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Software developer Jason Dorie has created this nice little tool to create a pattern based on the results of a reaction-diffusion system from any image.

cnc-ed image on white veneered wood.

cnc-ed image on white veneered wood.

The program is very easy to use. The nicest thing about it is the way it “grows” your image into the pattern. You simply drop your file into the software and the pattern will gradually reveal itself. When you are happy with how it looks you simple stop the process.

Pattern grows

Pattern grows

Becomes more dense

Becomes more dense

Image emerges before your eyes!

Image emerges before your eyes!

Although some larger images can take quite long time to process (particularly those with a lot of white tones) it’s a great tool for messing around with. The newest version of Reactor also allows you to negate the image (making the dots white instead of black) and to save a high quality jpeg file. Perfect for taking into illustrator and vector tracing. Jason cut this piece of artwork on a CNC machine but I can see some great applications here for laser cutting and engraving; bespoke engraved art or unique graffiti stencils spring to mind. Definitely worth a bit of experimentation. Hopefully version 3 will include the functionality to export to vectors directly.

Download reactor

Reactor is only Windows executables, and require the Microsoft .NET framework, V3.5. If you have difficulty running them, try installing the framework from here: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=2

See how patterns could be raster engraved