6 Apr 2011

I often spend time tweaking the theme of this site rather than write content for it, but I thought the latest tweak was worth a few words of mention.

I have tried to keep the theme quite clean – with all of the traditional sidebar content pushed right down at the bottom of the page. Previously, there was a simple division between the bottom content and the rest of the page; nothing more than a border-top CSS declaration:

Inspired by the new look Planet GNOME, I wanted to do something a bit more interesting down there – some sort of ragged edge, but I didn’t want to spend an age trying to draw it by hand.

Coincidentally, earlier today I was looking for an excuse to play with Processing and this seemed like just the thing. I very quickly got something producing a very regular pattern:

But that felt too boring – it needed some randomness.

These were way too severe. To emulate the grass-like effect, I moved to using curves, rather than straight lines.

After a couple attemps where I didn’t have my Bezier control points under control, I finally hit upon something I liked:

And that’s what you’ll find at the bottom of page. The nice thing with this approach is that I can easily tweak the script to produce variations and I don’t have to start from scratch each time.

For the record – and so I can find it when I want to tweak it – here’s the processing sketch that produced the final result:

update: stuck the code in a gist on github

void setup() {
  size(2000,50);
  background(240);
  smooth();
  strokeJoin(ROUND);
  stroke(255);
  fill(255);
  rect(0,0,2000,40);
  stroke(153);
  fill(240);
  beginShape();
  vertex(0,42);
  int x = 0;
  for (int i=0;i<200;i++) {
    int y = (int)random(15,30);
    bezierVertex(x,37,
                 x,30,
                 x+random(-4,4),y);

    bezierVertex(x+2,30,
                 x+2,37,
                 x+random(8,9),40);
                 
    x+=10;
    int w = (int)random(5,15);
    bezierVertex(x+(w/3),42,
                 x+(2*w/3),42,
                 x+w,40);
    x += w;
  }
  vertex(2000,42);
  endShape();
  
  save("footerGrass.png");
}
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