exploring the art hidden in π

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Exploring the art hidden in π


January 2015


Inspired by Martin Krzywinski’s work on pi


Illustrator, R




A visualization that turns the digits of the number π into a more artful object. Each digit is converted into a certain direction to step (360 degrees of a circle, divided into 10 step directions). You can then follow the path that the digits make and how this is always random, no matter if you look at 100, 1000, or even a million digits.


After seeing the examples of Martin Krzywinski’s Pi art work I wanted to venture into the world of data art myself. My idea of using the digits of pi to step into a certain direction certainly isn’t new, but most versions I could find had first converted pi into another base (4 or 16 for example). Therefore, I went ahead with just keeping it in base 10. I plotted and colored the data in R and then imported the PDF into Illustrator to add some text and legends.

Edit At the end of May I found out that I wasn’t the first to do exactly the same thing. Daniel Becker, who creates beautiful data art from different kinds of random walks, also created one for the million digits of pi. You can see it here. His version is 90 degrees rotated, and differently styled, but the path is the same of course

You can read more about the data, design an creation in my blog. You can also get these visualizations as a tangible print and poster to put on your wall or wherever you might like. Come check them out in my store here.

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