Unfolding is a process whereby new compositions are created from existing ones. It can and has been applied in one, two, and three dimensions. A simple action consisting of mirroring, rotating and cropping is applied recursively, the output of one operation becomes the input for the next. It is a deep source of new ideas and is entertaining to observe as well. The iOS apps presented here make it easy to experiment and experience unfolding as a tool and also as a diversion.
Some Images created with Image Unfolder.
I conceived the unfolding algorithm in a search for the simplest means of producing compelling compositions automatically. The point of this exercise was to prove that interesting complexities can have radically simple origins. Observation quickly reveals that the creative process involves a tight feedback loop consisting of action and analysis yielding small changes to the process and a new round of action. This loop is maintained until some previously unknown state of satisfaction is arrived at. Unfolding mimics this introspection by treating the analysis as a self-examination. That is, the image "looks at itself" by literally including itself in the next round of action, but altered in some way. The simple action that is repeated is the "unfolding," which consists of mirroring, rotating and cropping. The image is unfolded like an accordion fold or a map creating Rorschach like symmetries which are broken or obscured by the subsequent crop. The recursive application of unfolding yields surprising and strangely satisfying compositions.
Some Animations created with Movie Unfolder.
These 3D examples of unfolding are not produced by either app, but are here for the curious.
Some 3D examples created with a Ruby script in Sketchup and rendered in Kerkythea.