Guitar Genetics: Case Study

Guitar Genetics is the project I’ve been working on for the last six weeks or so combining an electric guitar and Processing. I feed an electric guitar though a headphone amplifier and into the line in on my laptop. (I also split it before the headphone amp to a read amp so as you play you can hear it). Using the Fast Fourier Transform from the Sonia class, I made a visualization that resembles DNA patterns. The color of each plot depends on which string on the guitar is plucked, and the vertical position is based on the fret. Since I am using pseudo-note detection, the program reads extra notes most of the time which produce more interesting visuals. To create a print, all the note information from a recording session is saved to a XML file, which is then run though my render engine I built, so I can produce high resolution prints. I have a more detailed case study below, or you can download it as a PDF.


There are more images on flickr.

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Genetic Panoramic Test

 After talking with colleagues, I’ve decided that I want a print to be the final result of my project involving using an electric guitar as an input device. I like the idea of something resembling sheet music, but also showing how the music is made up. So I looked at DNA pattern images, and based it off of that.

I just finished building a prototype, and the next step is hooking it up to the guitar part. Makes me kind of nervous, because I fear it might run too slow once integrated with the sonia library. This image is just based off of the mouse, but for the final one there will be six colors, one for each string, and the vertical placement will be determined by fret.


Guitar Art Progress

More work with an electric guitar and Processing. Gave a presentation today on what I was working on, and got some great feedback, especially from Nate Wolf who suggested something that would be accumulative, s no fading. I had the idea of it building before as it scrolled, but something about how Nate put it made it strike me to take a second whack at that idea. Later I was talking with Sarah Merchant, and we were talking about how it could be a big print and I thought it might be really neat to make some sort of genome looking thing, so after you play a song or whatever, you have a long scroll (like of sheet music) of ‘genetic code.’ I’m going to have to look into that. (If anyone is interested in financing and being a patron for a 100-foot or so print, let me know – I sure know that I can’t afford that right now.)

Motion Tracking Experiment #2

Another clip playing around with SynthEyes, Cinema 4D, and After Effects. I can’t seem to get the GI to stop flickering, even though I have it set to ‘camera animation.’ I might have to upload a saved solution file or something to netrender. Additionally, if you’re having a problems recently with After Effects not rendering out due to a permissions error, you need to update QuickTime to 7.4.1 or whatever the new one is. They also cut out a lot of codecs, but as long as H246 is there I’m good.

Experimenting with Compositing

For one of my classes I started to experiment with compositing 3D with video. One of my colleagues, Brian Cain, showed me this great software called SynthEyes. So I started just playing around with it and it’s simple and accurate. I brought a video file into SynthEyes and it tracked a bunch of points, and then with a little configuration, mapped out the camera movement in 3D space. The tracker points and camera can be exported to Cinema 4D, and then whatever I render out matches up more or less perfectly with the video. Here’s a test I just did this week, I’m going to be filming some better quality video later, and at some point I’ll upload a better quality movie file.

Guitar Update

Worked on getting different notes from the strings, and it’s far from perfect, but it will work later for some sort of generative art engine. The Processing file is up here, but Java needs you to allow it to use your microphone, and it doesn’t always work (sometimes the browser window will freeze). You probably won’t be able to see anything, unless you have an electric guitar and plug it into your mic.


Electric Guitar GenArt

Jason Arena has us at it again, making crazy stuff. This time around I am using Processing again (It’s just so much fun) and will be using an electric guitar as an input device. It is simple to set up and required me only to buy a 6′ male to male stereo 1/4″ jack wire and find a 9 volt battery to repair a headphone amplifier. The electric guitar outputs to the headphone amp, which then outputs to the mic input of my laptop. Then, using the Sonia library, I take that data and do whatever I want. As of now I am working on note detection, which cannot be done though pitch so I have to analyze the frequency spectrum. I’ll have a video up shortly demonstrating it.

VE Project 1 / ImageMapper Wrap Up

Today I ‘finished’ the ImageMapper project for my Virtual Entertainment class. I had settled on the joshua tree image from a large set of other images I liked. Everyone had their generative artwork printed out and we hung them up in one of the halls. All together, everyone did a great job, and the look great together. Here are some photos from today.

Graeme putting up images:

Old Man Arena:

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ImageMapper results

Project 1 is wrapping up for my Virtual Entertainment class. I’ve picked my favorites (it was hard) and have made an image that will be of print quality. Our class will be printing them out in 8, 5, and 3 inch squares and then displaying them. In order to make a 8″ x 8′ square, I needed a 2400 x 2400 px image. Here’s an example of the image scaled down and a section of it 100%.

joshuatree compare

Here are a handful of some images “I” have made with my ImageMapper program. I figured that I would show what the photo I used was to generate the image. Kind of takes all the magic away from it, seeing them side by side. Again, there are more on flickr.

joshuatree-out.jpg joshuatree-in.jpg
Joshua Tree National Park

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Image Mapper Demo

I’ve been playing around more with Processing, and I’ve settled on something I like for my project for Virtual Entertainment. I am going to be using my ‘Image Mapper’ program that I was working with that maps out all the same colors in an image. I can put any image I want into it, but right now it is set up for 900 x 900. I can let it render by itself, or I can control the sample point by using the mouse. I have it write out a PDF of it’s progress every few minutes, so it basically renders it out in steps. I can then bring it together in Illustrator (saving out the whole thing as one PDF makes the app crash).
The way I’ve been making images until now has been with a modified batch version, which I give it an array of image files and for how long I want it to draw each one, and it just saves out it’s progress as a png file. This lets me see how a handful of images will look by letting it run overnight or while I am away.

Here is a demo of how it works. You can click and drag to control the sample point, and the up and down arrows control the range of the random while you’re clicking and dragging. Below are some of my favorites that have come out:

914_2.jpg clouds_2.jpg fire_0.jpg savedimage-12142007_185757_6374344607360.jpg coins_6.jpg

There are more examples in my flickr gallery.