Music is Math by Glenn Marshall

This eye-catching computer-generated animation by Glenn Marshall was created in the open-source programming language Processing. Marshall writes that after creating the application, “I just let the program run till the end of the music, I felt reluctant to interfere too much by trying to sculpt an ending, and just let the code run its own natural course.” Glenn offers more details about the process on his blog.

While the movement in the piece above was not created frame-by-frame, the results on the screen are controlled by the artist who designs the application and sets the variables that determine the look of the piece. In most digital animation (CG, Flash), allowing a computer to generate movement is a rote affair that comes in the form of tweening or other types of automation which are designed to make the movement easier to create, not more interesting to watch. Generative animation, however, allows the computer to be a creative partner alongside the artist with resulting movement that would be impossible for either an artist or computer to create by itself.

Readers, feel free to share other interesting examples of generative animation that you’ve run across recently.

(via Motion Design)

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  • Tom M

    This is very hypnotic. I can’t seem to tear myself away.

  • http://meridiandream.com/films/emerge/ jim m.

    I did a film called “emerge” which made the Channel Frederator podcast a big ago. The simulations were written in the MIT Media Lab’s StarLogo program. After defining some initial rules for the creatures, I sat back for a number of hours, watched them play and made characterizations of their behaviour.

    Hope you enjoy.

    http://meridiandream.com/films/emerge/

  • Alberto

    by the way the song used “Music is Math” is by Boards of Canada from their album “Geogaddi,” they’re just about the best band ever.

  • http://www.UltimateIronGiant.com Dave Zart

    WOW, really captivating…like some ethereal sperm-dance!!!

  • http://www.cannedgeek.com/ Kyle

    That’s really quite gorgeous.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    That’s one of the more visually exciting things posted on the BREW for a while. It’s great. I could watch that kind of stuff all day. No distracting characters or story. Good music, too.

    I have no math or programming skills, so I try to fake generated animation:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5SIWy0pwf0#
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44Yu1wmLuxQ
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CVkUAQEgr0

  • Alessandro

    “In most digital animation (CG, Flash), allowing a computer to generate movement is a rote affair that comes in the form of tweening or other types of automation which are designed to make the movement easier to create, not more interesting to watch.”

    While I understand the general point you’re making, and I’m not trying to undercut the awesomeness of Processing, there are actually many examples of generative animation in Flash that predate Processing. Jared Tarbell and Joshua Davis have both done extensive work in this area. You can see examples at http://www.levitated.net and http://www.joshuadavis.com.

  • http://motiondesign.wordpress.com mark webster

    There are indeed many examples of ‘generative animation’ that can be found, most of which however focus little on the actual process of animation and focus more on the graphical and compositional result – This is definitely the case for artists like Joshua Davis & Jared Tarbell. There are then a number of artists who are using this technique within an interactive piece – this is the case for people like Golan Levin or Marius Watz where the animation is controlled to a certain extent by an input factor : movement of the mouse, keyboard, voice or music.

    Some months back, I came across this particular talk by Torsten Rei of Natural Motion who describes an increasingly important use of ‘generative animation’ for future games and, as he says, for animated features. I believe this is an important watch for all your readers.
    >>>
    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/torsten_reil_studies_biology_to_make_animation.html

  • Dan

    Who needs drugs? All you need is big screen TV and surround sound. Pretty cool. Can these be purchased somewhere-legally?