Evolutionary art is created using a computer. The process starts by having a population of many randomly generated individual representations of artworks. Each representation is evaluated for its aesthetic value and given a fitness score. The individuals with the higher fitness scores have a higher chance of remaining in the population while individuals with lower fitness scores are more likely to be removed from the population. This is the evolutionary principle of Survival of the fittest. The survivors are randomly selected in pairs to mate with each other and have offspring. Each offspring will also be a representation of an art work with some inherited properties from both of its parents. These offspring will then be added to the population and will also be evaluated and given a fitness score. This process of evaluation, selection and mating is repeated for many generations. Sometimes mutation is also applied to add new properties or change existing properties of a few randomly selected individuals. Over time the pressure from the fitness selection generally causes the evolution of more aesthetic combinations of properties that make up the representations of the artworks.
Evolutionary art is a branch of Generative art, which system is characterized by the use of evolutionary principles and natural selection as generative procedure. It distinguishes from BioArt by its medium dependency. If the latter adapts a similar project with carbon-based organisms, Evolutionary Art evolves silicon-based systems.
In common with natural selection and animal husbandry, the members of a population undergoing artificial evolution modify their form or behavior over many reproductive generations in response to a selective regime.
In interactive evolution the selective regime may be applied by the viewer explicitly by selecting individuals which are aesthetically pleasing. Alternatively a selection pressure can be generated implicitly, for example according to the length of time a viewer spends near a piece of evolving art.
Equally, evolution may be employed as a mechanism for generating a dynamic world of adaptive individuals, in which the selection pressure is imposed by the program, and the viewer plays no role in selection, as in the Black Shoals project.
- Metacreations: Art and Artificial Life, M Whitelaw, 2004, MIT Press
- The Art of Artificial Evolution: A Handbook on Evolutionary Art and Music, Juan Romero and Penousal Machado (eds.), 2007, Springer
- Evolutionary Art and Computers, W Latham, S Todd, 1992, Academic Press
- Genetic Algorithms in Visual Art and Music Special Edition: Leonardo. VOL. 35, ISSUE 2 - 2002 (Part I), C Johnson, J Romero Cardalda (eds), 2002, MIT Press
- Evolved Art: Turtles - Volume One, ISBN 978-0-615-30034-4, Tim Endres, 2009, EvolvedArt.biz
- "Evomusart. 1st International Conference and 10th European Event on Evolutionary and Biologically Inspired Music, Sound, Art and Design"
- Thomas Dreher: History of Computer Art, Chap. IV.3: Evolutionary Art
- "Evolutionary Art Gallery", by Thomas Fernandez
- "Biomorphs", by Richard Dawkins
- EndlessForms.com, Collaborative interactive evolution allowing you to evolve 3D objects and have them 3D printed.
- "MusiGenesis", a program that evolves music on a PC
- "Evolve", a program by Josh Lee that evolves art through a voting process.
- "Living Image Project", a site where images are evolved based on votes of visitors.
- "An evolutionary art program using Cartesian Genetic Programming"
- Evolutionary Art on the Web Interactively generate Mondriaan, Theo van Doesburg, Mandala and Fractal art.
- "Darwinian Poetry"
- "One mans eyes?", Aesthetically evolved images by Ashley Mills.
- "E-volver", interactive breeding units.
- "Breed", evolved sculptures produced by rapid manufacturing techniques.
- "ImageBreeder", an online breeder and gallery for users to submit evolved images.
- "Picbreeder", Collaborative breeder allowing branching from other users' creations that produces pictures like faces and spaceships.
- "CFDG Mutate", a tool for image evolution based on Chris Coyne's Context Free Design Grammar.
- "xTNZ", a three-dimensional ecosystem, where creatures evolve shapes and sounds.
- The Art of Artificial Evolution: A Handbook on Evolutionary Art and Music
- Evolved Turtle Website Evolved Turtle Website - Evolve art based on Turtle Logo using the Windows app BioLogo.
- Evolvotron - Evolutionary art software (example output).
- Artificial Evolution of the Cyprus Problem (2005) is an evolutionary artwork created by Genco Gulan