Above is the final design for the QE Plaza. I’ve removed most of the white padding to preserve the aspect ratio of the image to match that required by the installation location. I’ve included details of the full resolution version below. I’m quite happy with artifacts due to sub-sampling used to progressively smooth the transition between the full resolution pano and the 20px per cell SOM. This leads to a quite nice tilt-shift effect that contributes to the tension between reality and imagination.
The 10px cell test with a small number of iterations (1,000,000) is shown below. While the spires are reduced they are still present, especially at full resolution. In the scaled image below, the most noticeable one is to the left of the leftmost set of red benches.
I also tired using the 7px cell test (below) with very few iterations (top: 500,000 and bottom: 250,000) and larger max neighbourhood (30²) to reduce spires; unfortunately, the lack of training shows a lack of organization compared to the results documented in this post. So I’m going to stick with the previous 20px 5,000,000 training iteration version and spend some additional time working on the transition.
After some time and consideration, I’ve decided although the spires fit with the theme of imagination and emergence they are just too visually dominant. I’ve thus been exploring using the 20px cell size (that avoids spires) with a lower horizon:
I’m still tinkering with the code and the central issue is that I’d like to get better coverage of the area near the horizon, which seems to mean more than 5,000,000 iterations of training, and thus an increase of cell size. The following images show some of these explorations. I’ve also used an even more pointed Gaussian to soften the boundaries.
In order to investigate those spires I tried running 5 million iterations of training with a smaller network (10px per cell rather than 7px previously used). The result is quite interesting, but the neighbourhood size is too large, causing the sky to dominate significantly. There is still a tendency for clusters to grow in the upper left direction (causing spires) that I cannot explain. The light-coloured spires in the previous post originate at pixels with high degrees of brightness surrounded by darkness, but in the image below we can see they are also present in lower contrast areas (e.g. the sky).
The difference between the two following images is a small change in the neighbourhood function (larger on top). I can’t explain the emergence of these beige spires; they emanate from very small areas of the same colour in the original image, but I’m not sure what drives their expansion into the sky. They seem to expand increasingly according to the number of training iterations. I’m doing another run with a larger neighbourhood and see what happens.
I found a bug in ANNetGPGPU that resulted in the neighbourhood function having a hard fall-off rather than a gradual Gaussian decay. The result really effected the final aesthetic even after millions of iterations. I also changed from HSV to RGB colour model, which was causing some artifacts. The image above shows a short training session to make sure things are going in the right direction. Extra thanks to Daniel Frenzel for the very fast turnaround fixing the bug!