Project 2 guribe

by guribe @ 2:04 am 15 February 2010

Simulating Organic Behavior through Music

Music Visualization: Erection by The Faint

Music Visualization: I\’m a Lonely Little Petunia by Imogen Heap

Music Visualization: Time to Pretend by MGMT

Where the idea came from

When looking at examples of simulations during class, I was inspired by the work of Robert Hodgin. I was interested in the way he simulated organic behaviors that were directly responding to sound. I decided to create a similar project, using my own aesthetic and my own parameters.

My work process

The first step I took in developing this program was finding a library that could analyze sound. I found a library by Krister Olsson called Ess. This library “ allows sound sample data to be loaded or streamed (AIFF, WAVE, AU, MP3), generated in real-time (sine, square, triangle and sawtooth waves, white and pink noise), manipulated (raw or via built-in filters), saved (AIFF, WAVE), analyzed (FFT) or simply played back.” I used it to analyze the sound using Fast Fourier Transforms to isolate the volume components of each freuency.

After discovering this library, I found source code for two other projects that I used to help me program the project: Flocking by Daniel Shiffman and Input FFT from Olsson’s Ess library website.

After reading and understanding the code, I was able to use the basic ideas from these projects in my own work, merging, tweaking, and rewriting the code to fit my own vision.

My self-critique

Although I was happy with the results, there are a few things I would have done if I could work further.

First of all, my original intention was to have the boids flock with one another. However, I adjusted the boids’ velocities to match the frequencies volume in a way that made it difficult for me to figure out how to implement the flocking behavior.

A second change I would make would be to make the visuals appear more spatial. Although I am content with the current aesthetic, it is a bit flat looking.

Overall, I was extremely excited with this project and content with my results.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Gabi – here are comments from the class crit.

    You should port this to OpenFrameworks. You could easily add many, many boids with oF.

    This would be cool to do in 3D. I bet OpenGL would speed things up a lot too.

    SoundFlower is a tool that allows you to redirect sound from iTunes into the microphone. (

    Nifty! I can see this projected in a club, at least for the songs you’ve chosen. -SB

    It is essentially a music visualizer? yes…

    Pretty! I would like to see the feathers floating around in more of an organic way- they still look quite stiff

    I see good possibility and potential here. NIce work. It would be interesting to see it in a tangible way too.

    I love the cute movement of leaves.

    I would also think about how the visuals can change from scene to scene. How to show something different during the chorus, or when there is a guitar solo đŸ™‚

    (A) Congratulations — you learned a LOT!!
    (B) Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
    The mathematical function which relates the analysis signal to the control knob is where much of the art is, and needs further articulation.

    Comment by golan — 18 February 2010 @ 3:25 pm

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
(c) 2016 Special Topics in Interactive Art & Computational Design | powered by WordPress with Barecity