How it works

the dots


There are 200 dots on the screen.

connect the dots


The dots are connected in order, then coloured in. This happens 30 times each second.

move the dots


When you move the dots, theyíre still being connected and coloured. This is why it looks like itís animating.

How I built viscosity

Viscosity is the sum of many different parts. Check out my summary of the technical elements of viscosity.

Why I made viscosity

Viscosity was created because itís beautiful, relaxing, and turns anyone into an abstract artist.

When I first created the prototype for viscosity, I became totally engrossed. I'd find myself wasting time at work with it (sorry Martijn), and it would often catch the eye of people walking by in my hallway. I thought if my co-workers found it so compelling, the rest of the world would probably enjoy it too.

Feel free to let me know what you think of viscosity.

Why people like viscosity

Experience

Sometimes the experience of creation is more fun than the end result.

People can end up with beautiful art from viscosity, but the actual process of creating it can be so much more interesting. The animated effect of manipulating the dots gives a soothing and hypnotic experience, leaving you calm and relaxed.

Immediacy

Within seconds, you can create a masterpiece in abstract art. If you don't like it, you can reset it and start over. No oils and no canvases means no starving artists.

Constraints

Sometimes the hardest problems are the ones where you are free to do anything. Viscosity simplifies things by constraininng your choices to ten colours and two ways of manipulating the dots.

Project history

Fall 2003

James Stewart and I talked about how neat it would be to make a Flash toy that emulates smoke. Moving your cursor through the smoke would cause it to swirl and behave like smoke would in the real world. This sparked some ideas on how this might be done, but nothing came of it.

Fall 2004

While working at mod7, Wil Arndt and I created a series of interactcive ideas for the upcoming Jerde Partnership website. I prototyped something similar to the smoke idea, but the intent was to move your cursor throgh viscous fluids and cause them to mix.

The end result looked nothing like I had intended, as it was too angular. However, it ended up looking cooler than I thought it would. We couldnít find an application for it, so it never ended up in the website.

Summer 2006

After showing the Jerde explorations to Emiko, I decided to turn that simple viscosity idea into something tangible. Wil was kind enough to let me riff on the prototype. mod7 makes really neat stuff by the way.

Winter 2007

After a quick beta test with some friends, I finally finished viscosity. I hope you enjoy using it as much as I did making it.