Archive for the ‘Programming’ Category

Using The Output of Minim in Processing

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

After following the quick start guide on the Minim website, I put together a little waveform generator that produces a waveform for the left and right channels based on the input of an audio file along with a frequency spectrum running over the top of it. The instructions are pretty easy to follow, and the additional functionality of Minim seems fairly simply to harness to do something useful with.

Minim Output 4I’ve since taken the code from that guide and combined it with a mandelbrot fractal from the Processing tutorials and references. At the moment, the mandelbrot doesn’t really do anything near like what I want it to do, but I am making some progress in figuring out what I can do with Minim and how I can use it for what I want to do.

Initially I took the frequency spectrum and used it to colour parts of the mandelbrot. To start with I only manipulated the red colouring of the fractal to see what would happen which gave me this (you may need to scroll to the right in some places sorry):

import ddf.minim.*;
import ddf.minim.analysis.*;

AudioPlayer song;
FFT fft;

float xmin = -2.5;
float ymin = -2;
float wh = 4;

void setup()
size(300, 300);

// always start Minim first!

// specify 512 for the length of the sample buffers
// the default buffer size is 1024
song = Minim.loadFile("song.mp3", 512);;

// an FFT needs to know how
// long the audio buffers it will be analyzing are
// and also needs to know
// the sample rate of the audio it is analyzing is
fft = new FFT(song.bufferSize(), song.sampleRate());

void draw()
// first perform a forward fft on one of song's buffers
// I'm using the mix buffer
//  but you can use any one you like


// Maximum number of iterations for each point on the complex plane
int maxiterations = 200;

// x goes from xmin to xmax
float xmax = xmin + wh;
// y goes from ymin to ymax
float ymax = ymin + wh;

// Calculate amount we increment x,y for each pixel
float dx = (xmax - xmin) / (width);
float dy = (ymax - ymin) / (height);

// Start y
float y = ymin;
for(int j = 0; j < height; j++) {
// Start x
float x = xmin;
for(int i = 0;  i < width; i++) {

// Now we test, as we iterate z = z^2 + cm does z tend towards infinity?
float a = x;
float b = y;
int n = 0;
while (n < maxiterations) {
float aa = a * a;
float bb = b * b;
float twoab = 2.0 * a * b;
a = aa - bb + x;
b = twoab + y;
// Infinty in our finite world is simple, let's just consider it 16
if(aa + bb > 16.0f) {
break;  // Bail

// We color each pixel based on how long it takes to get to infinity
// If we never got there, let's pick the color black
if (n == maxiterations) pixels[i+j*width] = 0;
else pixels[i+j*width] =
color(n*(song.right.get(i)*50) % 255, n*16 % 200, n*16 % 100);
x += dx;
y += dy;

void stop()

To make the above work, you’ll need to put an MP3 or Wav audio file in a “data” directory within the sketch folder for this sketch and change song.mp3 to the name of your audio file. You can see it in action here. The song used in this piece is “Freedom (Waking Mix)” by vo1k1 2008 – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0).

Minim Output 5aIt will run a series of lines of various lengths and thicknesses at varying speeds based on the input of the audio file.

Considering how cool this was looking, I decided to add the left audio channel for the green colouring to see what would happened, so I modified the colouring to the following:

if (n == maxiterations) pixels[i+j*width] = 0;
else pixels[i+j*width] = color(n*(song.right.get(i)*50) % 255, n*(song.left.get(i)*50) % 200, n*16 % 100);

Minim Output 5cThis is actually really cool, if you run an audio track through it that has a distinctively different left and right channel you get much more variation in the colouring and it appears to be synced more with the music.

If you try the above, you’ll get reds coming through for the right channel, greens coming through for the left and yellows where they overlap. Since you have two different sets of lines, you can see them change with each channel, rather than only with one channel, this is why it seems to be synced up better, and the colour changes help with this since the colours match the left and right mix. You can see it in action here. The song used in this piece is “Freedom (Waking Mix)” by vo1k1 2008 – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0).

Adding the second colouring control in also makes colour variations immediately around the main parts of the mandelbrot more prominent, and as they change it makes the fractal appear to be behaving like it is encircled with flames.

Minim Output 7aThis does make the background blue though rather than grey which I don’t like too much since the fractal doesn’t stand out as much with the blue background as it did grey.

I decided to change the colouring again slightly, this time using the audio mix to control the blue colouring. I used the right audio channel again, no particular reason really. So this is what my colouring looks like now:

if (n == maxiterations) pixels[i+j*width] = 0;
else pixels[i+j*width] = color(n*(song.right.get(i)*50) % 255, n*(song.left.get(i)*50) % 200, n*(song.right.get(i)*30));

Minim Output 7e
Minim Output 7c

You can see it in action here. The song used in this piece is “Freedom (Waking Mix)” by vo1k1 2008 – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0).

This has the same left and right channel variation and effects as the previous version, but it changes the colours slightly, the lines are now variations or predominately green and purple with a black background. This makes the mandelbrot stand out much more than before, but it also makes the appearance of flames around the fractal much more prominent as they are now blue closest to the fractal and shades of purple the further out you go. This looks really cool and makes the flames even more realistic (except for the colouring of course) and the flames now appear to reach out further making them stand and their variations stand out more.

Playing Audio in Processing

Friday, September 5th, 2008

I’ve been looking at how to import an audio source into Processing so that it can be used to manipulate a visual output. Using the Minim sound library I should be able to manipulate things based on either an audio file or an audio input through the line-in or mic-in.

I have been going through the Quick Start Guide which is very useful and having finished it, I have a Processing sketch that will playback a file and display the audio spectrum and waveforms which is pretty cool. I can see how I should be able to use the audio controls to manipulate an image, so I think I’m going to start having an experiment with applying the similar concepts to other images.

Walking Lines 3 – Processing

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Walking Lines 3, joining lines.I received some feedback on my earlier versions of the walking lines in the form of a trackback from Alex.

The feedback was part of a practice peer review, but he went into some detail on how i could fix up my current code so that the lines follow on from each other and how to reduce the load on the CPU per cycle with the same effect. The advice is greatly appreciated.

View the new version online here.

The changes and source code are after the jump.


Walking Lines 2

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Walking lines 2Continuing on from the original walking lines I did in Processing, I went on to develop this version of it. This is done effectively the same way as the original, but the code is cleaner and it provides for more variation. It also runs slower.

This version should allow further development to make the lines even more random by separating all the variables, where the original was more limited since the numbers were largely defined within the line parameters.

This version is also technically more stochastic then the first one as well as the lines are added to and built on using the += command to add the new line position to the previous line position. Unfortunately this still draws a new line every frame that is not necessarily joined to the line from the previous frame.


Walking Lines 1

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Semi-random lines sketchIn the week 2 tutorial for KKB211 – Computational Arts 2, we are looking at doing walking lines in our chosen development tool.

Walking lines are effectively randomly generated paths that the lines follow to create a random image.

I have been using Processing for this particular focus. Thus far I have random lines, however they don’t follow any particular path as of yet. This is effectively still walking lines as the position of the lines is added to and built on. Unfortunately this actually draws a new line every frame that is not necessarily joined to the line from the previous frame.

Have a look at it online here.

The code used to do this is extremely simple and just involves a few random variables based on the width and height of the canvas. I don’t believe this is entirely stochastic because the randoms are tightly controlled, but it is random within its boundaries (unless you want to get into the nitty gritty of it, which I don’t).

The source code is available after the jump.