Recently while working through Grunbaum and Shephards’ Tilings and Patterns, I stumbled on a wonderful piece of software for generating tilings – Taprats. Taprats is based on the age old Islamic art of constructing intricate geometric art based on radially symmetric star-like figures. The software is a Java applet that runs on your desktop and is surprisingly small in size for its features. It has a built-in library of tilings that can be used to construct many famous Islamic designs. Also, the construction of these designs is parametrized across different variables so you can modify various parameters to create different designs from the base example. Finally you can export the designs to various image formats to be used in your designs.
A few sample tiling patterns generated by the applet are shown below.
Also, you can design your own tilings with predefined templates, select and modify an existing design, or start completely from scratch.
As I said before, I stumbled on this elegant piece of software while I was reading over the wonderful book on the subject – Tilings and Patterns by Branko Grunbaum and G. C. Shephard. This is the definitive book on tilings and geometric patterns. I’ve have with me a 1990 edition of the book, currently out of print, but a paperbark is scheduled to be released around April 2013. So if you are anywhere interested in geometric patterns or tilings, this is the book to get. This is a little mathematical, but nothing that some high-school Algebra or Trigonometry cannot handle.
I myself ‘m not a designer, but if you are, this is a wonderful piece of software to work with.