Even a seemingly simple shape like that of a leaf or petal is shaped through an underlying pattern of growth. By tracking growth or marking cells (see Pottery and plants) we can see how some regions grow faster than others, and how growth is oriented in preferred directions. Computer modelling allows us to see how the conflicts produced by these variations in growth are resolved through changes in outline. We can get an idea of the deformations that happen by incorporating a familiar shape, like a face or landscape, into an early bud and watching how the different regions grow in different ways to generate the shape.

Warped image of a women's face
Warped image of Norwich Cathedral