Category Archives: Art

Max Hattler – Divisional Articulations: Wins Grand Prize Award at Supernova Festival

Max Hattler’s new film Divisional Articulations just won the Grand Prize Award at Supernova Festival and the Award for Best Experimental Film at ReAnima Festival Norway.

Supernova describes Divisional Articulations as:

An energetic, thoroughly captivating abstraction… an example of outstanding collaboration in new-media animation and art…

Divisional Articulations is a super trippy audiovisual collaboration between Max Hattler and composer Lux Prima. Repetitions and distortions of synths and bass, squares and circles create an electronic feedback loop that spawns endless arrays of divisional articulations in time and space.

The award-winning piece recently screened at Ars Electronica, and was shortlisted for the Lumen Prize Moving Image Award. It was created with a group of 16 students at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.

Director: Max Hattler
Music: Lux Prima
Animation: King Lam Chan, Po Yi Chan, Hinyi Cheuk, Ka Man Chow, Cheuk Hei Kai, Tsz Ching Kwan, Hau Ying Lui, Ka Man Luk, Ngai Wan Ma, Cheuk Lam Mui, Kam Ian Sio, Susan Sun, Qi Yu Teo, Ka Yiu Wong, Crystal Yip, Ka Man Yu, Max Hattler
Code: Sune Petersen

Artist Interview: Chris Speed Visuals

Chris Speed is an audio-visual artist from London who creates visual abstractions across moving images. His work is a cross-section of 3d, audio-visual design and synthesis – resulting in some pretty mind-bending art! Chris has worked on a variety of projects from music videos and promos to live projections for art and music events.

Recently I spoke with Chris about his project Error 404 and he was kind enough to share a bit about himself and also what went into the making of his Error 404 video project.

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Chris Speed I go by Chris Speed Visuals and I am audio-visual artist.

Why do you do what you do?
I got into video art through college and have always been a fan of abstract filmmaking. While at university I learnt more about the history of Vjing and visual music. Then I realized this is what I wanted to do, since many of my friends are DJ’s so adding a visual element to their performances seemed like a natural progression. However I have always kept an interest in making my own audio-visual art projects as my career has progressed.

What art do you most identify with?
When I first started I identified with artists such as Nam June Paik, Norman McLaren and Andy Warhol. But as time has passed I look to modern motion graphical artists such as Max Hattler and Jesse Kanda.

What are some things that you find inspiring?
I look to many different places for inspiration such as Brutalist architecture, light, colour, technology and nature itself.

Are there themes you pursue in your work?
Reflecting on my work it seems that certain themes emerge such as monochrome vs colour, nature vs technology and reality vs simulation possibly? I like to leave it open to interpretation as I think that is what makes art so powerful.

Chris shares some of the process behind creating Error 404 in greater detail:

My process for this project was based around a brief for an art exhibition in which glitch was the thematic structuring point.

So basically, after mentally storyboarding the project, I started by creating monochrome scenes, characters and animations within Cinema 4D then rendered them as PNG sequences with Alpha Channels. I then imported everything into After Effects then composited/rendered them as video files along with the opening scrolling code which I learnt how to do using a basic online tutorial.

Then I brought these mov files into VDMX where the real fun begins! Basically I set up a patch in VDMX with four layers, one for the characters, one for backgrounds, one for a syphon input and one as a main pass to control the video feedback. So with the pre-rendered videos set to their respective layers, I then created a custom patch in the video synthesis software Lumen and output it to VDMX and vice versa via the Syphon protocol.

I experimented with the blend modes for each layer till I got a colourful result I was happy with. Then with VDMX & Lumen already creating a feedback loop with each other; I wanted to add some more analogue texture and chaos to the distorted images.

I then sent the VDMX output to my Edirol V4 video mixer using the Intensity Shuttle capture card by Blackmagic Design. I also placed a BPMC Basic Cable within the signal chain for extra video processing. From here I spent hours using the effects on the mixer with the basic cable until I got a collection of results I was happy with. I edited together all the captured footage using Premiere Pro.

Finally, I wanted to make the experience audio-visual so I spent some time developing complementary sound for the project. For the majority of the opening segment I used a online Microsoft Sam speech emulator which I then warped and stretched with Ableton Live.

To match the analogue feedback of the images I wanted to do something similar with the audio so I used a contact microphone to pick up the electromagnetic waves from my speakers then fed that into a Korg Monotron Delay. I recorded the jam into Ableton and to conclude I synced the sound to the video back in Premiere Pro. The final result is Error 404!

For upcoming projects you can follow Chris on Vimeo, or check out his next project Pas De Trois below.

Artist Interview: Graphik H / H1987 (Hédi Benyounes)

Hédi Benyounes is a French illustrator and musician. He creates graphics under the name Graphik H. Drawing anything from cool celebrity portraits to surreal tattoo themed portraits. You can see other illustrations of his on Tumblr and Instagram.

Hédi Benyounes Illustrations

Hédi also creates music under the name H1987. You can download a free album on his Bandcamp and check out even more music on his Soundcloud. After watching his video for ALASKA we got to talking about the creative process behind his artwork.

Q. Skateboarding seems to be a theme in the ALASKA video, do you skateboard? What do you do for fun?

I love skateboarding. I did a few years when I was younger, but today I draw and create music.

Q. How do you describe your process when it comes to rotoscoping? Do you film? Do you have a favourite software? Where do you get your inspiration?

For the ALASKA video, I used images found on the internet and worked in photoshop drawing image by image.

On the other hand for my COLOR video, I used a process where I drew on sheets and scanned them.

Q. In your music your drums sound like a cool mix of synthetic and acoustic sounds but still played, do you play drums? The MPC? What’s your favourite way to make beats?

For my music, I do everything by computer. I do not play any instrument. I use sampling a lot. I mix the samples with my own compositions so that neither one nor the other is recognized.

Q. When I listen to your old beats and work my way up to H1987 – ALASKA, it seems like the progression is from direct beats to a more sparse and ambient style. What are your musical influences? What are you listening to now?

Indeed, I have been composing music since 2005 and there has been an evolution towards some more atmospheric things. I listen to more and more composers like Philip Glass who inspires me a lot. I listen to a lot of different things depending on my mood. I like to discover new music every day so I search in the old songs and the new ones. I do not really have a definitive playlist.

To find out more about what fuels Graphik H / H1987 – Hédi Benyounes creativity, I asked if he would share a few things he personally found inspiring.

For capturing the motion of skateboarding Hédi mentioned this Rodney Mullens video.

For drawing and animation style, Hédi suggests this Morgan Gruer – Reflections video, a short 2d animated film composed of approximately 1,100 individual drawings.

And for music have a listen to pianist and composer Philip Glass play his piece Mad Rush.

HX-01: An Animated Short Film

When I have some downtime I like to explore sites like Instagram and Tumblr because I come across a lot of art that is really inspiring. I also find out about new artists I may not have heard of before. Looking through the thumbnails on my Tumblr feed today I saw a slick colourful visual of bars spinning around a spiral and just had to click it. I was pleasantly surprised when I came to the page of Hexeosis, an art director/designer from Santa Monica California.

hxv_507_15_darkintro_2_0201

I looked at some of the other work by Hexeosis and got lost staring into the colourful infinite. When I catch myself staring like that it means I really like something. So I was pleased to see that Hexeosis actually has a kickstarter campaign running to make a full length, full colour, full HD sized animated short film.

hxv_856_02_cam-c_a0063

If you support the Hexeosis kickstarter campaign, you stand to get a lot of cool stuff. Varying on the amount you pledge of course, you are eligible to receive a wallpaper pack, digital HD download, regular or deluxe edition blue-ray disc, postcards, stickers, a signed copy, even producer or executive producer credits.

Hexeosis describes their short film as:

This full length video will be a journey in and out of forms and patterns, mandalas and psychedelic landscapes. Colorful calm moments, energetic dynamic sequences and thought-provoking, mind bending constructions woven together into an overall seamless rhythm and flow.

hx_5635hxv1_cam-a_a0000

If that sounds right up your alley and you enjoy the work of Hexeosis I encourage you to check out their personal site for more gifs, images and videos. As well as take a look at their kickstarter campaign.

Using CoGe VJ for Video Synthesis

I downloaded the trial of CoGe VJ a couple weeks ago and have been majorly impressed. It’s a smart software purchase when it comes to creating and manipulating visuals. The trial is really accessible, I believe the only limitation is saving your own presets, but you’re going to want to save your own presets once you start playing with the software.

The great thing about CoGe VJ is it’s only as much UI as you need when you need it, and you can create visuals from nothing through use of their different players and generators, which is what we’re going to do in this article so we can create our cool video synthesis example.

In CoGe VJ any UI that you are going to interact with is an interface that you will create from the interfaces menu. For the sake of this tutorial we’re going to need a clipsynth and an effectchain, so go ahead and create those from the interface menu.

Clip Synth

effectschain

At the top of your clipsynth there is a button that says “fxchain on”, click it to enable our fxchain on this clipsynth. Inside your clipsynth you will see a diagonally striped area that says “right-click on the striped area to add PLAYER”. Do that and add a checkerboard. Click the name of the checkerboard to turn it on and you should see something come up on your main and preview output.

Now in your effectchain you are going to see a similar striped area that says “right-click on the striped area to add FX”. Do that and add a sine warp tile from the tile effect menu. Click the name of the sine warp tile and you should see it take effect in your main and preview outputs.

optical_example

This is great and all but it’s not moving so to remedy this we’re going to right click on the rotation slider of the sine warp tile and from the LFO menu we’ll select sin32. Then do the same thing for the angle slider. After you’ve done that click the button to the right of each slider. You should now see movement in your main and preview output.

Here’s where you can start experimenting. The clipsynth has many different generators, star shine and sunbeams to name a couple, create some new generators inside your clipsynth like we did earlier, toggle your different generators on/off by clicking on their name. Look for something you like and play with the parameters to taste.

generators

Do the same with the effectchain, add in some new effects, toggle them on/off by clicking their names. Even control their order in the chain by clicking the left/right arrows to the left of their name. Once you’re happy with what you’ve created you’re ready to do something with your video.

What to do though? Well one thing we can do is record it with Syphon Recorder, which I detail how to do in an earlier tutorial, but another thing you can do if you are a Lumen user is have your CoGe VJ video act as an oscillator source.

With your CoGe VJ running in the background, open your Lumen software to a new patch. Go to the patch panel and under external connections select “CoGe – Master Mixer” from the dropdown menu next to “Aux in A”. Click and drag the “Aux in A” to the “Camera In” of oscillator A. Now go to the knobs panel and click the left most button under the frequency knob of oscillator A until it says Cam and there you go.

In future tutorials I plan on covering other interfaces available within CoGe VJ, but now you should be able to create your own video synthesis clips in CoGe VJ and integrate them into your Lumen projects.

Create a Video Synthesizer with Vizzie & Max MSP

Today we’re going to create a super cool pattern based video synthesizer, using one of Max MSP’s native toolsets called Vizzie. Vizzie makes video creation and manipulation really simple and I think you’ll see what I mean by the end of this tutorial.

So lets start by opening a new patcher file and looking at the left hand side of our screen. In the toolbar you’ll see a little V inside a circle. This is Vizzie, go ahead and click it and a menu will open.

vizzie_example_01

All the components available in the Vizzie package are listed in this menu. For our purposes what we need to do is make sure all is selected and anytime we want to create a new component we’re going to search for it by using the filter field. To get a visual up and running quickly, using the Vizzie filter, lets create:

  • 1 OSCIL8R
  • 1 PATTERNIZR
  • 1 VIEWR

Next to connect it all:

  • Connect the output of your OSCIL8R to the 7th and 8th inputs of your PATTERNIZR
  • Connect the output of your PATTERNIZR to the input of your VIEWR

You should see something like this:

vizzie_example_02

Your pattern should be oscillating and moving, pretty neat, but where’s the colour? Create a 2TONER and a KALEIDR and lets add it to our synth.

  • Connect the output of your PATTERNIZR to the input of your 2TONER
  • Pick two colours you like for your 2TONER
  • Connect the output of your 2TONER to the input of your KALEIDR
  • Connect the output of your KALEIDR to the input of your VIEWR
  • Lock your patcher, CMD+E, and set your KALEIDR mode to scale, then unlock

If nothing blew up you should have something similar to the image below.

vizzie_example_04

Now Vizzie is rather processor intensive on my machine so I won’t take this too much further, but just to push this puppy past 11 lets select everything accept our VIEWR, then copy and paste it.

  • Create a XFADR and connect the outputs of both KALEIDRs to the inputs of the XFADR
  • Create a BRCOSR and connect the output of the XFADR to the input of the BRCOSR
  • Connect the output of your BRCOSR to the input of your VIEWR
  • Lock your patch, CMD+E, and tweak the second set of modules to something you think is cool, unlock your patch

You should have something like this:

vizzie_example_09

The last thing you will likely want to do is record your video. To do that what we are going to do is:

  • Create a RECORDR
  • Connect the output of the XFADR to the input of the RECORDR
  • Lock your patch, CMD+E, set the RECORDR codec to h264
  • Click the Choose a directory button on the RECORDR and choose where to save your movie
  • Click record and tweak your patch, when you’re done, click record again to stop

vizzie_example_10

Once your done you’ll have your own video synth clip.

For more video synth tutorials check out Create a Video Synthesizer with VSynth & Max MSP.

Create a Video Synthesizer with VSynth & Max MSP

VSynth is described as a series of modules built around Gen that together make a modular video synthesizer. With a Beap/Vizzie feel, Vsynth introduces video synthesis and image processing with the efficiency of hardware-accelerated processes.

In order to get started using these exciting new features, we need to install the VSynth package from the package manager in Max MSP. You’ll also need the Syphon package from the package manager. The package manager can be found at File/Show Package Manager within Max MSP.

When you’re done with installing you’re ready to start exploring VSynth:

  • Create a new patcher file
  • Right-click and select Paste From/Vsynth/vsynth_menu.maxpat

This new menu will allow us to create the other modules needed. Anytime you need to create a new vsynth object you just go into locked mode, CMD+E, and select the new modules you need from the VS Modules drop downs.

vsynth_example_03

So in locked mode from the VS Modules create:

  • Global/render
  • Global/sync
  • Generators/wfg_shapes
  • Generators/radial_wfg
  • Processors/clrizer
  • I/O/output

Now unlock your patcher and position your modules so they aren’t stacked on top of each other, then wire them in the following order.

  • Output of your sync generator to the input of your radial_wfg
  • Output of your wfg_shapes to the 2nd input of your radial_wfg
  • Output of your radial_wfg to the input of your clrizer
  • Output of your clrizer to the input of your output

Now lock your patcher and click the X on render. Turn your horizontal master fader all the way up and you should see something like this.

vsynth_example_01

To make this more interesting what we can do is:

  • Lock your patch then create a Processor/mixer_feedback
  • Unlock your patch, select everything connected from the sync generator to the clrizer and duplicate it twice
  • Plug all three clrizer outputs into the inputs of the new mixer, and the output of the mixer into the output
  • Now lock your patch, adjust the mixer levels and feedback to your liking and play with the sync modes on the sync generators

You should get some pretty interesting results. Here’s what I came up with below.

vsynth_example_02

From here you can get even more experimental and add effects to your video synthesizer. For instance I added a couple of rota, a rgb offset and a frame delay to come up with this.

vsynth_example_04

You’ll likely want to create a video of what you have done so far. To do that:

  • Lock your patcher and create a I/O/syphon from the VS modules
  • Unlock and connect your video output to the syphon input, similar to how you have it hooked to the output

This next part requires a bit of extra software, if you’re on a mac it’s called syphon video recorder (I think windows uses spout). With syphon video recorder it is easy. Make sure you have your syphon set up in Max MSP like so with something playing.

vsynth_example_06

Then switch over to syphon and select your video source in the left most drop down. In our case it’s the Vsynth or Max.

vsynth_example_07

Then click record and go mess around with your video. Now you can capture your own super cool effects, have fun!

Ben Ridgeway’s – Stillpoint

Ben Ridgeway is an associate professor at Stanford University who creates digital art, animation and sculptures that explore turning the metaphysical side of reality into tangible forms. Ben describes his work as something that “often focuses on dreams, visions, hypnogogic imagery, the concept of infinity, and the ephemeral nature of existence”.

Recently I came across his Stillpoint video and have to say he executes quite well on these concepts. Upon visiting Ben’s vimeo page I was delighted to see he had other videos that are equally as impressive. Inner space artifacts really caught my attention, and it was great to see that he has a video up explaining some of the method behind his process.

You can see more work by Ben Ridgeway through visiting his website and his instagram, or follow him on twitter to keep up to date on his latest creations.