I had originally intended to write programs so that the robot could do specific paintings. I quickly realized that doing that is tedious, boring, and really doesn't take advantage of many of the robot's great features. So instead of that, this instructable will teach you how to:
- modify the robot so that it can paint with brushes, rollers, and a variety of other apparatuses
- take advantage of the basic pre-set programs to do some painting
- use Active TCL to design a painting using LOGO
- modify the sample programs that came with the module to do some paintings using the sensors on the robot.
This project assumes that you can follow the directions that came with your Create to set up the Module, connect it to a computer, etc. I'm pretty sure most people will be able to handle that without (much) difficulty, so I haven't duplicated those directions here.
Conceptual Basis (or, why I did what I did from the perspective of an artist)
After playing with the robot for a bit I realized that I needed to decide if the robot was an artist or a glorified paintbrush. The logo programing treats it more like a paintbrush, whereas the sensor based programming treats it more as it's own artist. I like it as an artist best. In reality, we quickly became art team-mates. It painted faster and more decisively than I would, but without me to choose paint colors, fill it and push go it was a basically really heavy frisbee. No artist can possibly work without an awareness of the world around them (having senses at all affects your art) so to use the robot without using the sensors seemed ridiculous. I provided it with the things it needed to be aware of, and it's response to these things created the paintings.
I also quickly realized that it's important to forget about how a human completes a task and consider how a robot would complete it most easily. With the exception of spray painting, the majority of painting is most effectively done on a horizontal surface, in spite of the cliche of the artist at their easel. The easel is there for the ease of view for the artist - horizontal art has a foreshortened effect. That's why your printer prints horizontally - that's the best way to apply ink without risk of running or bleeding. That's why I decided to work with the naturally horizontal nature of the robot, instead of trying to build on something that could paint on walls as is so common among 'painting robots.'
I put a lot of thought to the difference between painting an printing. When I paint I don't worry about working left to right, or top to bottom. I put paint where it should be, working in curves, straight lines or whatever else is appropriate. As I'm not trying to just build a printer, I thought that the robot should paint in lines the way I would, rather than work across the painting like a roving printer.
This presented certain challenges, especially with the obvious risk that the robot would roll over wet paint. As it turned out, paint doesn't really seem to accumulate on the wheels much, but they do add a nice mark to the painting. A little builds up between the treads of the tires, but that can easily be peeled off when it's dry. In a way, it's no different than an artist using their fingers to smudge pastels - the robot uses it's 'appendages' to affect the way paint is applied to the surface.