Procedural paintbrush

Procedural paintbrushes are creative tools that augment your input.

An insight from Procedural Generation in Game Design, Generative Art Toys, by Kate Compton. A good procedural paintbrush is...

  • Smarter than a pencil
  • Constrains and magnifies your input
  • Trades control for superpowers
  • Defines a possibility space of mostly satisfying outcomes


  • The pottery wheel constrains input to the x axis, and gives you symmetry superpowers in return.
  • Spirograph constrains input to the choice of gears, but produces a variety of surprising outcomes.


  • When choosing constraints, consider Gall's Law.
  • Should your procedural paintbrush create surprising results? Consider architects vs gardeners.
  • Can this tool be used in provoking emergence? Where does user control begin and end?
  • Should feedback be direct, or indirect?