An Explosion of Generative Text

For this week’s assignment, I decided to go for the generative text but with a playful twist in relation to misheard lyrics from famous songs. The process was very challenging at first, since I wasn’t able to get a more organic transition from the text to the pixels. But after discovering several in-built functions in Processing, such as get() and set() it was easier to manipulate the pixels. get() was particularly useful and interesting to use, since it allowed me to extract the non-black pixels within set parameters. I also struggled a lot with the values being returned by my functions as they were doing almost the opposite of what I intended, until I used the function abs() – which returns positive values no matter what, and ultimately allowed me to scroll the text in the correct orientation.

I feel like at this point there are so many functions built in Processing that can help make my life easier and more interesting, and I’m making it my life’s mission to uncover these functions one by one.

Sweet dreams are indeed made of cheese!


ArrayList p;
PFont font; 

void setup() {
  int i, x, y;
  color c;
  size (640, 480);

  p = new ArrayList();
  //set font
  font = createFont("Arial", 100); 

  fill(244, 154, 194);
  rect(0, 0, 240, 480);

void createText() {
  PGraphics pg;
  int x, y;
  color c;

  pg = createGraphics(5000, 500);
  pg.textAlign(LEFT, CENTER);
  pg.text("Sweet dreams are made of cheese", 0, 200);

  // Extract all non-black pixels
  for (x=0; x<5000; x++) {
    for (y=0; y<480; y++) {
      if ((c=pg.get(x, y))!=color(0)) {
        p.add(new pxl(x+1000, int(y+100*sin(x/(PI*80))), -80000*5, 0, c, color(0)));
void draw () {
  int i;
  pxl a;

  fill(154, 194, 244);
  triangle(0, 0, 240, 240, 0, 480);
  for (i=0; i<p.size(); i=i+1) {
    a = (pxl) p.get(i);

Pixel Class:

class pxl {
  // Position and speed is x>>16 
  int x, y, xorg, yorg;
  int xspeed, yspeed;
  color c;              // pixel color
  color b;              // background color
  color c_temp;
  int gravity = 00;
  int resistance = 20;

  pxl(int _x, int _y, int _xspeed, int _yspeed, color _c, color _b) {
    x = xorg = _x<<16;
    y = yorg = _y<<16;
    xspeed = _xspeed;
    yspeed = _yspeed;
    c = _c;
    b = _b;
  void display() {
    c_temp = get(x>>16, y>>16);
    set(x>>16, y>>16, c);
  void hide() {
    set(x>>16, y>>16, b);
  void updateSpeed() {
    long t = xspeed;
    xspeed = xspeed - ((int) (t * resistance)>>16);
    t = yspeed;
    yspeed = yspeed - ((int) (t * resistance)>>16);
    yspeed = yspeed + gravity;
    if (abs(xspeed)<100 && abs(yspeed)<100) {
      xspeed = int(random(-500000, 500000));
      yspeed = int(random(-500000, 500000));
  void moveSpecial() {
    int yt;
    x = x + xspeed;
    y = y + yspeed;
    if ((x>>16)<=(240-abs(((y>>16)-240)))) {
      x = x - xspeed;
      y = y - yspeed;
      // change speeds 
      xspeed = int(random(1<<16, 10<<16));

      yspeed = int(random((yt-5)<<16, (yt+5)<<16)) ;
      c = color(random(255), random(255), random(255));



One thought on “An Explosion of Generative Text”

  1. Tala, did you find some of this code online somewhere? If so, please reference it in your blog post. It’s great that you can pull in some outside code and get it to work, but let’s give credit!

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