Proceedings: GI 2017

Pattern formation through minimalist biologically inspired cellular simulation

Marcelo de Gomensorod Malheiros (UNIVATES and Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil), Marcelo Walter (Institute of Informatics, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil)

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2017: Edmonton, Alberta, 16-19 May 2017, 148 - 155

DOI 10.20380/GI2017.19

  • Bibtex

    author = {Malheiros, Marcelo and Walter, Marcelo},
    title = {Pattern formation through minimalist biologically inspired cellular simulation},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2017},
    series = {GI 2017},
    year = {2017},
    issn = {0713-5424},
    isbn = {978-0-9947868-2-1},
    location = {Edmonton, Alberta},
    pages = {148 -- 155},
    numpages = {8},
    doi = {10.20380/GI2017.19},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society / Soci{\'e}t{\'e} canadienne du dialogue humain-machine},


This paper describes a novel model for coupling continuous chemical diffusion and discrete cellular events inside a biologically inspired simulation environment. Our goal is to define and explore a minimalist set of features that are also expressive, enabling the creation of complex and plausible 2D patterns using just a few rules. By not being constrained into a static or regular grid, we show that many different phenomena can be simulated, such as traditional reaction-diffusion systems, cellular automata, and pigmentation patterns from living beings. In particular, we demonstrate that adding chemical saturation increases significantly the range of simulated patterns using reaction-diffusion, including patterns not possible before such as the leopard rosettes. Our results suggest a possible universal model that can integrate previous pattern formation approaches, providing new ground for experimentation, and realistic-looking textures for general use in Computer Graphics.