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Incredible web app turns code into 3D art

You can do amazing things with code, but it can be decidedly confusing to look at. An expert might be able to read examples of JavaScript and immediately understand them, but for the rest of us it's just a jumble of meaningless words and peculiar syntax. Here, though, is a way to appreciate the art and science of code without having to learn a thing.


Codeology turns code into amazing organic creations

Codeology is an open-source project that turns code into 3D art. Its algorithm analyses projects on GitHub, and then renders them as organic forms in glorious old-skool ASCII that you can rotate and scale in realtime. And as no two pieces of code are the same, every Codeology form is different, resulting in an online menageries of weird and wonderful creations.


Ulla! You wouldn't want one of these to turn up from outer space

It works by pulling data from GitHub's public API, and the look of each creation is determined by two things: the coding languages in each project, and the amount of code. Codeology recognises 100 different languages, from the likes of HTML and JavaScript through to hardcore stuff such as Assembly and Haskell, and represents each one with different 3D forms and colours, then determines the size of the shape by the number of characters of code written.

It then assembles the various forms created from each language into a single organic-looking creation, rendered using WebGL, Three.js and GLSL shaders.


This bit of code is from Facebook's GitHub repository. What are they up to?

The results are extraordinary; weird and wonderful multicoloured constructs of all shapes and sizes, some of them resembling viruses basic multicellular organisms seen under a microscope, and others looking more like horrifying insectoid predators from another planet.

If you like what you see you can download Codeology's creations either as static wallpaper or an animated GIF, and if you want to see the code behind each creation you can click through its GitHub project.


You can download Codeology creations as animated GIFs; they look better in the browser though

And yes, you can visualise the source code of Codeology itself if you wish. You'll discover that it's mostly made of bright green JavaScript, with a bit of CSS and HTML and just a dash of Ruby.

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Jim McCauley is a writer, editor and occasional podcaster, and is available for space parties.