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