Ant Paintings using a Multiple Pheromone Model

Gary R. Greenfield
Bridges London: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2006)
Pages 319–326


Ant paintings are visualizations of the paths made by a simulated group of ants on a toroidal grid. Ant movements and interactions are determined by a simple but formal mathematical model that often includes some stochastic features. Previous ant paintings used the color trails deposited by the ants to represent the pheromone, but more recently color trails and pheromones have been considered separately so that pheromone evaporation can be modelled. Here, furthering an idea of Urbano, we consider simulated groups of ants whose movements and behaviors are influenced by both an external environmentally generated pheromone and an internal ant generated pheromone. Our computational art works are of interest because they use a formal model of a biological system with simple rules to generate abstract images with a high level of visual complexity. We strive to show how designing ways to make ant paintings becomes an artistic pursuit.