Audio Visual

Audio Visual Overview

What does sound look like? This brief project is an exploration of the visualisation of sound – using sound as data. Whichever sound is used as a basis, the key idea to consider is how sound is represented graphically, over time, and generate a considered creative response. Responses can range from static graphical output (screen or print) to realtime analysis, to linear animation.

A range of software and approaches may be utilised.


A final digitally-realised work in any form, and any supporting media.

Monday 28th October

Today is the launch of the project. We covered how to import sound and make the ‘loudness’ of the sound control a visual. We also explored FFT tactics in processing. We were also introduced to Expressions in After Effects.




When considering which sound I would like to explore in this project I instantly thought about classical music along the lines of Cannon in D by Pachelbel. I tried to incorparate this piece in some of my old code. Today I think I would like to consider Four Seasons by Vivaldi, this allows me to consider 4 different visuals that are somehow connected.

I found an old sketch where two ellipse moved on screen and left a trail behind with random numbers driving the diameter of the circles as they move across the scene. I realised I could change that value to be driven by the amplitude ‘loudness’ of the music.


These are some early results. I enjoy how the two circles seem to be interacting when they meet it reminded me of a dance.


I was also considering this old sketch. I used sin and cos to control an ellipse which created a very mesmerising effect as the outline folded in and out creating diamond shapes as shown below. The sketch also had randomised colour which meant the whole sketch was very chaotic and this would be a good start if I was to explore the ‘beat’ functions in processing and if I was intending to incorporate dance music. Unfortunately I really want to explore classical music in this project so this sketch wasn’t what I needed.



I still decided to import a music file and experiments with what kind of output I could create out of curiosity. I didn’t like how the sketch played in real time as it was very busy and chaotic but I exported some images (shown below) and I really enjoy them as small icons. I like how the colours blend into each other.


I then wanted to explore another sketch I created in first year where two lines are drawn vertically and horizontally and where they meet a small ellipse appears. The original sketch was driven by noise. I imported a sound file and made the sketch move along the y axis when the music got louder and quieter.


I then decided to go back to the first sketch and to finally import Vivaldi’s Spring audio file. The two circles are moving around the screen following sin and cos but the diameter of them is driven by the volume of the music. I didn’t redraw the background so that you could see the interesting trail the ellipses leave behind. At this stage I also started to play around with different colours.


I added two more circles. I enjoy how they seem to be dancing together when the music is playing.


I wanted to experiment more with colour. What is the colour of Spring? I finally decided to research some spring flowers like Crocus, Daffodil, Hyacinth, Primrose, Tulips, Camellia ect. and decided to use them as inspiration for my colour wheel.


I then made one of the circles much bigger than the others which created a nice effect as the outlines of the ellipse were on the screen and the other 3 circles seemed to be dancing along the screen.



I have decided to move away from the sketch I was previously working on to try and explore a couple of altered versions of the concept. I tried to make code incorporating PGraphics however I couldn’t quite make it behave as I wanted, I managed to change the visuals without much hassle but my idea involved incorporating the 4 seasons by Vivaldi being sectioned to a subsection of the code each one with their own graphics. For example the sound of ‘spring’ would be displayed along with the visuals when key ‘1’ is pressed. This turned out to be very difficult as the sound file would loop if it was put in the draw section of the code and if it was played at the top I obviously wouldn’t be able to  load 4 different files as they would play over each other. PGraphics is clearly very useful however I don’t think it was made for what I was trying to create with the sound or at least not something I could code in our extremely short time span for this project.

I then went back to basics and loaded the file into a sketch which produced a white line in the centre of the black background outlined in white, the line would move along the Y axis along with the amplitude of the sound. I really enjoyed the simplicity of this sketch especially since I added the ‘winter’ score (which is actually my favourite section from Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons) as it is a very emotive section and the minimalism suits the emotional piece. I would love to add another line at the bottom maybe representing the lower frequencies.

After this I wanted to incorporate .png images in my sketch to see if I could create something I enjoyed visually. I created a gradient inspired by spring flowers the first one being a Crocus, I then loaded this into the sketch and controlled it with amplitude. My concept behind this was nature and how Vivaldi’s spring made me think of blossoms and growth, this inspired me to look at flowers which grow seasonally in the spring. This concept ties back to nostalgia and family as I always associate flowers with my Grandma who lives back in Poland. She used to own a bit of land that she grew flowers in and my childhood was often spent in her gardens surrounded by them, picking my favourites to take home. The classical music I chose comes from how much I connected to Classical music when I was still in high school. Music used to be one of my subjects and I remember we spent a whole semester focusing on Classical music and I always had a strong emotional bond with it, rather than visualising the sounds I think I just enjoyed the impact and emotional connection I had with the music which is why this project is challenging me to shed a different light on how I visualise these amazing pieces of art.

I made the choice to explore my flower idea further. I found an article about spring flowers and created gradients using the eyedropper tool picking up colours from pictures of these flowers.

In the end I chose; Crocus, Daffodils, Primrose and Camellia as colour wheel inspirations.

I then tried to incorporate the .png abstract flowers in a few different sketches I have been exploring over the past couple of days and finally challenged myself to revisit the PGraphics code which allows for different sketches to be incorporated in one and switching between them only requires pressing keys on the keyboard. I spent quite a bit of time fixing and amending the code so that it would work for what I required and in the end I managed to make the buttons 1,2,3 and 4 show a corespondent ‘flower’ scaling to the amplitude of spring by Vivaldi. I also managed to create a grid when the number 5 button is pressed displaying the flowers dancing side by side.

I also had idea to incorporate images of real flowers so I found some copyright free images and made them into .png files that I then imported into my previous sketch. I really like this outcome as I would like to make a bigger grid with more flowers.

Screen Shot 2019-10-31 at 02.33.33Screen Shot 2019-10-31 at 02.33.43


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