"You give up your own personality
when you imitate somebody."

—Bill Evans

I build
to make art

I am finally selling my robot-generated art on my Etsy store. Artwork is typically on large format canvas (36x36" to 48"x48"), great for contemporary spaces in office, home, and commercial settings. Read about my process.

Convert your photos into illustrations

Yes, you can autogenerate illustrations and other artwork from photographs using Python. The results will surpass anything you can obtain using off-the-shelf software, and might even fool a lot of people into thinking you actually drew the output!

I cover the basics about how to get started in this work with my latest article "Autogenerated Watercolor Paintings & Illustrations" using Python, Pillow and CV2. Read it here. Source code is also made available for download.


Motion design is a bottleneck in the pipeline

My After Effects book will show you how to change that

How many times have you (or another motion designer you know) been forced to redo complicated animations across multiple comps? It happens all the time. Ask yourself this question: was it easy to propogate those changes across multiple comps? The answer is often: sometimes yes, sometimes no.

The problem is: most motion designers are not thinking about the production pipeline at all. A typical motion designer could not script their way out of a major problem, or use scripting to make a tiny change to hundreds of comps. They will usually do it by hand and likely introducing an error along the way.

Making art by hand is fine. Propogating changes by hand is wrong and unprofessional.

The second edition my book Automating After Effects: Scripting Techniques for the Production Pipeline with JavaScript and Python will help you level up.

One of the real keys to scaling any system is to create abstractions that allow content to be plugged in and swapped out easily. If you're a developer you already know where I'm going: Interfaces. In After Effects we can achieve the same thing by architecting comps using proper nesting and automating all changes to content, including keyframes. Yes, it can be done and should be done for large or complicated projects. It will change how you work, and some teams might find some folks are better left with doing animations while you handle the backend code. Of course, doing both roles makes you more powerful.

The back-story with this particular book is that it contains most of my concepts and code that I evolved during an intense two years in a production inferno known as Essence Global, a media ad shop. I supported two design teams across the Seattle and San Francisco offices. I had a rare chance to be the only 3D and motion person on staff at Essence. The volume of production was insanely high and I quickly found ways to automate nearly all post design processes. There was a constant drumbeat with several hundred (sometimes several thousand) deliverables per launch expected from me. In the end I was supporting two West Coast offices and consulting other global offices. A great gig! I worked with some talented devs and the best designers in the business.

I had a very specific goal with my career there, and it was to automate my job to the maximum. In this endeavor I was successful, at any moment able to handle hundreds of complex changes with a series of JavaScript and Python scripts. The solutions I present are built upon the previous two decades working as a software developer, designer and maker.

My book is a must have for any motion designer/developer who is in need of a foundation of code to build from. I include many useful tools like global keyframe propagation, comp swapping and repositioning, as well as covering advanced topics like building a JavaScript code generator for automating complicated tasks. I also include simple tools like batch layer and comp name changes and render queue tools (things they should have included in the product long ago).

If you don't want to read the book and do the exercises, I still provide all code for free on my github account.


Voltage in a Strange Land

My book "AAART BOOK" is part of a trilogy containing an illustrated note book, a colouring book, and a book of illustrations I have created using Python and my own photography. The Amazon description says:

In "AAART BOOK, Voltage in a Strange Land", artist Arlo Emerson presents a compilation of illustrations autogenerated from the artist’s personal photographic collection. The process for generating the artwork is the culmination of thousands of hours of experimentation and exploration. The work mainly depicts imagery from Japan, featuring everyday scenes from Nagoya, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Tokyo, and points in between.


Maker and Prototyper

I've been lucky to have jobs as both a professional maker and as a UX prototyper. Here are examples of that work:


Broadcast and motion examples from my years working in the agency world.

📽 My motion and prototyping reel from my Essence and Microsoft years. Unfortunately I can't show you my most recent Microsoft HoloLens/IVAS work as I'm under perpetual NDA.

UX = 🕹 + 🧃

I mostly do dev work for 3D and motion design now, but I used to do a lot more UX work. Still can. Samples from projects include a hospital patient records UI I built in HTML/JavaScript, UI explorations of an interactive whiteboard, interaction envisioning using a holographic UI, and much more.

Technical illustration
Architectural & Editorial

I have spent many years experimenting with autogenerated artwork. Here are some of the better examples, with technical breakdown of the process:

Interactive diagrams
using ThreeJS

I recently had the amazing opportunity to work with the visionary theorist Miles Mathis to create some diagrams for his paper How the Elements are Built. These diagrams reveal the structure of atomic nuclei of various elements. I did some initial modeling tests in C4D and decided ThreeJs would be the best way to implement the design for both online and capturing stills for print. Use your mouse or finger to rotate the model in space.

An exerpt from CCCOLORING_BOOK, a study in black & white line illustration.

A collection of my photography focusing on urban and backcountry landscapes.


I write a lot of Python code for all kinds of tasks. In this example I walk you through a script that will convert your images into illustrations.

I used ThreeJS to create a set of atomic nuclei diagrams. Try this one showing a Tin atom (use your finger to orbit the model). These were recently featured in the scientific paper How the Elements are Built by Miles Mathis. See full set of atomic nuclei diagrams.

🧾 My GitHub account contains years of accumulated scripts I've written. There's a lot of image manipulation and video compositing tools in Python, MQL scripts for MetaTrader, After Effects automation in JavaScript, Cinema 4D automation scripts, and so on and so forth.

A boids-like animation autogenerated in After Effects using JavaScript. These animations were utilized in my book Automating After Effects, which is chock full of battle-tested JavaScript examples.

Some unusual code-related shenanigans....

For quants and coder/algo-traders: Presenting an unusual technical analysis method that reveals the market maker's next big move. The Sekisetsu Method is a very powerful, highly configurable tool built in Python. It uses a novel approach (particle simulation within a physics engine) to identifying price structure in a market. It is free and open source.


In Bad UX: More Now Than Ever Before, I'll do daily updates of my observations on the current state of Internet-based app UX. Any of it. All of it. There's a lot of bad things happening right now.

The best video production advice I ever got is here: "How to shoot B-roll".

In Jazz. What it is and how to get it. I will say some stuff about feeling and provide no listening advice whatsover.

Qigong is really about diverting the charge field with one's hands.

In HTML 1.0, The Best Choice for Display and Historical Archive of Web Page, I challenge today's so-called modern approach to display in the desktop and mobile browsers with several compelling arguments.

I was an HTML Coder in the Nineties, a poignant reflection. Probably not.


The Piano Tuner 🎹
An excerpt from a biography/memoir by "Kal", supposed CIA informant who caught a glimpse into the very real and still active world of PSI warfare. The techniques used by the participants in this book have been hinted at over the years, but let's face it: most rational people think this is horse shit. And that's precisely how the powers that be want you to react. After all, if the general population started to gain an edge over the current matrix, well, that wouldn't be profitable for them.

Azure Langley is a washed up hardware engineering assistant caught in the Dot-com bust of 2000/2001. He starts tuning pianos to make ends meet. Turns out, he's got a history with one of the Rothschild family's most valuable assets. A woman named Krystal who is a true adept. That is, she can push her voice into her target's minds. A very useful trait when at the bargaining table.


Find me on LinkedIn

Contact me at arloemerson@gmail.com for inquiries, commissions and gigs.