Skip to main content

Graph-Based Evolution of Visual Languages

  • Conference paper

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNTCS,volume 6025)


We present a novel evolutionary engine for the evolution of context free grammars. The system relies on specially designed graph-based crossover and mutation operators. While in most evolutionary art systems each individual corresponds to a single artwork, in our approach each individual is a context free grammar that specifies a family of shapes following the same production rules. To assess the adequacy and completeness of the system we perform experiments using automated fitness assignment and user-guided evolution. The experimental results show that the system is able to create diverse and interesting families of shapes even when the initial population is composed of minimal grammars.


  • Mutation Operator
  • Crossover Operator
  • Production Rule
  • Genetic Operator
  • Context Free Grammar

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-12242-2_28
  • Chapter length: 10 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-642-12242-2
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   149.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Borrell, A.: CFDG Mutate, (last accessed in September 2009)

  2. Colton, S., Torres, P.: Evolving approximate image filters. In: Giacobini, M., et al. (eds.) EvoWorkshops 2009. LNCS, vol. 5484, pp. 467–477. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  3. Coyne, C.: Context Free Design Grammar, (last accessed in September 2009)

  4. Horigan, J., Lentczner, M.: Context Free, (last accessed in September 2009)

  5. Lewis, M.: Evolutionary visual art and design. In: Romero, J., Machado, P. (eds.) The Art of Artificial Evolution: A Handbook on Evolutionary Art and Music, pp. 3–37. Springer, Heidelberg (2007)

    Google Scholar 

  6. Machado, P., Cardoso, A.: All the truth about NEvAr. Applied Intelligence. Special Issue on Creative Systems 16(2), 101–119 (2002)

    MATH  Google Scholar 

  7. Machado, P., Cardoso, A.: Computing aesthetics. In: de Oliveira, F.M. (ed.) SBIA 1998. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 1515, pp. 219–228. Springer, Heidelberg (1998)

    Google Scholar 

  8. Machado, P., Nunes, H.: A step towards the evolution of visual languages. In: First International Conference on Computational Creativity, Lisbon, Portugal (2010)

    Google Scholar 

  9. Pereira, F.B., Machado, P., Costa, E., Cardoso, A.: Graph based crossover — A case study with the busy beaver problem. In: Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, Orlando, Florida, USA, vol. 2, pp. 1149–1155. Morgan Kaufmann, San Francisco (1999)

    Google Scholar 

  10. Saunders, R., Grace, K.: Teaching evolutionary design systems by extending “Context Free”. In: Giacobini, M., et al. (eds.) EvoWorkshops 2009. LNCS, vol. 5484, pp. 591–596. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  11. Stiny, G., Gips, J.: Shape grammars and the generative specification of paintings and sculpture. In: Freiman, C.V. (ed.) Information Processing, vol. 71, pp. 1460–1465. North Holland Publishing Co., Amsterdam (1971)

    Google Scholar 

  12. Taylor, R.P., Micolich, A.P., Jonas, D.: Fractal analysis of Pollock’s drip paintings. Nature 399, 422 (1999)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2010 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

About this paper

Cite this paper

Machado, P., Nunes, H., Romero, J. (2010). Graph-Based Evolution of Visual Languages. In: , et al. Applications of Evolutionary Computation. EvoApplications 2010. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 6025. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-642-12241-5

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-642-12242-2

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)