VDMX Adds Wondrous Shader Features – And a Spec For Adding Them to Visual Tools

They’re a recent addition to popular OS X live visual app VDMX. But now is the perfect time to talk about the magic of shaders, generally. Standard “fragment shaders” are capable of performing feats of visual wonder as both generators and effects, using geometry and pixels. Written in GLSL, they are portable to any OpenGL-compliant graphics card, which now includes a range of modern hardware on both mobile and desktop devices. And since they run on the GPU, they do all of this magic on optimized hardware – without straining your CPU. Despite Apple’s reputation for being proprietary, they’ve been …

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A Tangled Sculpture of Lightbulbs, Stage to Elaborate Synchronized AV Performance

In a tree-like cluster of wooden branches, 60 electronically-fired lightbulbs glow in tightly-choreographed pulses along with music. The light sculpture becomes the setting for a kind of AV dance theater, forming an otherworldly environment for narrative movement. “A Man Named Zero” is the work of Nocte and a team in the UK of performers, pairing DJ with lightbulb accompaniment. Nocte realized the project in the creative coding tool Cinder (C++), which provides both the lightbulb control and slick-looking wireframe visual interface. Interestingly, the audio analysis isn’t just a straight FFT. Instead, using the open LibXtract library, the software “extracts” audio …

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From Song to 3D Model to Augmented App: Visualizing Oneohtrix Point Never

One reason to use code, and the constellation of open source creative coding libraries, is the ability to express ideas across media. HoloDecks is a beautiful experiment in doing just that. The work translates invisible sound to three-dimensional form, and combines visualization in the physical and virtual domains. HoloDecks goes through multiple phases of expression, built entirely in the multi-platform, free and open source OpenFrameworks. Analysis of the song. First, there is a spectral analysis of the selected tune – in this example, it’s “Zebra,” by Oneohtrix Point Never. Virtual three-dimensional visualization. Next, the spectral data is plotted in a …

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TightLight: Automatic 3D Mapping for Anything [TouchDesigner + Arduino]

TightLight: Automatic 3D Projection Mapping Method from Grady Sain on Vimeo. It seems like visual software is only just working out how to talk to an external display, how to recognize that it needs to be distinct from your computer display. And yet, we seem on the vanguard of a generation of tools able to seamlessly, automatically warp visuals to any set of surfaces. Instant projection mapping is nearly here, hopefully about to let you grumble to newcomer visualists about “you kids” and “how we did it in the old days.” (And when that happens, you better make sure you …

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touch.gl Makes Finger-Painting Glitch Art; at Paris' Pompidou [Android, Art]

Even Paris’ famed Centre Pompidou, it seems, has discovered apps. But you can bring some of that glitch art to your fingertips — for once, Android-only rather than exclusive to iOS. Hungarian-born, Berlin-based artist David Szauder (pixel noizz) has made a rather beautiful art app, extending glitch image modification to finger painting on the Android platform, via Processing for Android. It’s not the first app to reach into the world of glitch. But the deepest of these – the wonderful, pioneering Satromizer, by Ben Syverson with Chicago new media artist Jon Satrom – is so good at hacking into images, …

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touch.gl Makes Finger-Painting Glitch Art; at Paris’ Pompidou [Android, Art]

Even Paris’ famed Centre Pompidou, it seems, has discovered apps. But you can bring some of that glitch art to your fingertips — for once, Android-only rather than exclusive to iOS. Hungarian-born, Berlin-based artist David Szauder (pixel noizz) has made a rather beautiful art app, extending glitch image modification to finger painting on the Android platform, via Processing for Android. It’s not the first app to reach into the world of glitch. But the deepest of these – the wonderful, pioneering Satromizer, by Ben Syverson with Chicago new media artist Jon Satrom – is so good at hacking into images, …

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Gazing Back at You: Responsive Typography and Face Tracking [Source]

Camera input is at last going from waving your arms around in front of the screen to some genuinely compelling ideas. And the more designers use the camera in fluid ways, the more expressive video may be as a means of interaction. Croatian designer Marko Dugonjić demonstrates a proof-of-concept implementation of typography that responds to your position. Using facial tracking, the text scales based on the distance of your face to the screen. The transitions are a bit jarring now, but it’s enough to suggest how this might work. http://webdesign.maratz.com/lab/responsivetypography/ There’s source code available for the head tracking on which …

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Wacky, Wooden Shnth Makes Eerie Sounds, Colors Outside the Lines [Documentary]

Shnth is a digital synth in a wooden box with a surprisingly open-ended programming language. It’s like a lo-fi sonic computer, touched with your fingers via a handmade interface, and with sonic capabilities that can be re-programmed over USB. And there’s a coloring book to go with it, too, with pictures of Max Mathews and microsound for you to sketch in. The drawings there, like the sounds that come out of its outputs, full of rough, digital edges and unexpected swoops and swirls of timbre, seem to encourage coloring outside the lines. Peter Blasser of Baltimore is the synth’s creator …

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Tuning Ableton Live, Push: Undersea Colors for Push, Important Bugfixes for Live

If Push’s whites have been giving you the blues, everything’s better down where it’s wetter. And while some readers happily dove into the Live 9 waters right on release, recent bugfixes have made this software significantly more mature. (Uh, read: yeah, some stuff was rather broken for a bit there.) First off, just for fun, let’s talk about making your Push “seapunk” in coloring. RGB LEDs have gotten brighter, but color calibration remains an issue, and so many Push users have complained about inconsistent white coloring. Even if you haven’t had calibration issues, too, you might just want a change. …

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The Natural World, in Code: Dan Shiffman Talks Genetic Algorithms

Dan Shiffman @ Kickstarter HQ on Genetic Algorithms on April 2nd from Kickstarter on Vimeo. Creative code may, to most people, be as far from the natural world as possible. But in a purely aesthetic way, finding the connection between natural environment and code expression is the mission of Dan Shiffman’s recent tome. And in this talk, it’s the nature of the Nature of Code, as creative code guru Dan Shiffman goes into his approach. The setting is fitting: Dan is at the headquarters of Kickstarter, the platform that managed to fund his book. After mixed success with a conventional …

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