iX Symposium Montreal

May 21th starts the Symposium on Immersion & eXperience at the SAT, Montreal, focusing on fulldome and new media art. There will be talks, presentations and demos of cutting-edge technology by many well-known figures in that area.

As an invited speaker, i will talk about audio-visual fulldome and demonstrate the technology we are currently using to create 3D audio animations in-sync with fulldome animations. The SAT-Dome, or SAT[o]SPHERE, is well equipped with audio gear and a 150+ speakers which will be used to create virtual acoustics in the audio sessions, starting May 25th, 2:30pm.

UPDATE: I’ve been there in 2015, presenting the Matrix Optimizer software. That year was really amazing. I met a bunch of very nice and interesting people and almost all of my friends from previous years. If you ever come to Montreal, go visit the SAT. It is an outstanding place!

The search engine at sat, montreal

recently, musician and audio-visual artist DJ Food (Strictly Kev) screened his brand-new fulldome show “The Search Engine”, live at the “Satosphére” in Montreal, Canada. The Stratosphere is an amazing and probably unrivaled fulldome environment with a vast amount of projectors and speakers, capable of fully surrounding the audience with music, imagery and anything, the fulldome community can come up with today, at any quality, pre-produced or real-time, while visitors lie on the floor, normally 😉

we are grateful to have been able to collaborate with Kevin on his exciting 50+ minutes piece in the form of a few short scenes in the style of our Matrix Optimizer 1 & 2 shows. the next certain date his show will be screened is at the FULLDOME UK 2012, from 16th to 17th November at The National Space Centre in Leicester.

a review of the event can be found on Kevin’s website, also this nice cut-up from one of the organizers.

Modular Basics

The development of the Editor was greatly inspired by Native Instrument’s Reaktor, with which i had played around since 2000. A few decisions had been made regarding it’s design and workings. First of all, each parameter of each module should be visible as plain number and should be modulateable. To make the implementation easier and the whole concept more consistent it was also decided to calculate everything at the sample-rate. There is no distinction between events and audio-converters like mp3 to midi. For each audio-sample the whole patch is calculated. That means that each module introduces a one-sample delay. Five serial modules therefore need five sample-steps until the input is processed by the last module. While this made programming easy it later led to some brain-twisting in more advanced patches where sample-accurate processing was significant.

the below image shows the interface containing a very basic patch, namely drawing a circle.

you can see the canonical oscillator which is phase-synced by a start gate, a convenient module that issues a gate anytime the processing (or off-line rendering) starts. two 2d-oscillographs show the signals of the sine and cosine outputs of the oscillator. these outputs are also fed to the scope 3d, the main drawing-device in the Modular Editor. It has a lot of parameters, the most important being X, Y and Z. On every sample-step the scope 3d draws a pixel at the given location. One can ignore the Z input in which case it acts as a 2d-oscillograph. When using Z the 3d-position is projected onto the screen by standard perspective projection or optionally by fisheye-lens projection, which was used for the fulldome productions. There are lots of details and stuff about this module but i’ll keep it simple here. As said, each sample-step causes one drawn pixel. At a sample-rate of 44.1khz and a screen-rate of 30fps, that makes 1470 pixels per frame. The whole screen fades to black within an adjustable time so the screen shows the trail or history of everything that got drawn.

Through a small modification in the next patch the visual output gets much more interesting. a second oscillator is used to rotate the circle about it’s y-axis while it’s drawn. The result is a spiral on the surface of a sphere. Note that the saw-output (also called ramp) is used to control the rotation angle. the second oscillator runs at ten hertz so for every full xy-circle, 10 rotations about the y-axis are performed. The inputs of the rotation-module are called X, Y and rotate Z but any axis-aligned rotation can be performed by the right wiring, though it needs some thought-skills to correctly setup a stack of rotations.

Self-Organizing Map for Reaktor

This is a little program for creating Self-Organizing Maps that help to arrange sample-grain-positions topographically by characteristics of their respective frequency spectra.

an audio-sample is split into little pieces (grains) and a two-dimensional index-map is created where grains with similar frequency-characteristics are near to each other. the resulting map can be exported to the Reaktor table-format to drive a grain-sampler or something like that within NI’s Reaktor.

the program (win32), the open-source code (cross-platform c++) and full documentation along with a sample ensemble can be downloaded from the Reaktor User-Library

Portable Dandy

Rumor has it, that there once was this infamous composer named Dandy Desmond, who, together with contemporaries like Oskar Fischinger or John Cage, would lay the foundations of automated art and storytelling, long before even science fiction authors would imagine audio-video devices nicely fitting into your hand palm. Today, a “composition for 15 tape-decks” can be implemented in an embedded operating system, heavily multi-threaded, developed in multiple languages and scripts and consuming way less power than a pre 21th century light bulb.

In my position as the magic number eight supplier for the amazing portable dandy application, i’m proud to announce my involvement with these great guys: