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Generates a random path between two predefined points.
Jeff Thompson | 2017 |
Generates a random path between two predefined points.
import java.util.Date; // imports for timestamp
import java.text.SimpleDateFormat;
float lineLen = 20; // length of segments
float maxAngle = radians(90); // range of random angle towards end
float noiseInc = 0.01; // increment in Perlin noise
float minDistToEnd = 50; // how close to the end before we quit?
float noiseOffset = 0; // current position in Perlin noise
PVector end; // target point
void setup() {
size(1000, 1000);
// create end point at center of screen
end = new PVector(width/2, height/2);
// create random paths to the center!
for (int i=0; i<20; i++) {
// draw the end point
ellipse(end.x, end.y, 10,10);
void draw() {
// nothing here!
// 's' to save the frame, any other key re-draws new random paths
void keyPressed() {
if (key == 's') {
String filename = new SimpleDateFormat("yyyy-MM-dd_HH-mm-ss'.jpg'").format(new Date());
save("output/" + filename);
else {
void randomPath() {
// create random starting point
PVector start = new PVector(random(50, width-50), random(50, height-50));
PVector current = start.copy();
// start line
stroke(255, 150);
vertex(current.x, current.y);
// run until we hit the endpoint!
int i=0;
while (true) {
// compute angle b/w current position and the end point
float xDist = end.x - current.x;
float yDist = end.y - current.y;
float between = atan2(yDist, xDist);
// use Perlin noise to compute a random value (0-1), change
// to range of the maxAngle (this makes the line vary instead of
// heading straight towards the endpoint!)
float newAngle = between + (noise(noiseOffset) * maxAngle - maxAngle/2);
// calculate new x/y position based on the angle, draw a line
float x = current.x + cos(newAngle) * lineLen;
float y = current.y + sin(newAngle) * lineLen;
vertex(x, y);
// update current position to the end of the line, figure
// out how far we have left to go
current = new PVector(x, y);
float distLeft = PVector.dist(current, end);
// if we're near the endpoint, draw a line to the end and quit
if (distLeft <= minDistToEnd) {
line(current.x, current.y, end.x, end.y);
// update count and Perlin noise variables, continue
i += 1;
noiseOffset += noiseInc;
// finish the shape!
// draw the starting point on top
ellipse(start.x, start.y, 10,10);

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@clemp clemp commented Mar 3, 2020

I've been searching for an implementation of this for a concept I'm working on. Just discovered yours and love the simplicity. Thank you.


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@jeffThompson jeffThompson commented Mar 4, 2020

@clemp – so glad it was helpful! (Took me ages to figure out a way to make this work.)

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