Join Erik Natzke for an in-depth discussion in this video The Creative Spark: Erik Natzke, Generative Artist - Film, part of The Creative Spark: Erik Natzke, Generative Artist.
Erik Natzke: As a designer, artist, coder, what if has been a staple to all levels of creativity that I've been working on. Travel. I like that phase where I don't really think about what I'm doing, I'm just doing it. It just organically happens where I'm in that zone and I just want to pave a road forward to a vision that I'm having. I'd love to gamify creativity, to build a creative tool that works on the tablet.
I don't want people to use a tool because they have to, I want them to use a tool because they want to. Because they want to play. (MUSIC) I'm Erik Natzke and I'm a principal designer here at Adobe. As someone who likes to code systems, I appreciate the systems that happen in nature It's a thing to reference. It allows me that ability to get down to the smallest components of life.
I like going to nature, because it has a palette of color that is very easy to appreciate and reflect upon. (MUSIC) I think I had a natural inkling towards physics and chemistry and biology, in my college career to potentially become a teacher in that field. One of my summer jobs was to. Do illustration for the course and the structures of the anatomy and that evolved into learning Photoshop and then desktop publishing and then I learned about this whole sort of career in graphic design, realizing that I could use my creativity in, in my career.
(MUSIC). (SOUND). My process in getting into code-based systems or generative art was just through play. It was just through experimentation to see what the technology could now do. (MUSIC). Generative art is this ability to turn on a system and have it create, and generally as the technology evolved I would test out new systems, and it got to a point where I was able to now take color and inspiration through my photography to apply it to these interactive systems and initially it was just.
Static generative art. I couldn't build the drawing applications that I wanted to. Technology was basically the biggest hindrance. A lot of the things that I, that I was generating I would, I would consider hacks. And then, eventually, I saw the technology meeting the needs that I wanted. (MUSIC). Now, I wanted to output artwork with a focus on what my gesture was able to do. Or what my keyboard was enlisted to do. It allowed me to communicate in the same way that I was as a graphic designer.
But now, it's shifting gears as to more of an artist. (MUSIC). And I found myself having kids and looking towards what I wanted to build in the coming years, and I wanted it to have a more lasting impression. I came to talking to people at Adobe, and I, I wanted to come to this family and start to build the tools that I had inside me, and knew that I, I wanted to help create.
(MUSIC) I want to have a quick, responsive drawing tool that has that spirit of watercolor. When you go into Illustrator, you're making lines that feel finished the moment that you create them. One of the things that I really enjoy and love about watercoloring is that you kind of embrace a little bit of chaos.
There's all these combinations of things working together. The paper, the ink and the water, that create this symphony of movement, until they slowly dry, and out comes this blending that, you can't really adequately predict. And that's what the computer's really good at, it can predict exactly what you want to do. Well now the difficulty is trying to figure out how can I take something that lives off of ones and zeroes and make it understand a system that is more organic and kind of has an unpredictable nature to it? They blend.
When they're dry, they overlay. And I want a, that kind of effect. Male 2: Yeah. Erik Natzke: How do I enable? Male 2: This, this edge here, is what's going to turn into that. Erik Natzke: There is this sweet spot in which we can. Define a brush that has a lot of the same attributes of watercolor. That gives texture to things. In a way that enables this sketching mentality or modality. (INAUDIBLE) able to, you know? As you have greater pressure, you have less pressure.
And it's just this subtle line that goes in here. And maybe slightly dithers. Male 2: Conceivably, you could just paint. Erik Natzke: I work frequently with Michael Angelo and as we're working through these systems of drawing tools that we've already built or tools that we need to build, we jump to the white board and come up with wonderful and amazing ideas because it's that riffing of ideas. It's that back and forth of ideas. Male 2: Again, sort of in the water color way. This is the area you want. Erik Natzke: I had like a water or an eraser type tool.
' CuzI think that is essentially what you're saying. Male 2: Mm-hm. Erik Natzke: Now what if I could do that with someone that's on the east coast, and I'm on the west coast, and maybe we're on the phone, maybe we're voice chatting, but we have our tablets in front of us and we're able to collaborate in this simultaneous space? That's what I'm envisioning being able to do with this drawing application. Putting some water on the paper. Male 3: We need blue. Erik Natzke: Yeah. (MUSIC) Erik Natzke: The what if is always present.
Male 3: Blue. Erik Natzke: It's those what ifs that are going to lend to the innovation at the end of the day because you are questioning what is possible. If you're questioning what is possible, you're going to hit on something that's never been touched before. Can I borrow some brown? I'm going to do his nose. You're going to do his nose blue? It's been a joy for me to start drawing with my son. I love seeing the things that emerge from him. Like, I want that playfulness to never go away. No! His nose is now blue.
Male3: (LAUGH) Erik Natzke: It's at those levels like a child that I play those what if games. That's the desire of the application that we're hoping to build, is inspire that level of play within people. Working with people like Nick, who's interning with me for the summer. He's coming from that fine art perspective. He just wants something that gets his vision across. (MUSIC). We're building those applications for those future generations, and the generations beyond that.
So they can find a way to express themselves, without thinking about the tools that they're using. They're just expressing. They're just creating. If I can have some incremental improvement on people's ability to be creative, then I'm honored.