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Art of sketching - Language of sketching - Science of sketching - Technology of sketching - Practice of sketching

Systematic reviews
Application, software packages, hardware overview

Technology of sketching

Although this block primarily verifies the knowledge of previous blocks experimentally, it does not solely depend on them. Based on the previous research activities, there are already related digital technologies and solutions available on the market. For example, the Alchemy Draw project, which is a tool that, among the other things, leverages insecurity and ambiguity generated by amplifying gestures and strokes. Alternatively, even ordinary Adobe Photoshop and similar tools are often assisting in aiding creativity. This block catalogize these tools and analyse them in the context of the previous blocks.

Software and applications


Alchemy is an experimental drawing application aimed at exploring how we can sketch, draw, and create on computers in new ways. Alchemy focuses on the absolute initial stage of the creative process, to provide an expanded range of possibilities for serendipitous sketching and shape creation. The main aim of Alchemy is to explore how computer based forms of drawing can extend the early stage idea creation process.

Lasseau divides the design process into two overlapping funnels, firstly an elaboration stage representing the generation of possible opportunities or options, then a reduction stage where choices are made among the generated options to gradually converge upon a final design [3].
Our aim was to explore the use of the computer as a tool for idea generation; we envisioned Alchemy to be set firmly within the elaboration stage, as artists and designers experiment with a wide range of ideas before continuing on towards reduction. Alchemy is intended as a visual sketchbook and exploration tool that can contribute something to artist creativity as opposed to just productivity. To do this we needed to break away from the idea of the computer as a passive slave and focus on the capability of software to surprise us.

… implement drawing functionality that was not always immediately understandable, and took some degree of control away from the artist. (note - see Engelbert's De-Augmentation)

The most immediately noticeable constraint within Alchemy is the lack of an undo function. Undo is one of the most ubiquitous features of desktop software, but one we felt lends itself to Lasseau’s reduction stage, rather than the elaboration stage that we sought to encourage.

Many of the Alchemy modules focus on or support the generation of ambiguous shapes that can lead to shape emergence: the discovery of representational forms from abstract shapes.
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