Today I wanted to get to the NYU web site. Even though I’m physically sitting here in a lab inside NYU, the fastest way to do this was still to go to Google and type the three letters “nyu” into the search window.
I was already confident that the first hit would be NYU’s homepage, which is the URL I wanted. And that was indeed the URL I got.
What I didn’t expect was that the graphic off to the right of the results screen would look so familiar. Superimposed on a little map of our Washington Square campus was a picture of the NYU Torch.
Except it wasn’t the official NYU Torch — the symbol of New York University. Rather, it was a procedural texture that I had made many years ago, and had more or less forgotten about. I had made the torch image just for fun, my own particular “procedural noise” take on NYU’s logo. Here is what my original looked like (the original image is actually much higher resolution):
The image above is actually a single procedural texture that takes pixel coords (x,y) as its input, and converts each pixel to a color (making liberal use of my noise function). There is an illusion of 3D and metallic reflection in the handle, but it’s only an illusion. The whole thing is just a 2D procedural texture.
Apparently this image has been passed around through the years and repurposed in various ways. The image that showed up in my search for “nyu” had various other graphics superimposed on it:
That particular image, when I clicked on it, led me to some blog page in the Village Voice. I found another at some on-line magazine somewhere, and I suspect that by now they are scattered randomly all over the Web.
I wonder how many sites my little torch has traveled to by now.