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Cappuccino Fluid Dynamic

Brushstrokes: 2,956
64” x 86”

Swirling foam contained within a café mug: the simple inspiration that would lead to a passionate ballet of colors, rendered on a massive canvas with thousands of brushstrokes, all born out of chaos theory and AI-simulated fluid dynamics.

Explore Paul's Process
  • Cappuccino a painting by ai painting robot Dulcinea

Inspiration is Everywhere

The inspiration for this painting came from one of Paul’s visits to his local coffee shop. It was the swirling foam patterns in a cup of cappuccino that caught Paul’s eye – could the hypnotizing flow of the dancing fluids be captured in two dimensions and still maintain their powerful, enchanting, and energetic appearance?

  • Paul Kirby discusses his use of modern robotics and art theory to create the painting Cappuccino
Close-up of brushstrokes of robot painting art

Dynamic Movement

This painting was created using a subset of chaos and chaotic systems: fluid dynamics. Paul created a virtual fluid dynamics simulation, with multiple fluid injectors, or “nozzles,” pointing into an empty fluid chamber. After the fluids collided, commingled, and swirled around the virtual space, Paul captured and transformed the transfixing energy into colorful, swirling brushstrokes. Many different moments in time were captured from the simulation, with Paul, after much deliberation, selecting the image he felt was the most alluring and engaging, with just the right blend of “swirling energy and motion.” This frozen instance of computer-simulated fluids would become the Cappuccino that Dulcinea would paint.

Close up of fluid dynamics painting by robot Dulcinea

Free Brushstrokes

Paul got all of Dulcinea’s brushstrokes “for free,” since they evolved from the fluid dynamics simulation. Paint is just another dynamic fluid, after all.

  • modern robot Dulcinea paints
Modern inventor Paul Kirby and visitor discuss painting by robot Dulcinea

No Small Feat

Because the finished painting is larger than Dulcinea’s effective operating space, the piece was painted by the robot in fourths. The canvas was repositioned to a new quadrant with the completion of each section, allowing Dulcinea to produce a work much greater in size than her own inherent working envelope. The larger size enhances the viewer’s ability to experience the swirling movement and emboldens the mesmerizing qualities of the work, allowing the viewer to become fully immersed in the colorful ballet.

Paul Kirby inspirational person and modern inventor gazes at a painting by Dulcinea the painting robot