【sf-0520】 rachael, 2020
Rachael is a proof-of-concept of the automation possibilities of advanced 3D design systems. It is a fully-automated algorithm creating CG visuals in real-time using Unreal Engine. Since May 2020, Rachael has been posting to the Instagram account @rachaellic one new image per day. The software will continue posting without any human intervention, as long as the computer it is running on is online. The design system is specifically designed to create “likeable” images representing popular visual languages on the platform.  
Rachael is not only a technical demonstration of the capabilities of real-time rendering, automation, and AI. Rachael intents to critically examine the consumption of contemporary imagery in the fast-paced social media landscape. Due to the continuously growing speed of how images are consumed on Instagram, the more successful (liked) images are the ones displaying an immediate, visually pleasing impression. On the contrary, images embodying deeper meanings or more complex ideas fail to be as popular, since they require more time to be seen and understood.

【instagram release campaign】

For about one year Rachael has been posting one new image per day. The Instagram account has gained a decent following by posting similar, easily consumable creative assets on a daily basis. Which raises the question of what constitutes creative value?

When we created Rachael our core interest revolved around reevaluating and analyzing cultural value in the digital art space. We intended to question if something is valuable because it received a lot of likes; if a large following defines a great artist; and if the algorithms of social media influence the way we express ourselves creatively as humans.

With the incredible advancements in machine learning and AI, the creation of visually pleasing images can now be fully automated. If we neglect the communication aspect of visuals and simply use design techniques to attract likes, we as human designers risk becoming obsolete in the near future. Therefore, designers' priority should always remain finding smart conceptual ways of communicating our message, while the visual expression is utterly the vehicle that delivers it. Automating the human skill of visual communication that requires creativity and conceptualization is a much harder task to accomplish by an artificial algorithm.

Rachael is a real-time software built with Unreal Engine 4 that generates images using various design methods and algorithmic techniques. The compositions are based on grid or dynamic systems and the placement of additional objects employs different techniques available in the engine (randomization, trace methods to assess surface areas and general spawning probabilities). Due to its algorithmic nature, Rachael can generate an infinite number of images, each with a unique combination of shapes and colours. The image creation is primarily controlled by a weighted randomization of different parameters. The software contains a wide collection of objects that the algorithm can choose from, including different environments and lighting setups. Rachael also uses Quixel Megascans assets for multiple props and shaders.

The software is fully RTX enabled and runs in real-time — the images are saved on the fly after the generator has finished building the composition. Besides Rachael’s core software even the process of uploading and posting is fully automated and the software generates a random description for each image based on the selected shape and colour palette. 

The visual improvements of real-time rendering in Unreal Engine have enabled the platform to render near-photoreal CG imagery to a visual standard that comes close to the output of traditional pathtracers. All this happens in real-time with almost no latency between creation and outcome. Besides the immense improvements in visual quality and speed, game engines such as Unreal open up a whole new medium for 3D designers to explore. Rachael is a continuation of the exploration of alternative usages of game engines and strives to create a new approach to how we use and consume computer-generated imagery.

Rachael continues daily postings on Instagram @rachaellic. Make sure to follow to see more images in the future!

【implemented design systems】

“ Rachael” draws from a multitude of different object design systems to create each composition. While the algorithm is not constraint to only use one object palette, but has the flexibility to mix in objects from other palettes, it will always highlight one kind of shape language in each image for the sake of compositional consistency. 

The following images show the object palettes that are currently in use. 

【presentation of “Rachael” at Deep Space 8K, Ars Electronica, 2021】

A custom animation showing 50,000 images generated by “Rachael” in a flickering sequence  on an immersive huge 8K screen at Deep Space, Ars Electronica.

Design & Direction
someform Studio, Matthias Winckelmann

Creative Team
Matthias Winckelmann, Julius Steinhauser



someform Studio GmbH
eisenbahnstrasse 5

someform Studio GmbH
eisenbahnstrasse 5