Ancient Parchment, Procedurally Generated

December 24, 2011

With my current project, a full dome planetarium documentary about ancient astronomy, I was tasked with providing lots of CGI sequences with an antiquarian / da vinci style.  For the parchment I decided to approach it as an artistic challenge in itself.  It would have been easy to find some scanned, pre-made textures – but looking closely at these old parchment textures I could see that it followed the same principles of landscape, terrain, cloud like form and detail.  So I set about using Perlin noise type functions to build up a complex ancient parchment texture, purely from scratch out of mathematical functions essentially.  Below you can see the layers seperated and the final result.


And of course the magic of this approach is that I can animat a flowing sensation in the texture, by just playing around with numbers allowing everything to evolve and morph randomly.  You can see this in the demo video.

You could argue that almost every shape and form in nature could be created in such a way, as when you look closely you’ll see that it’s balance of chaotic randomness, and structured order – which is one way of defining Perlin noise.



2 Responses to “Ancient Parchment, Procedurally Generated”

  1. MacroMeez said

    Can you describe the technique to create ‘billowing’ noise? I’ve stumbled across it once or twice but can’t do it on demand.

  2. if you use standard fractal noise – and then play with the 0-255 values the way you use ‘levels’ in photoshop, you can bias toward large white areas, and small black areas to create ‘creases’. something like that…

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