Alright, next batch of generative sketches coming up. Grab them while they’re hot!
#043: Das Kollektiv
This is the first time one of my artworks is inspired by music! The song in question is Das Kollektiv by ASP. I’m taking a fairly literal interpretation of a swarm of little entities in between the walls, sucking out the essence of the “guests”. The images are pretty dark; you might need high contrast settings.
#044: Into Oblivion
This next one isn’t just inspired by music, but directly driven by it! There is already a post about it, so I’ll just post the visuals here.
When making Into Oblivion, I was a bit frustrated that it was rather hard to gain good information from the FFT analysis and that it was utterly impossible to find which instrument was playing. And then a friend told me about MOD music.
Unlike audio files like mp3, module files aren’t rendered down to just the audio information. Simplified, they have two elements: A collection of distinct audio samples and tracker information when to play which sample and how to modify its pitch, volume and other properties. So that means if your visualizer is a MOD player, you have all this juicy information available at your fingertips!
chiptune, phantasmagoria, rsectro and zapped_out by 4mat
Rivendell by radix
A MOD tracker to analyze the MOD files: OpenMPT filled that spot quite nicely and was easy to get into even for a total beginner like me.
A MOD processing library – of which I only found one! Luckily, PortaMod has (nearly) everything I needed, and the creator Brendan Ratliff was most helpful on Twitter.
Since this was my first foray into MOD music visualization and I wasn’t cooperating with a musician, I wanted to keep the visualizer as general as possible; any file that it could play should work. I also wanted to use as much information as possible. In the end, I chose a rotating circular representation divided into slices. Each slice is a MOD channel and each MOD sample was assigned a color. Pitch modifications made the radius go bigger, and everything is pulsating according to the output amplitude.
So far I’ve mostly used Processing and occasionally Unity3D for my generative sketches. While I’ve learnt quite a few techniques on how to make things look interesting, I’ve been struggling with making them look beautiful. Processing definitely has the capabilities for beautiful rendering, but so far it seems to be a bit beyond me. Secondly, most of my stuff is 2D and neither Processing nor Unity3D have strong tools for procedural mesh authoring. Time for a new contender: SideFX Houdini!
Houdini is a 3d modeling/animation program with a procedural twist: Every action is saved in a node network and the node/action parameters can be changed or randomized later. That allows for generative artworks among other things. You can also just build the node network directly which feels very much like visual programming.
So this batch contains the first things I’ve ever done with Houdini. Most are inspired by the fabulous Entagma tutorial series.
#050: Starry Polygon
The first one is based on the Entagma “Poly Rembrandt” tutorial series. The tutorial produces great results, but I was missing that randomization touch that leads to every image generated being different. Using colored noise textures as input instead of images worked quite well for that.
Next up is my first seamlessly looping video!
Sadly, I couldn’t find a looping video player. I guess the above GIF must suffice for that; but at least you can see a non-looping sequence in far better resolution here:
The tile position changes are animated to the beat of one of the percussion instruments, the jittering is in tune with the amplitude and the color of the light changes roughly according to the frequency of the tune. This is made possible by using a multi-track arrangement I took from http://www.cambridge-mt.com/ms-mtk.htm: Lacuna (Excerpt) by APZX.
It didn’t turned out as impactful as I would’ve hoped – but because of the half-transparent tiles it took a really, really excessive amount of time to render and I didn’t want to redo it.
#053: Melted Sphere
Next, I discovered my love for melted things with this Entagma tutorial. I also learnt that the recipe for an awesome looking image is 1.) place a light source in the middle of an object and 2.) activate subsurface scattering.
Here I tried to use volumes generated by noise to make a cave with stalagmites and stalactites. Instead, I got this. I think I’m pretty fine with that.
I also learnt how to use the compositing capabilities of Houdini to lighten up the resulting image right after rendering.
#055: Steel Wool
Steel Wool uses curl noise flow around a procedurally generated object. I wanted to use subsurface scattering again, but stumbled upon the metallic effect instead and quite liked it.
#056: Paper Leaves
This looks almost more 2D than most 2D stuff I’ve done so far. Mesh splinters, highly transparent and with lighting from behind.
When you google “unity utilities”, it seems like everyone and their dog has one of those. Well… now there’s one more of them! Open-sourced, well-commented, with descriptions, examples and class documentation. Get it while it’s hot:
It’s been over a year since I last posted a collection of small generative art sketches – but that’s not because I stopped making them, I just got a bit lazy with posting. There’s quite a lot queued up now! And without any further ado, here are candidates #29 to #35.
#029: Plasma Blob
This one isn’t terribly impressive, but it was made in a few minutes to demonstrate Processing to a colleague and is reasonably nice to look at.
The newest entry in a series of silly animal-themedgenerative art: An animal music visualizer. Well, it started out as a music visualizer, but I don’t think it would work with many tracks and it needs a lot of configuration. It makes for a fun video nonetheless. I proudly present: Canada’s Marvelous Singing & Dancing Animals!
With my newest generative artwork, I embark into the wonderful world of generative/reaction animations: It’s a music visualizer.
I’ve used spectrum analysis (powered by minim) and Processing to make a reactive artwork. It works especially for songs with breaks and theme changes where it becomes really apparent that the result is really dependent on the currently played music.
If you are Windows, you can download it here – edit the default.xml to use your own music, change the color scheme. Check out the readme for the controls!
The source code is, as always for my generative art in Processing, available at the GitHub repository and open source. You can open it with Processing 3 – just import Minim.
After missing last year’s NaNoGenMo (the generative cousin of the NaNoWriMo: the National Novel Generation Month), I thought I should finally take the plunge this year. Nevermind that I never made any generative text before.
The Greater Book of Transmutation is mainly based on a free association database that I found here. It’s about making things, using materials that are commonly associated with them – e.g., a cat might be made from “being feline”, “claws”, “meows” and “being graceful” and “tail”. Throw in a system of tools with actions that use/transform materials, a bit of word classification, a markov chain latin words generator, a lot of silliness and bit LaTeX, and you get:
Continuing the series of Critical Hit 2015 prototypes, here is the next one: CloudKeeper. Again, we had two weeks and a completely new team of four people to make another experimental game. Our discussions quickly arrived at magic as a theme and circular projections. Some members of my group had a circular projection on the floor last time, so to shake it up a bit, we wanted the projection to by on the ceiling. And thus, the idea of the magical sky creatures was born: Creatures that escaped into the heavens, and the player, a cloud keeper, has to bring them back.
I had a lot of fun with electronics in my last project, so I wanted to do more of that. And I still had a Touch Board that I never had time to use so far – an Arduino with capacitive sensing, which, among other things, can do this:
It worked quite well for very low ranges (<4cm), which was suitable for our purposes. At first we tried to make one crystal which players can touch from multiple directions, but players used to swirl their hands around it like it was a crystal ball and that didn’t make for very predictable controls. In the end, we settled for 5 cardboard crystals, each with only one function and aluminium foil inside. The capacitive sensing actually worked really well through the cardboard! Some crystals controlled movement, and the closer you got to them, the faster the movement got. (And not being able to see why cardboard can sense how close you get to it added a fun technological-magical aspect to the whole thing.)
Apart from that, we also wanted to have generative creatures – kind of like my Chimera Maker, but this time I also got to procedurally animate the creatures! Kailin Zhu drew them and created the crystals you see in the video and pictures below, Titouan Millet made beautiful generative cloud shaders and Peter van Haaften generative music and sounds.
Oh, and I also made the creature nest, a separate executable which showed the creatures flying away from and returning to earth, seen in the video on the monitor. It communicates with the main game via a server using the Yahoo Games Network (formerly PlayerIO). I tried to make it work with standard Unity peer-to-peer networking, but the University network didn’t like direct connections at all.
Finally, all this generativeness combined resulted in:
Magical creatures have escaped into the heavens,
and the player must sift through layers of clouds
to bring them back to the earth.
Using a set of five crystal touch/distance-sensing controllers,
the player wanders through a generative audio/visual cloud world
to catch these lost mythical beings and return them to their home.
This project was made possible through the Technoculture, Art and Games Research Center’s Critical Hit: Games Collaboratory and the support of Concordia University and Dawson College and financial contribution of the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie.
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