Anna Larionova

Interaction Designer



Anna Larionova

Interaction Designer


Generative Animation

Client Timeframe

1 week, Fall 2023

Working Code




Create an animation that shows a clock for aliens. The clock cannot display time tied to the rotation of the Earth - years, months, days, hours, minutes, etc. Instead create your own system of time - however large or small. If the clock is no longer tied to celestial movement - how else can you express the passing of time? Would the time be continuous or discrete? Cyclical or unidirectional? How would you divide it into sub-elements and what visual tools would you use to represent distinctions: color, shape, size, order?
  • use arrays and loops
  • use rotation with the transformation matrix
  • use either trigonometric functions or intervals (or both if need be)

The Idea

For every successful round of five breaths, a ring, much like a tree ring, is recorded to the aliens' age. As they continue to breathe, they eventually reach death which is shown by a black screen.
Unfortunately, they are a bit like humans in that they sometimes lose track of their breath and so they have to start over.


To start, I found some code on stack overflow that got me my first circle.
The code as I found it:

Moved the background to setup so I can see the path of the circle to give the appearing of drawing it.

Trying to divide the circle in fifths:

This was in class. I stared at this same code for the rest of class, completely stuck and unable to move forward. It was disheartening.

So from Thursday to Tuesday, I consumed hours of videos on the channel the coding train, to try and reform my foundational understanding of Processing. It was fun, I took lots of notes!

Come Tuesday, the day before class, newly educated, I went on a search for more programs that I could steal pieces from. It quickly became apparent to me that I had not actually just absorbed all the information I consumed over the weekend so it was still really frustrating!!!

I got the concentric circles thanks to ChatGPT and in a separate sketch, got to break it up into fifths.

I started to cry. I’ve never been so bad at something that I wanted so badly to be good at.
My clown circle because I’m a clown who can’t code.

On a walk, I talked through what exactly I was expecting my program to do and it helped shift a few sticky spots in my brain. I came back, decided to start a new sketch and work from the ground up, with my notes out.

It seemed like looking for existing pieces was not working for me as a true beginner so it felt like I might be more successful just using what I did know to make it work.

Starting over

So I’m in the realm of concentric circles again. My main goal right now is trying to get the drawing of the circle to restart randomly.
Here’s what I have so far:

It’s a timer that OpenAI spit out at me and for now it’s just stopping the circle sometimes. Just hiccuping I guess.

I’m going to return to the rainbow circles program from class two weeks ago so I can see what I can recover.


Trying to just make it go backwards? It isn’t working but I gave the pause a black fill so I kind of know where it’s happening. Sometimes there’s two dots. I don’t know what’s happening.

I made the circles bigger and it looks cool so I’m going to give them some sci-fi purpose and play it off as intentional. They’ll never know…

Oh my gosh! I went in to just start making it look cool by randomizing colors and all that and it actually revealed what was happening!!!

Hard to tell in a still, but I could see that the circles were in fact returning to their starting position. The black dots are indeed pauses but after the pause, the program begins to redraw the circle. Nice.

How to erase what has been drawn?