Metamorphosis from Glenn Marshall on Vimeo.

Glenn Marshall is racking up fans on Vimeo with a new music video. He’s using Processing (site | CDM tag), but he’s built his own animation system and added lovely additive blending (that’s “nebulous” blending, as he puts it). Of course, this is what Processing excels at: you can assemble your own toolkit of creative tools, even without a lot of coding background. I bristle every time I hear people argue that tools like Adobe After Effects are “easy” while Processing is “hard”; easy might be a stretch for either one, but I think it can be a lot easier to build just what you need — and a massive, heavyweight motion graphics tool requires a lot of learning, too, in the reverse direction (top down instead of bottom up).

For his part, Glenn notes that:

  • it took about 4 hours to render at HD Ed.: Okay, damn — guess real-time is out of the question here, huh?
  • was made entirely using
  • i could have tweaked it manually to make it more intersting, but i like the fact it’s 100% generative
  • i can just about understand my own source code, let alone others, i’m still a noob programmer believe it or not.

So there you have it — this is the creation of a beginning programmer. And it looks absolutely gorgeous, I think probably because he focused on his artistic skills and design sense and wasn’t afraid to bring in some assets. He writes on his blog:

‘Butterfly’, my first film and the inspiration behind my whole direction as an artist (check out previous blog), is again the inspiration here. When making Butterfly I became obsessed with the wing patterns of the Monarch butterfly and how they looked like imaginary worlds within themselves, where butterflies lived and died according to a holistic, natural mechanism of nature.

These kind of ambitious concepts where difficult for me to implement back then within the practical limits of traditional 3d/2d software. So I wanted Metamorphosis be symbolic of my passing over into 100% programmed/generative computer art, where perhaps these kinds of ideas can reach more of their potential.

Metamorphosis []

Click through video to Vimeo for HD-quality playback. Music by Boards of Canada … yeah, my one gripe is, if you’re doing work this beautiful, go find a musician to collaborate with. I think you’ll get plenty of volunteers! And there’s even Creative Commons-licensed music to discover, as well. Entirely too much ripping off going on, and it doesn’t have to be that way. (Hey, I can’t run the site Create Digital Music and not say something!)

Previous work, same artist: Music is Math

  • "go find a musician to collaborate with" — I'd have to agree in this case, but not because of the visual content. I think the BoC track is great, but not really special. But sometimes there's a song you just have to do something with…

  • Oh yeah, absolutely — and I should qualify, I think it's better to go out there and do something than not! So if you've got a track that's inspiring visuals, that's fantastic. I do hope that people at least try to make the effort to look for Creative Commons material, because that supports that whole ecosystem and encourages more artists to put their stuff out there. But I totally understand having a track and wanting to work with it. I think the important thing is, once you've done that, to be brave enough to take the next step and work with another artists. Both parties benefit from that, and it's part of why we do multimedia art, in order to share that creative experience.

  • I'll add… we had talked long ago about helping some of this matchmaking happen via the CDMs (which conveniently include both music and motion audiences). I hope we'll think more about that soon… it's high on our priority list. Obviously, we're not the only forum out there, but so I can put my money where my mouth is.

  • mj

    yeah well as mentined above

    the sound is not in the same world as the image
    the image is great…

  • Hey, I think you should get a generative composer to collaborate with… I'll volunteer! 🙂

  • proem

    I will gladly volunteer. I've even Got a whole ambient Record Coming Soon that I'll turn over