Alyssa + Schuyler

Alyssa’s Project: Patterns for thesis/ Making a checkerboard and checkers

Creating Patterns with Beetle Blocks for thesis.

I used beetle blocks to create a pattern study that I could then open in illustrator to fill in black, white, and grey and overlay with each other.  The inspiration of these patterns came from dazzle camouflage and how it was used to create an illusion that concealed the depth of an object.  In my thesis project, we are using it to help create anamorphic illusions in specific perspectives outside of our building.

Dazzle Camouflage.


Beetle Blocks tests and scripts.

At first I tried out a couple different patterns.  One with hexagons in different scales, one with triangles, and one with a line in the shape of a lightning bolt that I repeated and rotated.  Out of these three I liked the hexagon pattern the best, but I thought the repetitive ‘bolt’ created a better dazzle pattern.  I ended up working with two main scripts:

One was the hexagons in multiple sizes that were drawn in a grid formation and intersected with one another.  The other came from the hatching script that was originally given to us.  I used the script as a starting point to then modify and create two different hatched squares.  One has straight lines, and the other has diagonals lines.  From there I made four different squares by rotating them.  I ended up with 1) square with horizontal lines 2) square with vertical lines 3) and 4) squares with diagonal lines (one a mirror of the other).  I made different combinations out of those four and created a script to draw them in a grid formation.  I then experimented with rotation, scale, and the density between the hatches.

beetle blocks screen shots blog

Filling the patterns in illustrator.

Here is what the patterns end up looking like after they are filled alternating black and white.  To incorporate a grey and white background for some of them, I included a scaled up version of the squares placing it over the other pattern.  Sometimes the grey and white lies separately in the background like an overlay, and sometimes like in number 4 and 10, it is part of the pattern (not an overlay).

catelog 1

catelog 2catelog 3


Final Patterns.

I ended up using two patterns.  The original hexagon pattern, but scaled down, and number 6 in the catalog above which looked more like dazzle camouflage.  From here in the thesis project, we used the pattern to project onto a volumetric form to create the illusion.  From the front (from a specific perspective) it should only look like the pattern on a flat surface.  The grey is used to modulate light and shadow created by the form.  From the side, it is suppose to look volumetric with the pattern smeared along the sides of the front faces.

catelog 4

Viewing the building from any random angle, an observer should only see what looked like the dazzle camouflage.  The smeared pattern on the sides of the faces blend in with the dazzle pattern.  The hexagon pattern is only visible in specific perspectives.


We also made a physical model with the pattern on it to show the experience.  (3 x 6 ft)


Using the same pattern scripts to design a checkerboard and checkers.

Here I used 2 of the four hatched square scripts to alternate in a grid and create a checkerboard.

checkerboardcheckerboard script

3D versions of the squares that were made to create checkers.

straight line checkerdiagonal checker

Straight and Diagonal 3D checker scripts.

straight checker scriptdiagonal checker script

I also tried to create notches on the checker pieces so that they could stack on each other like LEGOS which are seen in the images of the checkers above.  These are the scripts for the two.


3D Printed checkers.

The 3D prints worked but came out kind of messy.  The notches did not work because the scale was too small.


Checkerboard with Checkers.

I ended up laser cutting the checker pieces.


The pattern on the board was drawn with the vinyl cutter.  I laser cut plexi with square holes in it to store the checkers that sits on top of the board.  Another clear piece sheet of plexi sits on top of that for a surface to actually play the game.

Not all the squares cut out of the plexi cut all the way through which left an edge and made it difficult slide a checker in and out.



Schuyler’s Project: Points of Attraction

I wanted to explore the paths of travel across my Degree Project site, the Civic Center in Manhattan. The project calls for a new ground plane that would be relatively flat and without car access; new pathways would need to be anticipated.


The site has a cluster of existing buildings; the new ground plane exists in the void space.

img006 (1)

The first idea was to make an attractor grid.


Duks’ sketch shows how an attractor grid could work:


I tried manipulating the 2D attractor grid but was unable to change it in a way that resembles a random walk from one place to another.

Screen shot 2015-04-14 at 1.23.07 PM

Setting up a perimeter and a series of control points seemed like a good next step. Those points would represent entrances of the site.IMG_20150414_133342

As a 10×10 square with specific points surround it, this is the first attempt:



The next step was to try to set up a bias for points surrounding the square but there is a maximum of 8 points, causing it to fail after a few lines. (8+2)


This would be the obvious solution but I had trouble manipulating it to create noticeable bias (6+2)


I also attempted to create an object that was ‘avoided’ in the field of random walks, but I kept getting this error message.


After  some tweaking (and arranging 8 points around a 20×20 boundary) I stumbled upon an interesting solution, depicting direct axis, a shift to irregular movement and a series of selected focal (bias) points:


The bias (set a: pick random 6 to 8 instead of 1 to 8))




But I also wanted to see what would happen if the points (entrances around the boundary) were random. Unfortunately, due to the constraints (the “if” block) lines weren’t drawn very often…

3a 3

Parameters for drawing a line were redefined here. Repeating the drawing step by 10 caused the line to leave the perimeter.


I was most satisfied with this solution in anticipation of producing a series.

3dd 3d

I used the vinyl cutter software to arrange 9 iterations (each exported individually from beetle blocks) on a single page: