Saturday, March 14, 2009 – Java experiments with text


I have seen some incredible works of programming where Javascript or Java was used to create animations or simulate physical objects like cloth or sand. Recently I came across Chronotext, a site by a Tel-Aviv based designer and programmer, that defines itself as a “growing collection of software experiments exploring the relation between text, space and time.”

A Java applet I found on the site, that in my opinion, would look wonderful on websites is the Text Cube. It’s a cube with 6 different text pieces plastered on it’s 6 faces. You can rotate the cube in any direction to read the text using your mouse. There are also two sliders in place that can be used to turn the cube. Imagine using this on your website – a bio of the site’s author on one side, a small snippet of text on another. The source code of the program is available, just like most of the programs on this site. You will need Java installed on your system to run this.


Some other programs that I liked (and probably you will like it too), are

The War of the Words – A newspaper article where words launches missiles at each other. Useless but cool to look at. The most violent words in this example are Bush, America, Iran, Al-Qaeda … you get the drift. You can create your own warring words using their built-in editor.


The Tower of Babel - An animation that shows a long, single line of text placed on a rotating helix. If you focus your attention at the top of the helix and start reading, your eye will automatically follow the text and you will find your gaze slowly moving towards the bottom of the helix until it reaches the end of the text.  You can control the speed of rotation by dragging your mouse pointer horizontally on either direction. Very artistic.


Mapping – A simulation of scrolling text LED display implemented on an image. It’s incredible how it transforms a simple 2D image into a 3D animation.


Texts on Landscapes – A bunch of different animation showing texts flowing over rugged terrain. Another fun work to look at.


Related: 11 cool examples of creative programming


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