5) allows, as its name says, to play with context free grammar and it produces directly SVG data. There is a infinite number of examples available to start with. The challenge with this program is that it generates images containing up to millions of shapes.

There is also a 3D version Structure Synth which we use sometimes for our 3D work. Unfortunately that development has stopped in 2010.